Maghull Square – What’s going on?

media.rightmove.co.uk/130k/129391/59420108/129391_13to14CentralSquareMaghullLPQ_DOC_02_0000.pdf

The link above to an on-line property brochure for Maghull Square is interesting although it must predate HSBC closing obviously.

If I had a £1 for every time someone has asked me where Home Bargains are moving to I really would be retiring on a good pension. This seems to be an issue that people really want an answer to.

From this brochure it looks like one of the new units that is presently being built in the left hand corner of the Square. BUT persistent rumours say that this is no longer the case and that Home Bargains are going to the new retail building under construction on the site of the old Maghull Library/Stafford Moreton Youth Centre. And others are even speculating on Home Bargains not moving at all but just expanding into the former HSBC unit next door since that bank recently pulled out of Maghull.

Which option is right? Well as the staff who work in Home Bargains Maghull branch don’t seem to know then it seems the guessing game will be doing the rounds for a while yet.

What’s also interesting in the on-line brochure is the cost of a retail unit in the Square. Goodness me these figures must be well out of reach for many a small business. They may not be out of line with other similar retail areas but where does a small business get that sort of money each year?

I recall when the Square had many independent business in the 60’s and 70’s but now it is dominated by regional and national outfits. Times they are a changing.

With thanks to John for the lead to this story

Maghull – Work actually starting to revamp Square shopping centre!

This is Maghull Square in the 1970's but the buildings are still as was in 2016. It was built in the 1960's. Photographer unknown.

This is Maghull Square in the 1970’s but the buildings are still as was in 2016. It was built in the 1960’s. Photographer unknown.

I suppose shock is the first word that comes to mind after years and years of promises, planning applications and false dawns it seems the latest owners of the Square are starting work on it. My last posting on this subject dated 7th September this year refers:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/09/07/maghull-big-changes-at-the-square-shopping-centre/

Work has indeed already started and a shop unit is opening this week, I am told, to promote the work that is planned. It looks like the works will take until next April.

How it will impact on shoppers, businesses and the car parks I don’t yet know.

Maghull Square in more recent times

Goodness me I hope this is going to be a big impact job as Maghull’s down at heel shopping centre desperately needs it. It looks the same now as when it was built in the 1960’s! It’s only been the efforts of the Maghull in Bloom volunteers that have kept it looking almost decent in recent years.

Contractor's machinery at the rear of the Square 31st October.

Contractor’s machinery at the rear of the Square 31st October.

I wonder if the new owners have twigged how cheesed off locals are with their declining shopping centre? But if they monitor Facebook they must know that expectations are high and patience is getting very low indeed. Let’s hope for some positive outcomes!

Maghull in Bloom – Barrier planters get winter flowers

The close up view of the winter planting.

The close up view of the winter planting.

Maghull in Bloom volunteers have replanted the barrier planters that sit on the pedestrian barriers all along Maghull’s Westway which cuts through the Town’s shopping centre.

The long view down Westway looking from the Leighton Ave junction towards the A59 Northway.

The long view down Westway looking from the Leighton Ave junction towards the A59 Northway.

Sheila and I were not able to assist on this occasion so our thanks to the volunteers who did such a splendid job.

Maghull – Big changes at The Square Shopping Centre

Oh, how many times have Maghull residents heard that in recent years and how many times has less than nothing positive happened at all?

The positive news – should it actually happen

I heard today that Home Bargains is moving into the Square on left hand side past Martins newsagents in 3 or more units that will be knocked into one large shop. The present Home & Bargains shop will become a Specsavers and a Holland & Barrett. This supposed to happen within a timescale 12 to 18 months, I am told.

The bad news – it will happen

HSBC are pulling out of Maghull in December and interestingly their unit is right next to the present Home & Bargains Store.

I think it fair to say that locals have got well past the point of believing anyone who promises a refurb/revamp for the run down Square, such promises have been made before and come to nothing.

Indeed, I heard someone the other day speculate on whether the property was in managed decline. We all hope not and that the new(ish) owners of the Square will really make it a place locals want to shop at.

Maghull Square Shopping Centre – It’s not well thought of!

I got involved in some Facebook exchanges yesterday with folks who are concerned about the state of Maghull’s Shopping Centre, at least that part of it to the north of Westway.

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

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

It certainly is run down now despite the valiant efforts of the Maghull in Bloom volunteers whom Sheila and I have recently joined.

I suppose there are two major issues – the quality and diversity of the shops and the condition of buildings and car parks.

Around the back of the ‘Square’ and the rear of the shops along Westway the car parks are rutted and the backs of the shop units look very neglected. What’s more the flats above the shops (which are accessed from the rear car parks) are let out and those living in them deserve a better outlook and much improved maintenance.

The previous owners (The Maghull Group) did have plans for major refurbishments and rebuilding and I recall that they got planning permission for that work. Trouble is they then ran into the recession caused by our dodgy bankers and politicians who spent more than we had. So, no progress was made despite great optimism at the time the upgrading was being promoted a few years ago.

Now things have deteriorated further and the property has been sold on. The challenge for the new owners is to breath some life into the Square before it slides any further. That may not be an easy task but it is certainly becoming an urgent one.

The new managing agents are London and Cambridge Properties. They also have a big property interest the other side of the shopping centre south of Westway (the more modern ‘Morrisons’ side) so it would seem to be in their interests to get the whole of it pointing in the right direction sooner than later so to speak.

Netto store for Maghull – well it seems so

Well Morrisons must be sighing with a little bit of relief as it’s a Netto store that it is likely to have as a neighbour. The nightmare Aldi alternative (as surely it would have seen Morrisons off?) seems not to be a runner if the recent planning application to Sefton Council is anything to go by for the old Maghull Library/Stafford Moreton Youth Centre site.

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The site is at the junction of Stafford Moreton Way and Liverpool Road North and presently looks like this:-

The former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and old Maghull Library in the heart of Maghull's shopping area.

The former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and old Maghull Library in the heart of Maghull’s shopping area.

The Scandinavian Netto is now a part of the Sainsburys Group of companies.

Here’s a link to the planning application before Sefton Council:-

pa.sefton.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=NXYY1VNWHLI00

This is of course the very same site that Maghull’s Labour Councillors bizarrely invited folks to say what they wanted it to be used for, when only the following day Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet sold the site off, ignoring their fellow ‘comrades’ completely! My previous postings of a couple of weeks ago refer.