Melling – Trying out its new Prescot Rd/Bank Lane safe cycle route

I’ve mentioned this Liverpool City Region project previously (see links below) but now the M58 ‘Ashworth’ Junction to Kirkby part is complete* – here’s my review of it.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/05/02/maghull-to-kirkby-via-melling-a-cycle-path-for-prescot-road-school-lane/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/01/04/melling-new-cycle-path-from-m58-ashworth-junction/

Oh and there’s a related posting about the stone-built bus shelter which now sits between the new cycle path and Prescot Road and had previously been threatened with demolition:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/03/17/melling-prescot-road-bus-shelter-what-on-earths-going-on/

From the M58 ‘Ashworth’ Junction south eastwards towards the Pear Tree Pub there’s a cycle path on both sides of the road (Maghull Lane) up to the junction with Prescot Road. If you’ve read the 2nd link above you’ll note my frustration with the fact that the cycle path on the left-hand side has not been taken round into the Ormskirk bound carriageway of Prescot Road but stops just before the junction! This effectively invites cyclists to rejoin the road at a dangerous point if they’re going towards Aughton/Ormskirk. Bad planning in my view. From this junction, there’s only one cycle path on the right-hand side heading along Prescot Road. The path is wide so easily caters for cycles to pass each other. Here’s a photo looking towards the Pear Tree Pub/junction (in the far distance) with the M58 junction being behind the camera:-

The previously threatened bus shelter**, of significant Melling heritage, which was fortunately saved can be seen in this shot with the Pear Tree Pub in the background.:-

To get around the Pear Tree Pub the cycle path follows Prescot Road at the forked junction and then, via a traffic-lighted crossing, passes to the rear of the pub to join Bank Lane. Here’s the crossing:-

And here’s my final shot looking down Bank Lane where the new cycle path joins a longer-standing one which takes cyclists into Kirkby:-

All in all an excellent piece of cycling infrastructure of the highest quality. Nice to see that it’s fully signed, unlike the new cycle path along the A59/Northway in Maghull. The hedging has been replanted so another environmental tick in the box there.

When the section into Maghull and its North Railway Station is constructed (at some point in the future – I know not when) a valuable complete safe cycling route will have been provided. Oh but please do that short missing section into Prescot Road from Maghull Lane for goodness sake! And on that note I’ll repeat something I often say about cycling infrastructure, it’s all well and good doing these grand and often expensive projects but sometimes relatively minor cycling solutions all over our communities remain unattended to. Identifying and tackling those many small projects needs to be a priority. If Sefton Council wants to know my list then I’ll happily supply it but in case I’m becoming a grumbler let me say again the new cycle path I post about here is most welcome and of high quality.

* The section running into Maghull and its North Railway Station will, I assume, be constructed along with the development of the vast Maghull East Urban Extension.

** Storm Arwen took the roof off this bus shelter and there was a great idea from a local resident to replace it with a living roof. I backed that idea and Tweeted my support for it to Merseytravel which they seemed to like the idea of. I note that the new roof is however not a living one, but what I don’t know is whether this is a temporary fix prior to putting a living roof on. Does anyone know more about this?

Note – Click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull – Back to that Moss Side Pond

I blogged recently about the Moss Side Pond/Grotto which still exists on the presently being built Poppy Fields Estate or as some will know it the Ashworth South Site or Moss Side Hospital site. Here’s my original posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/03/26/maghull-that-pond-grotto-on-the-former-ashworth-south-site/

The photo I used in that earlier posting was not the best as I could only take it through a building contractor’s fencing. However community activist and Maghull councillor Frank Sharp has provided me with 2 far better shots of the pond that he took in 2010 before the site was cleared for the new housing. The two photos are the ones in this posting above.

Frank also reminded me about the Harrison family connection with the site and you can read about them via the historic information display board on the platforms of the new(ish) Maghull North Station, which takes up a part of the former Moss Side Hospital site. I took the photo below of the display board a while back:-

Look out for it when you get a train from Maghull North to Ormskirk or Liverpool after our present lock-down is over…..

My thanks to Frank Sharp for his assistance with this posting.

Note – Please click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull – North Station fence and cycle path

Maghull North Station as it was nearing completion in 2018

I’ve blogged about Maghull new 2nd railway station many times, often with a little frustration about the design details which have been left hanging well after the station opened.

Now don’t get me wrong (a Jim Sharpe’ism – Jim is a journalist on our local Champion newspaper) having campaigned for the station to be built I’m happy that it has been, but for the life of me some of the issues with it should not still be issues now, well over a year since it was opened.

The good news is that a significant length of the old decaying wooden fence left over from the former Moss Side Hospital site has now been removed along the site’s School Lane boundary. I think that fellow environmental campaigner Frank Sharp (no relation to Jim) will have had a hand in this via his chivying of Merseytravel etc.

Now about that cycle/footpath which opened recently and connects the new station with both School Lane and Park Lane. It’s very welcome but at the School Lane end there’s still no dropped kerb for cyclists to access it and the new station via the level access. I lose count of the number of times I’ve pointed this out to Sefton Council and Merseytravel. This photo illustrates:-

whilst at the Park Lane end it does have a dropped kerb:-

At neither end does the path have any pedestrian barriers though and I would have thought that barriers erected in a chicane-type arrangement would make things safer in respect of children running out onto the road.

