Ray Hughes moves out of Lydiate

Many Lydiate folk will know Ray from his many years as a Sefton Borough councillor for Park ward in the 1980’s and 1990’s and also from his time on Lydiate Parish Council.

I thought it apt to mark Ray and indeed his lovely wife Hazel (also a former Lydiate Parish Councillor) leaving Lydiate to live in West Lancashire.

I was talking the other day to my old chum Andrew Blackburn who also knew Ray well from his councillor days and he reminded me of the ‘Ray Hughes Point’. What he meant was that Ray was always finding things to point at for photos of casework items he was working on. They could be pot-holes, broken street signs and just about anything else a local councillor could be asked to help sort out. I recall that Ray would often get ribbed for his pointing in photos.

Seriously though Ray was a good local councillor who seemed to know a huge number of people. His phone would ring day in day out because he was such a well known local councillor. A true Pavement Politics councillor if I ever saw one…

Well all the best Ray and indeed Hazel, you certainly did your bit for the community in Lydiate and Maghull.

Lydiate – More on that strange public footpath issue at Sandy Lane Park

Footpath sign at Sandy Ln – There’s a similar one off Moss Ln

I’ve blogged a couple of times recently about Lydiate Footpath No.14 which links Sandy Lane to Moss Lane.

To recap, its become an issue following Lydiate Parish Council creating a fenced dog-run area a few weeks back which means that footpath users effectively have to walk through the dog-run.

Dog run area seen looking towards Sandy Ln. The public right of way is somewhere to the left where the corner fence post is

Attempts to define exactly where the public footpath is have come to nought (so far) as it’s not detailed on the deeds for Sandy Lane Park. This could mean that the path is actually on the neighbouring framer’s field and this angle is now being checked out by Sefton Council’s Footpath’s Officer who regulates public rights of way in the Borough.

Another strand to this odd story is that if the definitive route has not been recorded on any land deeds (which logically it should have been) then the back-stop is using a piece of law which allows Sefton Council to define the right of way route based on what has been used by the public for a 20 year period. It won’t take long for those familiar with the footpath to realise that the edge of Sandy Lane Park is what has been used as the footpath for many, many years. Certainly I’ve lived in Maghull & Lydiate since 1968 and I’ve never known the route of the path to be anywhere else. Here’s a link to the appropriate law provided via the Ramblers Association:-

www.ramblers.org.uk/advice/improve-the-path-network/how-to-claim-an-unrecorded-right-of-way.aspx

A few years back, when I was a Borough Councillor for Aintree Village, I helped with a campaign to gain a public right of way from Aintree Lane (at the side of Melling Road) through to the Leeds Liverpool Canal towpath using this 20 year rule as the basis for the claim. That battle was won and I use that path regularly to gain access to the canal towpath when I’m cycling locally. Here’s a photo which includes a part of that path:-

The new public right of way is the path which turns off the towpath to the right in this photo

More news as things develop…….

The last photo is amongst my Flickr photos at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

2019 Parish Council elections in Sefton Borough – Some interesting situations

I’m a bit of a parish council nut as I’ve been a parish councillor since 1985 and always seek out quirky things on the notice boards of parish councils when I travel around England.

This year was the year in which all parish councils were potentially up for re-election. Unlike most district and Borough councils (who tend to elected in thirds) parish councils are elected once every 4 years when the whole of the council is potentially at the mercy of the electorate. Some parish councils however never really have elections as only enough or too few nominations are forthcoming and candidates are elected unopposed.

There are 10 parish councils within Sefton Borough – they are:-

Little Altcar PC – had an election
Formby PC – had an election
Ince Blundell PC – no election
Thornton PC – no election
Hightown PC – no election
Sefton PC – had an election in one of its 2 wards
Melling PC – had an election
Lydiate PC – had an election in all 3 wards
Maghull TC* – had an election but only in one of its 4 wards
Aintree Village PC – no election

* There is no real difference between a Parish or Town Council other than a Town Council can elect a Mayor instead of a Chairperson

Here are a few highlights from the elections which took place on 2nd May at the same time as the Sefton Borough elections

Little Altcar Parish Council (7 seats) – Formby Residents Action Group 6, Green Party 1

Formby Parish Council (15 seats across 2 wards) – Formby Residents Action Group 11, Conservatives 3, Labour 1

Ince Blundell Parish Council (5 seats) – Only 3 nominations for the 5 seats on this council – Independents 2, Formby Residents Action Group 1 (all elected unopposed), vacancies 2.

Thornton Parish Council (7 seats) – Only 2 nominations for the 7 seats on this council – Conservative 1, Green 1 (both elected unopposed), vacancies 5 * – potentially the additional 5 seat can be filled by the 2 unopposed/elected councillors co-opting up to another 5 councillors? Could be time to consult the Bible of Parish Council administration by Charles Arnold-Baker.

Hightown Parish Council (7 seats) – Only 5 nominations for the 7 seats on this council – Independents 5 (all elected unopposed) Vacancies 2.

Sefton Parish Council (7 seats across 2 wards) – Independents 6, Green Party 1

Melling Parish Council (11 seats) – Melling Resident 8, Labour 1, Independent 1, Asst Leader Cub Scouts 1 – Labour put up 12 candidates for the 11 seats but only got one elected. However, a Labour Borough Councillor for Molyneux ward (which includes Melling Parish) stood as a Melling Resident and came top of the poll.

