Maghull – The Dell in Liverpool Road North

NHS, Maghull in Bloom and project partners meet at The Dell – 31st Jan 2014

I’ve blogged about this prominent piece of land at the heart of Maghull a couple of times before in 2011 and 2014 – here are links to those postings:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2011/03/20/the-dell-pct-take-action-over-trees-but-will-they-pass-the-land-over-to-maghull-town-council/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/02/07/the-dell-maghull-environmental-renewal-project-starts-to-come-together/

What I did not do was to follow up on the last posting but contact from a Lydiate resident recently has reminded me to do so. The resident was talking to me as they are of the view that some of the tree branches overhanging Liverpool Road North may well be a danger to pedestrians and vehicles on the highway. In short Sefton Council has been informed and they have undertaken, I understand, to sort things out whilst holding the line that the land on which the trees are growing does not belong to the Council. On that basis the trees must be growing on the part of the site owned by the NHS.

Hare and Hounds in background

Readers who have read my links above will note that I make reference in those previous postings to The Dell belonging to the NHS. But that is only partly the case, indeed my present understanding is that a small part of The Dell actually belongs to Sefton Council. That part is a narrow strip along the Liverpool Road North boundary (possibly just the stone wall?) and a small section of the site around the Liverpool Road North/Westway corner. Interestingly, the Council also owns the grassed areas fronting the Health Center site on Westway. I say all this as I’ve seen copies of the Land Registry documents detailing it.

Going back to the attempt by Maghull in Bloom to take over the management of the land in 2014, one of the issues which caused the volunteers to call a halt to the project was the split ownership. As their volunteers were relying on a successful Lottery bid to fund the proposed works the project went no further as the Lottery would, I understand, be reluctant about investing in a site with split ownership.

Previous tree works being carried out in 2013

I wonder if there will be a 3rd attempt to get this green lung at the heart of Maghull managed in the long term?

Maghull’s Independent Councillor re-launches NHS Walk-In Centre Campaign

Below is my press release to the Aintree & Maghull Champion in support of Cllr. Matt Gannon’s campaign

Former Sefton Council Leader backs NHS Walk-In Centre Campaign for Maghull

Former Lib Dem Sefton Council Leader Tony Robertson is throwing his support behind Independent Cllr. Matt Gannon’s push to get an NHS Walk-In Centre in Maghull.

Says Tony “We fought but sadly lost this battle once before so I am pleased that Matt is giving it another go.

Back a few years ago local councillors led by former Sefton Lib Dem Cllr. Geoff Howe put South Sefton and then the merged Sefton Primary Care Trust under a lot of pressure to deliver an NHS Walk-In Centre in Maghull to serve the East Parishes part of the Borough. We made progress and were told that Maghull Health Centre was to be rebuilt, that a Walk-In facility would likely be included and that the money for the project had been allocated. But when we made the information public the NHS ran for the hills, denied it all and subsequently did nothing about rebuilding the Health Centre.

We were badly let down and were also told by the NHS that Litherland Walk-In facility (in the old Litherland Town Hall) was meant to provide a service to the East Parishes communities of Lydiate, Aintree Village, Melling and Maghull. Trouble is the public transport connections to it from our part of the Borough are appalling so those without cars can’t access it.

I wish Matt well as Labour, who took all 9 local council seats on Sefton Council, did nothing to progress the campaign and it has taken the election of a non-Labour councillor to get the fight back on track.”

*****ENDS*****

Cllr. Tony Robertson
Lib Dem member of Lydiate Parish Council
28th July 2016

NHS GP Services in Sefton’s East Parishes – It’s been a roller coaster of a journey with few ups and too many downs

The recent talk and publicity in the Aintree & Maghull Champion made me think back to the many disappointments and frustrations we have had in trying to improve the NHS primary care facilities in Sefton’s East Parishes.

Sefton’s eastern parishes cover Melling, Aintree Village, Maghull, Lydiate and part of Sefton Parish and in all my many years as a councillor rarely have there been many positives with regard enhancing local GP/primary care facilities/services.

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The one really big and bright exception was the building and opening of the new GP premises in Oriel Drive, Aintree Village in 2012 after considerable campaigning by Aintree Village Parish Council, The Aintree Park Practice and the then Borough Councillors for Aintree.

July 2012 at the formal opening of the new GP Surgery

July 2012 at the formal opening of the new GP Surgery

But just look at the other miss-steps or missed opportunities:-

Lydiate Village Centre – opened in 2010 – this was originally to include GP facilities but the then Primary Care Trust backed out. Lydiate does not have a GP practice at all.

