Maghull – Poppy Fields housing development and Maghull North Station

I went to have a look at the new housing development at ‘Poppy Fields’ yesterday. I say Poppy Fields when of course I mean the former Moss Side Hospital site (also known as Ashworth South to some folk) where Maghull’s second railway station is presently being built too.

I arrived there at around 11am. The site was accessible i.e. the gate was open but oddly the sales suite was not despite a notice saying it was on Thursday’s through to Monday’s (don’t they sell houses on Tuesdays and Wednesdays?). I did see a handful of people looking around the site though.

The Ormskirk – Liverpool railway line/new station site is on the left hand edge of this plan.

Another thing I thought was odd concerned the plan of the site stuck to the outside of the sales suite – it did not depict the new station being built at all. Is the new station not a big selling point for the developer?

From what I saw though they do seem to be selling houses with I would guess 50% of the properties that are partially built having sold signs on them.

But I wanted to look at the progress of the railway station too and in what seemed to be a separate locked compound excavations were taking place on the area to be occupied by the station building and car park.

Excavation works where the Station building/station car park will be.

A view of the station site from the School Lane overbridge.

Clearly house building in and around Maghull/Lydiate has been hugely controversial in recent years not least because of the loss of Green Belt and the very highest grades of agricultural land (which grows our food) for the building. But this site was not a part of such controversy, indeed building there was broadly accepted by local environment campaigners as a sensible reuse of a previously partly developed site.

My final thought for now is how much will the new housing on this site meet what I think are the greatest local housing needs – bungalows/single level accessible flats for the elderly, small starter homes for those trying to get onto the housing ladder and of course social housing? I think I know the answer…….

Click on the photos to enlarge them

New Maghull North Station due to open May 2018

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station. Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

I have been chasing up the latest position with regard to the Maghull’s 2nd railway station and with the help of Merseytravel Committee member John Dodd. I can supply the following information which has been provided to John by Merseytravel.

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The contractor for the Maghull North station began the mobilisation stage for the station works on Monday 4 September.

Work has also begun on the de-vegetation of the railway cutting within the existing Network Rail trackside boundary. An ecologist is on site in case there are any particular issues that are found as the staff work their way in to the undergrowth.

Merseytravel will be meeting with Network Rail on Friday [8th September] and will discuss further details of the early stages of the construction works.

Opening of the railway station is still planned for May 2018 when the new summer timetable starts. At this stage it is not intended to rework the Maghull Circulars [buses], some of which provide a service from the existing station and pass the site of the new station.

However there will be further bus service reviews in time to come and the services will be looked at with knowledge of the new station, the Persimmon Homes development currently underway (Poppy Fields) and any proposals for development on the lands east of Maghull.

With thanks to Cllr. John Dodd for the lead to this posting

This photo shows the view from the Park Lane overbridge looking south towards the School Lane overbridge from where the previous photo was taken. The new station will be close to the School Lane bridge.

Liverpool City Region – New transportation web site lauched

www.keepliverpoolmoving.com/

A new web site has been launched to chart the progress of the investment in our local rail network – see the link above to access the site and learn more.

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station. Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

The new Maghull North Station gets a mention with work starting in August 2017 and a planned opening of the Town’s second railway station in May 2018. Some of us have be campaigning for this second station for more years than we care to mention! Great to see it on track!

Merseyrail to get new trains BUT there will be no guards on them!

Yes I know the ordering of these new trains for the Merseyrail franchise has been announced more times than even the building of the new Maghull North Station i.e. tens of times at least over goodness knows how many years!

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However, another milestone was reached today with the Merseytravel Committee of the Liverpool City Region agreeing to actually pursue the purchase of them. So far so good and no one can be anything but pleased that some of the oldest railway rolling stock in the UK is going to be renewed.

HOWEVER, and its a big however, the new trains will be driver only operated i.e. there will be no train guards on them. Yes, the guards will be replaced by some form of customer service operative but I remain unconvinced that passenger safety will not be compromised.

Of course the current huge dispute surrounding the Southern Trains franchise is very much bound up in this guards issue too, although that franchise has massive problems anyway of the kind that Merseyrail does not have.

I have posted about this matter before and my last relevant posting is available via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/07/29/merseyrail-labour-run-merseytravel-committee-needs-to-be-clear-what-they-are-looking-for-in-terms-of-guards-on-new-train-fleet/

My fear is that cost cutting and passenger safety do not sit well together and I had hoped that Merseytravel would had taken the more cautious route with regard to the new trains for the Merseyrail franchise and openly stood out against the loss of train guards.

Here’s the BBC’s take on today’s events:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-38334262

Maghull – What will that new railway station look like?

No this is not another posting about the 17th relaunch of the Maghull North Station project you will be glad to hear but it is about what the new station will potentially look like.

Just a recap first, it will be just north of Maghull’s School Lane where that road crosses the railway. The station will be between the yet to be constructed houses on what has become known as the Ashworth South Site (the site of the former Moss Side Hospital) and the present housing on Mersey Avenue. The station site looks like this at present (click on all the photos to enlarge):-

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station.  Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station. Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

Merseytravel Committee members were recently given a briefing on the design and progress of the project and I am indebted to Cllr. John Dodd for in turn briefing me about it.

Here are some up to date design images:-

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This one shows the School Lane overbridge to the left and the Mersey Avenue housing top/right.

This one shows the School Lane overbridge to the left and the Mersey Avenue housing top/right.

This one is looking westwards with Mersey Avenue at the top. The housing in the bottom two thirds of it is yet to be built on the Ashworth South Site.

This one is looking westwards with Mersey Avenue at the top. The housing in the bottom two thirds of it is yet to be built on the Ashworth South Site.

Access to the station car park will be via the School Lane roundabout that was constructed some years ago when the Ashworth South site was going to be used to build a new prison.

What can you say about the proposed station design? Well it’s modern, not particularly inspiring and so much like many new build stations these days. We seem to have forgotten what a railway station should look like. Indeed, we have a good example in the heritage buildings of the present Maghull Station and a little bit further down the same line towards Liverpool an example of how a once grand station (Aintree) has been modernised or is that vandalised! I will be posting about Aintree Station soon as I recently picked up a photo which really does show what has been lost.

But back to Maghull North. I hope it will be environmentally sustainable, solar panels, rainwater harvesting etc. but why can’t it be built with a bit more imagination in stone and brick to reflect say an updated version of the present Maghull Station? My posting from the public ‘consultation’ of not so long ago refers:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/11/24/maghull-north-station-project-exhibition-at-maghull-town-hall/

Ah well, it seems those of us who attended the consultation event, which was more like an information event, failed to move Merseytravel and Network Rail about design and heritage issues (to be honest we thought we were being given the tea and sympathy routine at the time) so it looks like it will be another modern box like building.

But, having said that, the new station will be very welcome and I say that as someone who has fought for it to be constructed for more years than I wish to recall. Let’s hope trains will be stopping there soon – within a year to 18 months?

Maghull – Another ‘relaunch’ of the Maghull North Station project

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station.  Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station. Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/merseyside-could-new-train-station-12028642

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above.

I have lost track (sorry) of the number of announcements and re-announcements about the building of Maghull’s yet to appear second railway station. I have blogged about it numerous times too. The project has been so long on the books that it probably has more chapters than the Bible.

Oh just get on with it so that local worthies can have their picture taken claiming they all had it built.

BTW has the price jumped to £13m? It’s not so long ago that Merseytravel were quoting £7m+ figure, but then again £13m is a £7m+ figure!