Lydiate Parish Council (9 seats in 3 wards) – Labour 7, Lib Dem 2

Maghull Town Council (16 seats in 4 wards) – Labour 12, Conservative 2, Independent 1, Vacancy 1 – Labour effectively lost 4 seats having previously held all 16 on this council. It seems that a candidate elected under the Labour banner subsequently declared as an Independent after the elections. It also looks like a Labour member of this council sits on Melling Parish Council as well but as a Melling Resident not as a Labour councillor.

Aintree Village Parish Council – (12 seats across 2 wards) – Independent 8, Green 2, Labour 2 (all elected unopposed)

My thanks to Andrew Blackburn who helped me trawl through information on Sefton Council’s and other websites to pull together this information. I hope the information is correct but if you see an error please flag it up so that I can correct it.

Oh and one final note – Vacancies on Parish/Town Council can be filled by an election being held, however, if no candidates come forward to stand in an election then the council has the power to co-opt people to fill the vacancies.

Lydiate Footpath No.14 and a dog run may be a conflict of uses

On the map of Lydiate’s public rights of way/footpaths (above) No. 14 is towards the bottom right. It effectively follows the boundary of Sandy Lane Playing Field from Sandy Lane to Moss Lane.

When the Parish Council agreed to set aside a part of Sandy Lane Park for a dog run the wedge shaped corner of it was agreed as the site. Subsequently, the appropriate fencing was erected recently. But it was only when using the path the other day that I realised that the route of the public right of way seemed to be through the dog run area. See photos below:-

Footpath sign at Sandy Ln – There’s a similar one off Moss Ln

Dog run area seen looking towards Sandy Ln. The public right of way is to the left where the corner fence post is

Looking down the line of the public right of way from Sandy Ln.

My concern is that footpath users may have to walk through the dog run area as the boundary of its fence is right up against the field boundary which is overgrown. Clearly some people would not want to walk through an area where dogs are running free.

I’ve asked Sefton Council’s Footpaths Officer and the Clerk of Lydiate Parish Council to have a look at this issue with a view to resolving it for both dog walkers and those who walk the local footpath network. I’ll blog about it again when things are clearer.

Click on the map and photos to enlarge them

What to make of the local election results & a big thank you from Cllr. Edie Pope and myself

Firstly, it was great to see Southport Lib Dems regain a strong footing in their Town, winning 4 of the 7 seats up for election this year. Well done to all involved.

And a big swing from Labour to Lib Dem in Crosby’s Victoria ward for Hannah Gee as well. The way that determined young lady is going she’s going to win that ward back from the Red Tories soon.

Nationally it was a very good night for the Lib Dems and a bad one for the two main Brexit Parties (The Red Tories and the Blue Tories). As I make this posting the running totals of gains and losses of council seats in England was stood at:-

Lib Dem + 597
Labour – 101
Tories – 1136
Greens + 165
UKIP – 109

Brexit Parties Losses (Con, Lab, UKIP) so far – 1346
Remain Parties Gains (Lib Dem & Green) so far -762

With these local elections being fought to the loud background noise of Brexit it was always going to be a test of whether the electorate would continue to back Brexit or would signal a move away from it by backing Remain parties such as the Lib Dem’s and Greens. Yes I know local elections are supposed to be about very local issues but many electors these days use them to give their verdict on national political matters.

Labour were in a dilemma because they could not announce they had done a Brexit deal with the Tories before local elections as they would have been hammered, but let’s face it none of us will be surprised if the Red Tories back the Blue Tories in a job loss, NHS funding cut deal as the Labour leadership has wanted for a long time now.

Oh and just a footnote – I held my seat on Lydiate Parish Council – 34 years and counting as a Parish, Town and/or Borough Councillor in Sefton Borough’s East Parishes. It’s been a blast and the electorate keeps backing this old radical Liberal leftie for some odd reason. My Lib Dem colleague Cllr. Edie Pope also retained her seat on Lydiate Parish Council so congratulations to her too.

Lydiate and its Great War 1914 – 1918 – A lovely remembrance booklet

I think I mentioned a while back that Lydiate Parish Council had put some money towards this booklet which was produced to look at the impact of WW1 on the farming village of Lydiate, and how children today are remembering the young men from their community who gave their lives.

Local author and historian Pam Russell was the guiding light together with Kath Coyle – WW1 Lydiate project coordinator.

24 young Lydiate men died while serving in WW1

24 young men from Lydiate (or with strong links to it) died while serving in WW1 and the booklet celebrates the life of each one with individual write-ups. I was interested to have confirmed something which another well known local historian (Bruce Hubbard) had told me some time ago i.e. that one of Lydiate’s fallen is not on either war memorial in the community – Herbert Finch who was killed on 19th October 1917. It seems he lived near the Lydiate/Maghull boundary so may have unfortunately been overlooked by both villages. He is however commemorated at Tyne Cot memorial in Belgium. Wouldn’t it be fitting for his name to added now to either the memorial at Our Lady’s Catholic Church or the one at St. Thomas’ CofE Church?

There’s also a brief history of Lydiate through the ages and of Lydiate life in 1914 within the booklet.

As well as the booklet there’s a website about the project at ww1lydiate.org.uk which you can access via this link:-

madcos.org.uk/project/ww1-lydiate/

I think many primary school children from Lydiate’s 3 schools may have a copy of the booklet and you just might be lucky in tracking a copy down if you call in at Lydiate Village Center on Lambshear Lane.

A great tribute to the fallen, congratulations to all involved.