Lydiate – Haigh Crescent post & shrubs cause controversy

I posted a few days ago about work commencing in Haigh Crescent to stop vehicles gaining access to the central green via Sefton Council installing posts and shrubs. My previous post (no pun intended) is accessible via this link:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/02/05/lydiate-haigh-crescent-posts-go-up-to-try-to-make-green-safer/

Well it seems that the project to try to protect the green is not one that commands widespread support at least that’s the view I am picking up. Here’s what I know about the issue.

Last June Independent Borough Councillor Pat O’Hanlon brought up concerns about vehicles accessing the green at a Lydiate Parish Council meeting – my recollection is that the worry was vehicles on the green when children were playing on it. The matter was subsequently raised at the July meeting when, if my understanding is correct, the Borough Councillors for Park Ward were looking to try to find a source of funding to enable them to address the problem. The next thing I knew I was cycling down Haigh Crescent and the work to install posts and shrubs had commenced a few days ago and I blogged about that work taking place.

Yesterday I had a conversation with a former Borough Councillor for Park Ward Robbie Fenton who has lived on Haigh Crescent for many years. She was clearly surprised by the works and was asking me what I knew of the project. Interestingly, she said that as far as she was aware there’d not been any consultation with the residents, at least not with the ones she’d spoken to since the works started. I can’t help but think that consultation should have taken place and wonder why it didn’t?

As Robbie said to me, in trying to solve one problem another has been created. With the carriageway being so narrow it’s often the case that passing vehicles have to mount the curb of the green to pass each other, but the posts and shrubs have narrowed that passing ability.

So there you have it and it will be interesting to see if things settle down/work out or whether there will have to be a rethink by Sefton Council.

Lydiate – Haigh Crescent – Posts go up to try to make green safer

A while back we had a discussion at a Lydiate Parish Council meeting about the dangers of vehicles on the green in the middle of Haigh Crescent when children are playing there.

We discussed, together with the Park Ward Sefton Councillors, what could be done to make the green safer and putting in posts to restrict vehicle access was seen to be the best way forward if the money could be found to get the work done. Well the money has been found as the works are ongoing today:-

Civil Parish boundaries and what they mean

The other day I received a letter raising an issue that unless you have been close to how parish councils are allowed (by statute) to operate you may well not be aware of.

It concerned Maghull Town Council’s distribution of Christmas hampers but it could have been about other expenditure of that or indeed any other parish council. You see parish councils are limited in the main from expending money other than for the benefit of the civil parish residents of their own parish. So for example Melling Parish Council could not expend money in say Aintree Village Civil Parish unless doing so would create a benefit for Melling residents.

A pictorial representation of the ‘M’ Maghull logo by Keith Page of Lydiate.

In the case of the issue raised with me it was someone wishing to nominate a Lydiate Civil Parish beneficiary for a Maghull Christmas hamper. The answer from Maghull Council was no and the reason for the no was the legislation that made the rule that I mentioned above. To be fair I think a newspaper article had inadvertently contributed to the uncertainty as it had, I’m told (I didn’t actually see the article), not made it clear that nominations were limited to Maghull residents.

Of course there’s a wider issue here as to whether individual parish councils should or indeed should not do certain things. In the case of Christmas hampers for the elderly/needy some parish councils will distribute them and others will choose to spend the council tax they collect in different ways. I’m not taking sides here just trying to say that each individual parish council will spend its money in differing ways, sometimes very different ways but so long as the expenditure is within the law then that’s fine – it’s a policy decision.

Those who know me well will realise that I’m a big fan of parish councils as they are the closet form of democracy we have to the people. I love the quirkiness of parish councils and the fact that they each can move in very different ways to address the perceived needs of their own community. This is so different from District, Borough and County councils which can be so similar in what they do or don’t do, no matter which political party is running them.

I’ll of course bring the letter I received to the attention of Lydiate Parish Council.

Lydiate (and Maghull) – Primary NHS services – This one keeps doing the rounds with sadly little if any progress

The last Lydiate Parish Council meeting was attended by the Director of Place – North Southport & Formby Clinical Commissioning Group South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group and if that title has not made you turn away from this posting already (have you ever seen a job title so long?) then please read on.

As a bit of context the Director told us there were 30 GP practices in South Sefton and she was keen to promote the new 7-Day Access Service. I’ve provided a link to that service below:-

mysefton.co.uk/2018/10/04/people-in-sefton-now-have-access-to-primary-care-services-7-days-a-week/

This service may be an important break-through as the reason we Lydiate Parish Councillors had asked to see a representative of the local NHS was due to us being aware of the difficulty many locals have booking GP appointments. Have a read of the link above as it may well be of assistance.

