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……

Lydiate Primary School closed amidst safety concerns

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/safety-concerns-shuts-merseyside-school-17319927

Lydiate Parish Council was briefed on the problems facing the School at it’s meeting last night by School Governors.

We were shown photos of problematic parts of the 1953 constructed building and pieces of concrete which came off it during a very recent investigation into its condition.

The Parish Council is supportive of the decision of the Governors to close the school building pending a more detailed inspection of it as clearly the safety of the children, teachers and anyone using the building has to be the major priority.

We were also told at the PC meeting that accommodation has now been found within Maghull High School for the 300 children currently attending Lydiate Primary.

The next few weeks will clearly be important in establishing the extent of the safety issues affecting the school building, so at present it hard to say how long it will be out of use.

Lydiate Parish Council’s ability to help the school address its building issues is quite limited but I’m sure we will try to help lobby the powers that be to take action when asked to do so. We have offered the meeting room in the Village Centre for the school’s use should that be of help to them.

Lydiate – If I’d Looked up I might well have noticed! – Coppull Rd – Southport Rd path

There’s a street lamp in that tree somewhere

No sooner had I posted about the street lamp in the Lambshear Lane – Nornmington Close footpath being covered by the tree canopy than a resident contacted me to say the same is true of the 2 lamps on the Southport Road – Coppull Road footpath.

How I’d not noticed this myself I don’t know as I use the footpath and litter pick it. It seems I’ve simply not looked up and of course have not used it in the hours of darkness.

I’ve asked Borough Cllr. Pat O’Hanlon to take this up as with the other path.

Lydiate – Taking the dark path

Keith Page of Nursery Road mentioned to me that the footpath through to Normington Close from Lambshear Lane is not easily negotiated at night due to the street lamp in it being up within the canopy of trees.

In turn I raised the matter at a recent Lydiate Parish Council meeting where Borough Councillor Pat O’Hanlon was present. Pat took the matter up and I understand the tree which blocks the light will be attended to by the land owner. Interestingly, it also turns out the the street light is not switching off in daylight hours so that needs to addressed too by Sefton Council.

Note:- The street lamp is near where the path takes a sharp left turn into Normington Close

Lydiate – Trying to move the changing rooms into a new era

I’ve blogged before about the plans by Lydiate Parish Council to upgrade the changing rooms at Sandy Lane Playing Field. The project took another step in the right direction yesterday when we met representatives from the Football association on site to talk about how they can assist us financially via a grant.

Here’s a couple of photos from the meet up:-

What kicked this all off (forgive the pun) is the wish of Lydiate Parish Council to accommodate women’s football.

We also want to secure a financial package to turn the present down at heel tennis courts into a MUGA (Multi Use Games Area) and to bring the two football pitches up to higher FA standards. So there’s still much to do and it will take a while for the whole package of improvements to come to fruition I guess.

And whilst on the subject of football I could not resist taking this shot of Lydiate’s own ‘Boot Room’ the title of which is clearly related to Anfield’s significantly more famous Boot Room:-