Tonight’s Sefton Council meeting was like a meeting in the Kremlin!

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Labour displayed the politics of Michael Foot and beyond tonight and frankly it was probably even more socialist than that. Come the revolution is putting it mildly as they ranted about just about everything. They refused to give ground on volunteers taking on closing libraries, gave the impression that they don’t care much for credit unions, would not acknowledge that they have treated Aintree Village Parish Council very poorly etc. etc.

Frankly, after tonight’s display one can only fear for the running of the Borough of Sefton. I will write up the goings on as I get the chance, but I would start learning the words of the Red Flag if you know what’s good for you!

Maghull Town Council Budget meeting 22nd January – We don’t need a Neighbourhood Plan but we do need Maghull in Bloom and youth facilities.

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With reserves of £400,000 this Labour-run Council had room to pledge a £5,000 support grant to Maghull’s ‘In Bloom’ volunteers and to back a small financial package to secure the Town’s unique Youth Coffee Bar but it stubbornly refused to do either.

We Lib Dems have always seen youth facilities as being vital that’s why we set up Maghull’s unique Youth Coffee Bar in Maghull Town Hall when we ran the Council. Labour’s shutting of the facility for a number of weeks last December was appalling but they are simply not investing in our young people. Labour has stopped the yearly grant to Maghull & District Youth Council and chopped out the Town Council’s Youth Projects fund. To counter this we Lib Dem proposed that £5,000 was put aside to help run the Youth Coffee Bar when volunteers are unavailable to run it.

On the environmental front Maghull folk are delighted with the floral displays in the Town’s shopping centre, at Deyes Lane shops and at Treeview Court. But the volunteers, who put on the prize winning displays in partnership with the local business community and the Town Council, can’t produce the displays from nothing so Maghull Council has long been a significant financial supporter of the ‘In Bloom’ Volunteers. But, under Labour the Council’s support has been slipping with no guarantee to the volunteers over the certainty of the Council’s support in the future. The Lib Dem view is that this is simply not on so we proposed that the Council return to supporting Maghull in Bloom to the tune of £5,000 per year. Labour sadly voted the grant down.

However, Labour’s major objective is an odd thing – a Neighbourhood Plan that it is planning to spend £10,000 on in the coming year and probably a significant amount more in future as these plans can cost £70,000+! Why they want to do one no one knows because they will not say despite being asked to do so by the Lib Dems.

A Neighbourhood Plan is a smaller version of a Local Plan, of which Sefton Council is presently putting one together for the whole Borough. Of course, Sefton’s Local Plan is hugely controversial because Labour-run Sefton wants to build on Green Belt and high grade agricultural land, especially around Maghull!

But Maghull Town Council is Labour run too so why can’t they simply add whatever the matters are that are buzzing around in their bonnets straight into the Sefton Local Plan? They could do that for free instead of spending goodness knows how much Council tax payers money doing a separate Neighbourhood Plan for Maghull.

Our concern is that Labour may have an agenda to build even more houses in Maghull because a Neighbourhood Plan is not allowed to include anything that disagrees with the Borough’s Local Plan; so they could build more houses via a Neighbourhood Plan but they could not build less. I think it is about time Labour came clean on their secret Neighbourhood Plan objectives for Maghull because Labour Maghull Town Councillor and Sefton Leader Cllr. Peter Dowd has already signed up publicly to Ed Miliband’s doubling of the present house building targets.

Maghull Town Council – Nearly by-elections 8 & 9!

A further two by elections for Maghull Town Council were narrowly-averted when Town Councillors Peter Dowd and Paul Tweed turned out for a Maghull Town Council meeting on 20th November, having not attended a meeting for nearly six months. Had they not done so, Maghull Town Council would have been facing its 8th and 9th by-elections since the 16 strong Town Council was elected for a 4-year term in May 2011. 7 Labour members of the Council have resigned so far!

Councillors Dowd and Tweed are both Sefton Cabinet Members and Borough Councillors for Bootle wards on Sefton Council.

In order to remain in office, every councillor has to turn out to an official council meeting at least once every 6 months: neither Cllr Tweed and nor Councillor Dowd had been to a Town Council meeting since May.

Despite Labour’s majority (11 Lab – 5 Lib Dems) on the Town Council the Town Mayor had to cast her vote to block a Lib Dem motion condemning Sefton Council’s Green Belt building plans last month.