Meadows Leisure Centre (Maghull) – also opened in 2010 – was also meant to have GP provision within it. Indeed, the idea was for the GP’s to be able to refer appropriate patients directly to the Leisure Centre’s gym for fitness and rehabilitation/recovery purposes. Sadly the then Primary Care Trust backed out of that project too.

Maghull Health Centre was down to be rebuilt some years ago and councillors were told that the money/authority had been obtained for that to be done. That was as I say some years ago but nothing has happened to date.

rsz_maghull_health_centre

What’s more the then Lib Dem Borough Councillors for the 3 East Parishes Wards pressed for and gained a commitment that NHS Walk-In facilities would be provided within a rebuilt Maghull Health Centre, as the nearest one in Litherland is hardly easily accessible. This we were told was given the green light but when it went public health officials said they were not now going to do it!

Melling’s GP surgery was relocated to Kirkby in Knowsley Borough not so long ago, causing great concern to the village residents.

The GP practice on the Parkhaven Trust site in Maghull needs to relocate, so are told, and this is causing all kinds of concerns as to where it will go to. The same GP practice has had its problems in recent times and originally it had been down to be run by a big private company (possibly American) under the last Labour Government’s NHS privatisation plans promoted by Tony Blair and, I think, Andy Burnham. That idea was fought off by local campaigners.

All in all it’s fair to say that folks in the East Parishes communities just want high quality GP services, a locally accessible NHS Walk-In facility and as many medical tests done locally as possible rather than having to get to the very busy Fazakerley Hospital. Not much to ask for and much of it previously possible/promised but then backed out of by NHS officials.

I am sure that the numerous NHS re-organisations by all colours of Government have not helped over the past 20 years or so but the bottom line is little has moved forward and many problems persist with primary care NHS facilities in Sefton’s East Parishes.

Please no more promises, just deliver!

Maghull – What news of the long promised and talked about town centre redevelopment?

Well this one has been doing the rounds for years but little has actually happened.

There are two possibilities in the offing one to the north of Westway and one to the south of it.

The northern redevelopment would be in Maghull Square that rather too 1960’s shopping area owned by the Maghull Group. They laid out plans quite a few years ago to give it a facelift and potentially to demolition and rebuild the shop units at the back of the Square. Trouble is the recession intervened and no progress has been made at all. How will the Maghull Group move things on?

The southern redevelopment has gone though so many alternatives and rumours of alternatives that anyone could be forgiven for wondering what if anything will ever happen. Will Morrisons enlarge their too small store or have they given up? Will the NHS deliver the long promised but now seldom talked rebuild of Maghull Health Centre? Remember it was to have an NHS Walk-In facility and the rebuild was supposedly funded/approved at one point a few years back. Are the powers that be in the NHS conveniently forgetting about the assurances that were made by Sefton Primary Care Trust and before them South Sefton Primary Care Trust?

The former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and old Maghull Library stand ripe for redevelopment in the heart of Maghull. Click on this photo to enlarge it.

The former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and old Maghull Library stand ripe for redevelopment in the heart of Maghull. Click on this photo to enlarge it.

rsz_maghull_health_centre

The land for the southern redevelopment is certainly available with the shells of the old Maghull Library and former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre sitting there awaiting a bid with Sefton Council desperate to sell both to raise some much needed cash. But we also know that the Police want to shut Maghull Police Station so they can move their Neighbourhood Bobbies into a shop unit or something along those lines. The Police land is huge so with the land that Sefton Council owns the opportunities are both real and significant. But what will break the deadlock? London and Cambridge Properties are the other major land owners in between the Council and Police land holdings.

Maghull Police Station - Down to become disused soon according to Merseyside's Labour Crime and Policing Commissioner.

Maghull Police Station – Down to become disused soon according to Merseyside’s Labour Crime and Policing Commissioner.

Were the rumours that Aldi wanted to buy land off the Council correct? You could credibly see Aldi wanting to make such a move as their nearest stores are quite some distance away by the Park Hotel in Netherton, Thornton and in Ormskirk.

I have said before that Morrisons could get caught on the back foot if they are not careful. They need a bigger and better designed store and car park but can they afford to invest/pay more rent? Has anyone ever seen a supermarket car park as badly designed as the one at Morrisons in Maghull? Aldi could well be a big threat to Morrisons if they finally pitch in on a site next door to them.

