M58 and the vast Maghull East Urban Extension Site
The BBC has an interesting article on its web site about car dependency which is built-in to modern housing estates – see link below:-
Having read the piece above, by Roger Harrabin, I immediately thought of the vast urban extension which is planned for the Maghull East site because surely it will become yet another one to add to the list of almost complete car dependency will it not?
I’ve mainly opposed the building of Maghull’s urban extension on environmental and food supply grounds because the land which it is to swallow up is pretty much all of the highest grades of agricultural land that grows our food. However, the piece on the BBC web site raises an altogether different perspective but one which is clearly related to environmental issues too.
Should we be building vast new communities in 2018 and beyond which are effectively car dependent? Surely not. Yes I know Maghull has just had its 2nd railway station constructed in the same geographical area but as its car park is already full before a brick is laid for Maghull’s urban extension will the new home owners simply drive to wherever they work? Well yes in the main that’s exactly what they will do. For that not to be the case the new 1600 houses would need an intensive circular bus services (not one that lasts for just a short period after the houses are built) on at least a 15 minute frequency that matches the train times. Is such an intensive bus service going to be brought in and maintained for years to come with environmentally friendly electric buses? I bet it’s not.
But seriously it is such considerations that need to be built into the planning process of all significant house building projects if we are serious about reducing car dependence and the environmental pollution that goes with it not to mention the hours we all spend in traffic jams.
Taking this train of thought a stage further (and train is the important word here) we will in the not too distant future need Merseyrail to operate on say a 5 minute frequency (as opposed to its 15 one presently). We will also need many more electric circular buses serving Maghull’s 2 railway stations – only then will we be able to turn the tide against the car which we all have become servants to because we are really crap at designing communities in which we can work, live and play without each needing to have an expensive polluting tin can to get us about.
And no I’m not having a go at local politicians for this state of affairs, it’s a problem brought about by successive governments of all colours failing to integrate housing, planning, environmental and transportation policy in a coherent way as we stare down the gun barrel of global warming. Oh and this conundrum is being faced by virtually every urban community.
I’ve raised this issue a few times recently as back when the Poppy Fields housing estate site was down to be a new prison there was, along with the new Maghull North Station, an access path to be constructed right through to Park Lane. The path was brought into the the design of the site so to provide easier access to the new station for residents in the Park Lane area.
Here’s part of the access path looking towards Park Lane from Maghull North Station car park. Like Goldcrest Road it was constructed as part of the initial works for the prison that was cancelled.
My concern and indeed that of others has been that whilst the new station has been completed there’s no sign of the path being completed and opened up. This led me to chase up Merseytravel and Sefton Council and I now have what looks like some good news. This statement is from Sefton Council Highways Dept:-
I can confirm that I have persuaded Persimmon Homes to incorporate this footpath within their formal s38 Highways Act 1980 submission for the roads and footpath to be put forward to the Council for formal adoption. They will in turn become highways maintainable at public expense.
My thanks to Sefton Highways for chasing this matter through and gaining a good end result. It will just be a question of time now before the footpath/cycle path is completed and opened up for public use. That timescale is presently unknown and is down, I understand, to the phasing of the house builder’s works on the Poppy Fields site.
Hope that helps? Oh and BTW Sefton Highways have also agreed to take up the issue of the requested dropped kerb (for cyclists) onto School Lane where the recently opened level access to the new station reaches the pavement.
Readers of this blog site will recall how disappointed I was when the railway powers that be refused to acknowledge (in the name of the new Maghull North Station) the part the former Moss Side Hospital had played in the treatment of Shell Shock during and after WW1. Indeed, that disappointment was felt across a large number of campaigners as we wanted the station named ‘Maghull Moss Side’ because it sits on the site of the former hospital as does the new Poppy Fields housing estate.
View of platforms at Maghull North Station
My blog posting of December 2015 refers:- tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/12/07/maghull-name-new-station-maghull-moss-side/
We may have lost that particular battle but things have moved on in a far more positive way since and users of the new station will probably have seen the display boards that have been erected on the station’s platforms detailing the history we all wanted recognised. Here’s a photo of one of the boards:-
Now Maghull Town Council has stepped in and is to provide a piece of public artwork for display at the station. Details of the artwork can be found, via the link below, to the planning application documents recently submitted to Sefton Council (look at the Design & Access Statement):-
Local history is important in any community but in Maghull, which is world famous for 3 things, it is vital that the past is not forgotten. And the 3 things? This issue of course because of the pioneering medical work into trauma, the fact that Maghull had one of the first ever epileptic colonies (The Maghull Homes) and finally because it was the home of world famous toy maker Frank Hornby of Meccano, Dinky Toys and Hornby Model Railways fame. Who’d have thought that a town, which many think is just a post 2nd World War suburb of Liverpool, had such a history!
With thanks to Nigel for the lead to this posting.
Click on the photos to enlarge them
Well we’ve waited for 3 months but finally level access to Maghull’s new North Station has been provided off School Lane and it was open yesterday:-
Still no dropped kerb for cyclists though, so they can access the path, so time to put some pressure on Sefton Council to get that work done. And surely the bill should be paid by Merseytravel, should it not? This is the offending kerb:-
More news when I get it.
Well the pressure finally brought about some action and work is proceeding – This is how things looked earlier today:-
But who will provide the dropped kerb to enable cyclists to access the station off School Lane? Oh no, let’s hope it not another case of here we go again; let’s guess the likely responses:-
It was not considered as part of the new station build project
It’s Merseytravel’s/Merseyrail’s/Sefton Council’s/Persimmon’s/Network Rail’s responsibility
Sefton Council will provide a dropped kerb if someone else pays for it
There’s no money and its not going to happen
Common sense will prevail and someone in authority will get it done ASAP
Take your pick but don’t hold your breath because I’m beginning to think that too many things about this new station project were not thought about/planned for.
PS. I’m still awaiting some firm information about the proposed foot/cycle path through to the station from Park Lane i.e. is it going to happen and if so when?
Maghull North Station car park
Well firstly the car park seems to be too small already and the station’s been open less than 3 months! It was full on Monday 3rd September at 2.30pm and I only got a space because a car left whilst I was in the car park. I hear that others have had similar experiences.
View of Liverpool bound platform at Maghull North Station
Secondly, there’s only one passenger shelter on the busy Liverpool bound platform and it is open to the elements so to speak. I have the feeling that this new station may well be unwelcoming in poor cold weather conditions. Did the budget not stretch to a enclosed heated shelter for the winter months I wonder?
The level access point off School Lane that still needs sorting out.
Really pleased that others have joined the campaign to try to push Persimmon Homes to get a trot on in finishing their works so that there’s a level access point to the new station for those who can’t manage the flight of steps off School Lane (see photo above). But really this should all have been sorted before the first train stopped at the new station. We are promised early action, so let’s hope Persimmon do get on board.
And what about the originally promised access path through from Park Lane (see photo above) to the station? I’ve heard differing perspectives on this. One saying it won’t now happen due to the lack of a pavement on the side of Park Lane which the footpath would come out on. Another perspective that it simply depends on Persimmon finishing off their works. Which is correct? I’m on the case so to speak.
Maghull North Station bus stops on School Lane
And finally, I was asked recently why the 31 circular bus which serves Lydiate and parts of Maghull does not go to the new station? I raised this very point with Merseytravel way back and if I recall correctly their response was that they were not planning on any circular bus changes in the Maghull/Lydiate area at least until the new station had bedded in, or words to that effect. Well it’s been up and running for nearly 3 months now so when will the review of local buses take place? Ball firmly in Merseytravel’s court me thinks.