Small things of detail in many ways, and yes I’m sure there are much bigger matters to think about, but never the less you’d think such straight forward and cheap to fix issues would be all a part of the station building and it’s wider access environment planning.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull – Parking for its new North Station – Some observations

Maghull North Station car park

Firstly, like virtually every railway opening/reopening project across the UK the number of people using a new rail facility is always greater than anticipated. In the case of the newish Maghull North Station project the greater than planned for issue is without doubt the size of its car park, which on working weekdays is full by around 8am.

Some of us with long memories and residents who live around the other Maghull Station will say something along the lines ‘we knew this would happen’. The history of Maghull Station’s now pretty large car park is that each time it has been expanded it has always filled up and the consequence has been commuter’s cars being parked on surrounding residential streets. Sefton Council addressed the latter issue by putting a 1hr morning parking restriction on the nearby streets who’s residents voted to have such a restriction. The effect has been to deter all day commuter parking.

So on to Maghull North Station where history is clearly repeating itself it seems. I hear that some residents of the Poppy Fields Estate and the more established nearby residential roads on the other side of the railway line are up for trying to stop commuter parking in their roads. At face value a solution similar to the one used at Maghull Station should be possible in the established roads and that could be surely be undertaken (with prior consultation of course with residents) by Sefton Highways at any time. The Poppy Fields estate presents a different problem though as I’m guessing that none of the roads there are yet adopted by Sefton Council. If this is the case the Council can’t do anything until after the contractor/builder hands over the roads, pavements etc., in a suitable condition, to the Council.

This matter came to mind again now (I’ve mentioned it in previous blog postings about the new station) because I’ve experienced difficulty in parking at Maghull North Station myself at times and it’s also on a regular cycling route of mine so I can see how full the car park is each day. On top of this I’ve read social media posts where folks are expressing frustration with the situation. Finally, the issue came up in a conversation with an old friend of mine, former local Sefton Councillor Cliff Mainey who is now well retired from local politics. I mention Cliff because together with fellow former Sefton Councillor for Sudell Ward, Roy Connell, they worked up (with Sefton’s traffic engineers and residents) the scheme brought in around Maghull Station around 10 years ago.

I suppose the next step for concerned local residents is for them to lobby Sefton Council to take action.

And to close this posting a bit of history which I don’t think needs repeating but I will anyway. One of the major problems is that the two stations north of Maghull North Station have either very little in terms of car parking facilities (Town Green) or nothing (Aughton Park) and this obviously causes folks to drive down to Maghull to try to get a parking space at either of its stations.

Maghull – North Station Foot/Cycle path to Park Ln – Nearly but not quite yet

Following a tip off from a local resident to the effect that contractors working on the Poppy Fields housing estate were in the process of opening up the long- awaited foot/cycle path through to Maghull North Station from Park Lane I went to have a look.

This how things were panning out this morning around 8.30am:-

But the path does not yet connect to the Station as it’s still fenced off near to the Station car Park:-

By the way at 8.30am today there were no spaces available in the Station car park as far as I could tell.

The path was actually laid out when the Ashworth South Site was down to be a new prison but it has remained out of use throughout it’s significant lifetime – some 10 years or more I think.

Well it looks like it may be fully opened up in the not too distant future when landscaping around it has been installed. A long wait indeed but a useful access path for pedestrians and cyclists will soon be with us, I hope.

With thanks to Frank Sharpe for the lead to this posting.

Notes:- (1) There is a dropped kerb at the Park Lane end of the path so it’s easy access for cyclists unlike the supposed level access off School Lane where there’s still no dropped kerb for cyclists into the station.

(2) Fencing issues off School Lane are yet to be resolved – seems there a lack of money.

Maghull – It’s Hornby Town

Maghull Station

Quite some years ago (February 2015 to be precise) I recall standing on Maghull Station with fellow Frank Hornby Trustee Les French, a rep from the Station Volunteers and a chap from Merseytravel. We were talking about making a story board for display on the station linking it to the life and works of world famous toy maker and Maghull’s most famous resident, Frank Hornby. A bit of back tracking on this blog site and I found what I said at the time. Here it is:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/02/02/maghull-promoting-frank-hornby-the-towns-most-famous-resident/

And the reason for mentioning it again now? Well the plan of February 2015 went nowhere for reasons I am not really aware of but it’s been one of those matters that from time to time I’ve promised to resurrect but then failed to follow through. So imagine my delight when I was contacted last week by a lady who’s one of the Station Volunteers and who’s clearly determined that the story board idea will see the light of day.

History board about Moss Side Hospital on the platform of the new Maghull North Station

I met said lady last Monday at the Frank Hornby Heritage Centre, within Meadows Leisure Centre, so she could photograph some of our display items which are normally behind glass. My understanding is that the plan is to put together boards akin to those at the new Maghull North Station which in that case tell the story of the work of the world famous Moss Side Hospital.

My very best wishes for the project, the Frank Hornby Trustees will be very pleased if it comes off this time around.