Things have got to move soon surely!

The photo of the old library and Stafford Moreton Youth Centre is amongst my Flickr shots at:-
www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Maghull – Morrisons/Health Centre/Old Library/Former Youth Centre – What’s going on?

Ever since Morrisons took over their Maghull store from the former Somerfield there has been talk of the store needing to be enlarged. It is clearly far too small.

rsz_img_2881

At one point a complicated but positive plan was put together involving the NHS who own the adjoining Health Centre, London and Cambridge Properties who own the land on which Morrisons sits (together with the other shops on the southern side of Westway) and the associated car park. The plan also included land that Sefton Council owned and in fact still owns. The land in question being that of the former Maghull Library (which moved to Meadows Leisure Centre in 2010) and that of the former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre.

rsz_maghull_health_centre

The plan was to redevelop the Health Centre which the NHS had authorised at a high level I was told by senior NHS and Sefton Council officers. Sadly, the NHS then backed out, why has never really been explained and Maghull residents with longish memories will recall us Lib Dems pressing at every turn for the new Health Centre to have an NHS Walk-In facility within it. Our contention is that Sefton Primary Care Trust (now abolished under NHS reorganisation) had undertaken to do all it could to provide an NHS Walk-In facility in Maghull after the one at Litherland Town Hall had opened. Of course it has never happened but then again the building it was supposed to be in was never rebuilt. Maghull and district residents have every right to feel aggrieved about this as Litherland Town Hall NHS Walk-In Centre is simply not accessible from the East Parishes part of Sefton Borough by public transport.

The closed Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and the old Maghull Library

The closed Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and the old Maghull Library

So the NHS element of the plan went west so to speak, but what of the rest of it. Surely Morrisions still needed a bigger Maghull store? Surely cash-strapped Sefton still wanted to dispose of the land it owned to bring some money in? Well you would have thought so in both cases but nothing has happened and all this has been going on for years and years. Indeed, it costs Sefton Council money each year to keep its two old buildings secure and safe.

Does it all come down to London and Cambridge Properties and Morrisons? What is the problem? Maghull & District needs a better range of food retailers. Just think about it in terms of the major UK food retailers (I appreciate that there are a number of excellent local convenience stores) this is all that there are in the East Parishes:-

Lydiate – None at all!
Maghull – A small Morrisons, Lidl, Iceland, a small Co-op
Aintree Village – A Tesco Metro, an M&S Food and a huge ASDA
Melling – None at all!

I was told quite some time ago that Aldi were actively looking for a site in Maghull and my strong suspicion was that they were looking at the old library/youth club site, but so far that has seemingly come to nothing.

What strikes me is that if Morrisons does not make a decisive move and sort out their long-term future in Maghull they are likely to end up with a competitor right on their doorstep as surely Sefton Council will not sit on its land for ever.

By the way I have written to Morrison twice asking them where their planning is up to but answers comes there none so far.

But could there be an other option on the table – one that has been the subject of considerable rumour in recent times? Read my posting next Wednesday involving the ‘The Old Bill’.

The Dell – Maghull – Environmental renewal project starts to come together

NHS, Maghull in Bloom and project partners meet at The Dell - 31st Jan 2014

NHS, Maghull in Bloom and project partners meet at the Dell – 31st Jan 2014

An interesting site meeting took place last Friday in Maghull’s Dell. The Dell is an important green lung within the Town and it probably has some historical significance too according to my good friend John Hill, a Maghull in Bloom volunteer. A cross is likely to have been on the site so I am told.

The site meting was attended by a representative of the NHS Property Company who own the Dell. My understanding being that when the NHS purchased the site on which Maghull Health stands around 1970 (following the campaigning of former local GP Reg Yorke) the Dell came as part of the deal.

It has never been well maintained with the NHS doing essential maintenance only, which is hardy surprising when their priority is the health of the nation.

Some 20 years ago, as I think I have previously recorded on this blog site, Maghull Town Council tried to encourage the NHS to pass it over to them on a long lease so that it could be sympathetically landscaped and properly maintained. A deal was not then possible despite my best efforts at the time. However, times change and the NHS are responding positively to the latest approach by Maghull’s highly successful ‘In Bloom’ volunteer group, hence the site meeting.

More news when I have it, but it looks like something positive could well be happening in the not too distant future all being well. If it does Melling’s Kennet Prison may well be a partner in the project. Watch this space….