Maghull – An old chestnut – Gardens fronting Royal Mail Sorting Office

This is me at the Liverpool Road North site back in January 2013 when I was a Maghull Councillor

Well this one has done the rounds many times before and I’m talking about the general state of these once regularly maintained gardens which in recent years have been a right old mess. In case you’re not aware of the site it’s in Liverpool Road North close to the Red Lion canal bridge.

I’ve blogged about them before as the Maghull in Bloom volunteers had a go at tidying them up a few years back working with the former Kennet Prison. I say former as the prison (it was on the same site as Ashworth Hospital in Maghul) closed down a few years ago. Having said that it was only ever intended to be a temporary prison. With the demise of the Category D Prison and its available prisoner workforce the project came to naught sadly.

Prior to that I recall that Royal Mail were saying the land was adopted by Sefton Council for them to maintain but that turned out not to be the case.

So why raise it now? Well a local resident raised the matter with me as they are frustrated by the state the gardens are in. To try to make some progress I contacted Royal Mail asking them what their intensions are with regard to maintenace of the site which is prominent within Maghull’s shopping area. I’m informed by the way, by a reliable source, that Royal Mail indicated pre-COVID that they did have plans for the site of these gardens.

The response I received from the Royal Mail said that the matter had been reported ‘to the manager of the delivery office and have recorded your complaint under reference 201228-004476. The manager will take appropriate steps to arrange any required maintenance work for the Collection Point.’

We shall see…….

Maghull – It must now be 20 years+ of blooms in the shopping centre

The long view of 2016 winter planting down Westway looking from the Leighton Ave junction towards the A59 Northway.

The other day I got to thinking about how long floral displays have been going on in and around The Square/Westway. Well it must be around 20 years or more.

It all started with a former Maghull Town & Sefton Borough Councillor by the name of Roy Connell. Forgive me if my memory is not fully correct but here goes.

Summer 2009 there were both hanging baskets & barrier planters

Roy realised that in some other parts of the Borough Sefton Council put up hanging baskets (outside the Strand in Bootle was one such place) and he asked for them to be erected in Maghull along Westway too. His request was eventually agreed to but Maghull Town Council wanted to join in too. What came out of this was a partnership between Sefton and Maghull Councils, brokered by former Town Clerk Barry Smith, whereby Sefton would pay for so many hanging baskets and Maghull Town Council would both pay for the extra ones they wanted (along part of Liverpool Road North & up Stafford Moreton Way) and they would do the watering of all of the baskets using their in-house parks/grounds maintenance team.

This carried on for a few years but then problems started to emerge with regard to the strength of the aged street light columns which had had two hanging baskets fixed to each one. We were told that some of the street lights were no longer safe to hold hanging baskets so those along Liverpool Road North and on Stafford Moreton way were removed. Subsequently, as a cost cutting move, Sefton stopped funding all hanging baskets across the Borough but for a while the Town Council kept going with the ones along Westway. But then the same issue arose with the strength of street lamps there too so after about 8 years or so they were no more. You can still see some of the brackets which the hanging baskets were suspended from as they’ve not been removed.

A circular prize winning flower planter on Maghull’s Westway.

I think it was around this time, about 12 years ago, that the Maghull in Bloom volunteers were established and I recall them attending a Maghull Town Council meeting (at the time I both lived in Maghull and was a Maghull councillor) asking for support. The Town Council agreed to fund MinB to the tune of £5,000 per year (reduced to £2000 in the past few years) and it also agreed to take on the watering of the summer planting along Westway which would from then on take the form of pavement planters and pedestrian barrier baskets as opposed to hanging baskets.

MinB volunteer’s hanging baskets at Treeview Court

Maghull in Bloom volunteers went on establish themselves as one of the Town’s most high profile voluntary groups with additional displays at Treeview Court (summer hanging baskets & year-round pavement planters), Deyes Lane shops (summer hanging baskets), Leeds Liverpool Canal (Planters at bridges & weekly canal towpath litter picking), The Fruit Meadows & flower beds/planters on KGV Park/outside Meadows Leisure Centre.

In 2019 Maghull Town Council passed the responsibility for watering the Westway summer displays onto the owners of the shopping centre London & Cambridge Properties and they completed the summer 2019 watering season. And that is pretty much the story of the blooms in Maghull shopping centre over the past 20+ years.

Maghull – A wildflower meadow for Stafford Moreton Way

This is a piece of land which I have blogged about before – August 2017. Here’s a link back to that posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/08/09/maghull-weeds-festooned-around-new-home-bargains-site/

And now the good news, because unconnected with my previous moaning about the state of the site, a group of volunteers has come together to tackle the unkempt plot of land and I’ve been asked to publicise their project.

www.spacehive.com/stafford-moreton

This week they launched a crowd funding campaign to raise over £6000 before 31 October, to improve the beginning of Stafford Moreton Way. Sefton Council award up to £5000 or 40% of the target fund (whichever is the lesser) and the volunteers have progressed their application through to the 1.4.19 deadline set by the Council. My understanding is that Sefton make their decision for funding just prior to 10.5.19, basing their funding awards mainly on community engagement, indicated by the number of ‘likes’ and ‘pledges’. Consequently, the volunteers urgently need to generate as many of the likes and pledges before the May decision, as they anticipate this is their best chance to obtain a significant amount of funding towards their target.