We made various points to the Director such as:-

* There are no GP facilities in Lydiate at all – everyone has to travel to a GP practice in Maghull.
* The NHS Drop-In facility at Litherland Town Hall is inaccessible to Lydiate folk who do not have access to a car.
* There are some local concerns about the long waiting times for blood tests at Maghull Health Center.
* The need for Maghull Health Center to be enlarged/rebuilt to offer a greater range of NHS services.

Our points were noted and there was a promise to raise them within the appropriate NHS circles and to be honest I found the Director both approachable and interested in our concerns. We will see what flows from us raising them.

But of course I had to raise with the Director that many of the concerns we were flagging up now have years of history attached to them and after the meeting I went back to look at my previous postings about NHS facilities (or the lack of them) locally.

Going back to the days of the former South Sefton Primary Care Trust (abolished some years ago in another of the NHS reorganisations so loved by politicians in Westminster) there has been a consistent message that the East Parishes part of Sefton Borough is not well served in terms of access to primary NHS facilities. And two local projects illustrate how hopes have been raised only to be dashed due to NHS pull-outs. Firstly, there’s Meadows Leisure Center, which was originally planned to have NHS facilities within it. Indeed, the idea was to be able to have GP’s working in the building who could refer patients directly to facilities within the same building where exercise was the prescription. The innovative plan fell when the NHS pulled out and the space it was to occupy was then taken up by Maghull Library moving into it. Then there was Lydiate Village Centre where the plan was to have some NHS facilities delivered from it but, yes you’ve guessed the NHS pulled out so the new community building went ahead without them.

Both the projects above were being planned and indeed built some 10 or more years ago and still there’s been no progress and it’s nearly 2020! But if ever there was a project involving the NHS which failed to deliver it was and presently still is the lack of movement to rebuild Maghull Health Center.

I recall like it was only yesterday (it was also about 10 years ago) when I was a Sefton Borough Councillor and had been chasing the the Primary Care Trust for longer than I wish to recall to get the Health Center rebuilt and for it to have an NHS Walk-In facility too. And then one day I got a message from a senior Sefton Council officer who had been helping me lead the campaign and I was told that the NHS had allocated the money and we had a green light. Well, jubilation initially (I saw plans to remodel the site), but as soon as I made this information public the NHS ran for hills, denied everything and blamed me for raising expectations! Never have I felt so let down and some 10 years on we still have not moved an inch. Call me an old cynic but you’ll understand if I have a hugely sceptical eye for NHS facility planners who have to date let Maghull and Lydiate down badly.

However, I remain optimistic despite the bruising I’ve had from the NHS locally because we all know that Maghull Health Centre is beyond capacity, that it fails to deliver all that we and indeed the NHS desires and only a new building can hope to rectify this situation. And did I detect a note of optimism from the Director of Place on this front? I hope I did……

Fracking – Lydiate Parish Council backs Moss Alliance with hard cash

I’ve mentioned this many times on this blog site because of the threat of fracking locally via a well site that is proposed for Altcar Moss between Lydiate and Formby in West Lancashire.

Without wishing to rehearse all the issues again I think the letter below from The Moss Alliance to Lydiate Parish Council sums up the current situation very well:-

Lydiate Parish Council,
Lydiate Village Centre,
Lambshear Lane,
Lydiate,
L31 2LA

5th November 2019

Dear Councillors,

AURORA’S PLANNING APPLICATION – FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Further to our presentation on 5th September and our request for financial support we would like to thank the Parish Council sincerely for its agreement to grant £500 to The Moss Alliance to assist in funding the appointment of expert planning consultants to object to Aurora’s planning application to frack at Altcar Moss.

Notwithstanding the “moratorium” announced on 2nd November 2019 our planning consultants are in the process of preparing an objection report for submission to Lancashire County Council. We have spoken to the Team Leader and case handler at Lancashire County Council Development Management and Aurora appear to have several options whilst the “moratorium” is in place which our consultants are also analysing with a Barrister:

* Withdraw the application (unlikely);
* Leave it in and let it be refused in the light of the moratorium and deficiencies in their EIA (then appeal);
* Write fracking out of the application and drill the wells to “obtain more data”.

We have no idea how long the “moratorium” will last and therefore we will be submitting our consultants’ objection report to Lancashire County Council when finalised.

For the Council’s information, Lancashire County Council has already (on 25th October, see attached) written to Aurora’s agents in detail expressing the deficiencies in their EIA etc. However, we cannot be complacent, and must be aware that the effect of the “moratorium” is still very unclear and therefore we intend to carry on “business as usual” in our opposition.

Once again, thank you for your extremely valuable support. The Moss Alliance bank account details are: TMA Fund Account – Sort Code 01-06-45 Account No.: 45755825

Yours faithfully,

On behalf of: The Moss Alliance