Maghull Town Council – I still think it holds too much money in reserve

The latest figures from the Town Council show that its reserves stand at £448,868; that’s a lot of money for a Parish Council to have in the bank to me.

I raised this at the Town Council’s Finance meeting on 30th October and have raised it on a number of occasions previously. Indeed I have made specific proposals to reduce the amount held in reserve and to return some of it to Maghull’s Council tax payers via a lower precept on them i.e. reducing the additional amount of Council tax that they pay to the Town Council.

Around a year ago, in November 2012 the reserves stood at £227,894 so in 11 months they have risen significantly. But don’t get me wrong I do understand that Council’s need reserves of money but frankly nudging £1/2m is a bit much for a Parish Council to hold especially at a time when the Maghull community, like many others, is struggling with the cost of living.

I do hope the Town Council’s rulers were listening to my plea, as an opposition member, although sadly I was attacked simply for expressing my views by one Labour member.

Green Belt – Labour’s mad world of push me, pull you!

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I snapped this photo in Lydiate’s Coronation Road yesterday and frankly was incredulous of what I was seeing. I am sure the person living there must genuinely want to preserve the Green belt but Labour are the last Party in the Borough to do that for them!

In Sefton the Council is Labour controlled and the majority Labour Group on the Council recently voted to consult the people of the Borough about their proposals to build on Sefton’s Green Belt!

I am beginning to think that we are living in a parallel universe where some things are the opposite of what they are in the other universe.

But just in case you don’t think I am not being fair and reasonable just click the link below to the Crosby Herald newspaper where Sefton Council Leader and Maghull Town Councillor Peter Dowd is stating what Labour’s position is. I disagree with Peter’s objectives, because they will mean so much housing having to be built on Green Belt/high grade agricultural land, but have known him long enough to accept that what he puts in the press is what Sefton Labour Party really thinks.

www.crosbyherald.co.uk/news/crosby-news/2013/10/10/sefton-council-chief-welcomes-ed-miliband-s-one-million-housing-commitment-68459-33932294/

My posting of 13th February 2013 also refers and this was followed up by an article in the Aintree & Maghull Champion which made building on Green Belt a clear consequence of Labour’s policy direction.

On that basis why are Labour producing posters that are the opposite of what they are doing on the Council? Answers on a post card…………………..

Postscript – the word on the street is that these posters are being put up by Labour supporters in an attempt to give the impression that their Party is doing just the opposite of what they are really doing.

Sefton Local Plan – Do Labour really have a secret agenda to shift some Green Belt house building from Maghull into Lydiate?

Now I have said before that Labour in Sefton has a problem with leaks and the latest one to reach me (which I mentioned in my posting of 22nd October) is about what looks at face value to be a potential slight of hand, assuming it is true.

What I am being told is that there have been discussions within Sefton Labour to reduce the amount of house building in Maghull but that this could well be at the expense of neighbouring Lydiate or elsewhere in the Borough. Sharing the pain more evenly across the Borough may be their intended strapline? In reality though it would simply bring them more grief!

Building on the two Lydiate ‘reserve’ sites would increase the number of houses in that Parish by up to 35%!

There has been a very bad reaction to Labour-run Sefton Council’s plan to build a huge urban extension to the east of Maghull because, if it goes ahead, it will increase the number of houses in Maghull by around 25%.

Are Labour running scared of their own proposal to build a massive urban extension to the east of Maghull?

In Labour’s draft Local Plan for the Borough the 2 sites in Lydiate are what they term as ‘reserve’ sites. A reasonable interpretation of this is that if sites elsewhere do not move forward to be developed then the Lydiate sites will be released to build on. But whichever way you look at it, it must surely be the case that these two Lydiate sites, under Labour’s plan, will be built on it’s just that it will take longer for this to happen than say the Maghull sites.

What some Labour folk seem to want to do is to try to buy off disgruntled voters in Maghull (who recently gave Labour a good kicking in 2 by-elections) by reducing the number of houses to be built there whilst bringing the Lydiate/other sites forward more quickly. They must think that this will get them off the hook with the Maghull community and environmental campaigners! I wonder who could have had such a naive thought?

It looks to me that Labour will dig themselves into a even deeper hole if they try this one on for real!