If you feel, like I do, that this is a worthwhile project, please consider backing it and spread the word around as many local people as you know. I will certainly be letting the Maghull in Bloom team, that I’m a part of, know about it. The minimum pledge that can be made is £2 but a ‘like’ can also be really useful so here’s a link to the web site where you can back the project:-

www.spacehive.com/stafford-moreton

And here’s a note in more detail from volunteer Frank Sharp about the project:-

‘I can imagine, (like myself) that initially people may think introducing a wildflower meadow to such a prominent large area could look as unkempt as the original concerns in 2018. But if you look on the website under the timeline entitled ‘Journey’ there is a subtitle – ‘Our Plan’ hopefully gives a reassuring explanation. In essence, both sides will have an oval shaped area of medium-sized trees, under planted with 1000 Bluebell bulbs and under covered by bark chippings, the circumferences of these areas will have a 2 m and a 1 m strip on each side of the road respectively comprising of wildflower turf (which will not look as scruffy as wildflower seeds), the backdrop on the smaller left-hand side plot will have 28 m of blackthorn hedge. The company providing the wildflower turf are the same ones that created the amazing wildflowers at the London Olympic Park.

We negotiated the plan with Mersey Forest who came to the site in February and donated the trees and hedging. They also suggested planting in the National tree week in November. We have also been amazed by the generosity of the Ashworth hospital gardeners who have volunteered to undertake the work in one day utilising their staff and machinery. However, we are keeping the news about Mersey Forest and Ashworth hospital, quiet for another media release to maintain some media momentum. London and Cambridge Properties have given permission following reassurances about maintenance liability and where obviously pleased that it may in fact reduce the level of maintenance due to the reduced grass areas to be cut, whilst the wildflower turf as you demonstrated with the scythe video (Cheshire lines) generally only needs cutting once a year, and hopefully the bark chippings should suppress any weeds.

It is quite a responsibility, to shape such a prominent area, but hopefully this should be a change for the better.

One of the more touching donation pledges was made by my disabled nephew in Devon (who contracted meningitis at two years of age, which left him with multiple disabilities connected to cerebral palsy and has had a lifetime of crowdfunding initiatives for himself and others) who when he asked what I would like for my 60th birthday. I said, just a couple of quid for this project. His response was £60, £1 for each year of my life!’

And finally a flash back to October 2014 when the old library and former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre were still standing:-

It’s a radically different view now but the plot of land for the wildflower meadow is the piece of greenspace in the front center of this now historical view.

Maghull – Oh for goodness sake do something with the Square

This is Maghull Square in the 1970’s but the buildings are substantially as was. It was built in the 1960’s. Photographer unknown.

What’s going on at Maghull Square/Westway shopping centre or more to the point why is little or nothing seemingly going on there? I refer of course to the oft promised refurb/upgrade.

The previous owners (The Maghull Group) put in for planning permission to do it up but sold it on prior to doing the upgrade and the present owners have seemingly gone to ground after much talk of them upgrading the down at heal 1960’s buildings and the appalling car parks surfacing.

Apart from the works by Maghull in Bloom’s volunteers what else has been done to try to uplift the Square? I’m struggling to think of any positive actions other than the larger shop units in one corner of the Square.

Thinking back the original owners were I understand a company called Ravenseft (or a title something like that) and I believe that Mars Pension Fund once owned it too.

Despite the many and various hands it has gone through Maghull still has a shopping centre that needs updating other than via the hands of volunteers!

Come on, please get a move on London and Cambridge.

Lydiate – Boundary sign that is literally on its last legs

Enter Lydiate from Great Altcar where Altcar Lane makes the sharp turn into Bells Lane and you will be greeted with this sign:-

Well let’s be polite, it’s seen better days!

Indeed, near the top on the left hand side it is all but rusted through so it will soon become a real danger to road users and the public:-

I have asked Lydiate Parish Council to work with Sefton Council to have it replaced because of the danger.

Also, at some point down the line it could provide a nice place for a Lydiate in Flower boundary planter like the ones we see on Maghull’s boundary signs provide by Maghull in Bloom volunteers:-

Lydiate – First public meeting of Lydiate in Flower

I went along to the first public meeting of this new volunteer community group last night in Lydiate Village Centre.

It was pleasing to see Lydiate residents turning out for the meeting where we all learned about progress in setting the fledgling group up.

John and Madelaine Harrison came from the Maghull in Bloom volunteer group to give advice and assistance which was gratefully received.

The plan is to try to start with some spring planting in 2018 possibly via some ‘gateway planters’ on Lydiate’s boundaries with Maghull, Aughton and Down Holland. Other ideas are being considered too but the big job will be to bring in the finances to pay for such projects.

The volunteer group is looking for sponsorship from local businesses and to make grant applications. Lydiate Parish Council is putting £100 in the pot to start things off and helping with grant applications.

As a former Maghull resident I have been volunteering for Maghull in Bloom in recent years and now as as Lydiate resident I’m happy to get involved in Lydiate in Flower as well.

For more information look for and like the Lydiate in Flower News page on Facebook – see link below:-

www.facebook.com/Lydiate-in-Flower-News-Page-347570162369636/