Maghull Town Council – What the former Labour Leader of the Town Council has said about the running of the Council under Labour!

Only days ago I posted about Labour’s troubles in the Central Sefton Constituency in which Maghull is located. I knew Labour councillors had been at each others throats so to speak but even I was taken aback to read what the Council Leader (until just a few weeks ago) had to say in the Aintree & Maghull Champion newspaper.

The following is a direct quote which I have neither added to nor deleted from under the heading:-

Why I quit as Leader of the Town Council

“Some decisions are being taken within the town council which I feel are mainly in the interests of political expediency.

I more democratic approach would be a better way of doing things

I feel that Maghull Town Council is at present being used to further political careers rather than for what is essentially a parish council’s first priority – which should be the use of taxpayers’ money to help the greatest number of people

As a long-standing Labour party member, I think some councillors appear to hold values which I do not share

I found myself in a position which was intolerable and so felt unable to continue”

Meadows Leisure Centre, Maghull – Just who is supposed to maintain the planted areas around it?

This was a question put to me recently via my involvement with Maghull in Bloom but sadly I had already noticed the weed infested garden areas.

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When I was Leader of Sefton Council I also happened to be the Sefton Council Cabinet member responsible for the construction of the Leisure Centre. Indeed, I led the community campaign to get it built over many years.

My point is this, I distinctly remember agreeing with Maghull Town Council, who own the land on which the Leisure Centre is built and who have leased the land to Sefton Council, that it would continue to maintain all the landscaped areas around Meadows once the contractors maintenance period had ended.

So it’s simple, Maghull Town Council should be maintaining the garden areas just as they are cutting the grass around them. Why this is not happening beats me but as Labour now runs both Maghull and Sefton Councils it is surely not beyond the wit of Labour man or woman to resolve this is it? I have written to the new Leader of Maghull Town Council about this.

Meanwhile whilst the two Councils squabble over who will do it the Maghull in Bloom volunteers are in solution mode as well and they tend to get things done when Councils procrastinate.

Maghull Town Council – 3 more Labour Councillors resign bringing the total to 7 in just 2 years!

Bizarre is about the best description of what has been happening on Maghull Town Council in recent times but with 7 resignations in 2 years, all from the ruling Labour Group, what other comment could you make?

As an opposition member of the Town Council even my mouth was agape when I heard that another 3 had put their cards in on top of the 4 that had already thrown in the towel. What’s more one of the resigning number was the Council Leader until last week’s AGM (and had been Town Mayor just a year ago) and another had been co-opted onto the Council to replace the first of the 7 Labour Councillor to resign.

The really odd part about these resignations is they all signed up to be local councillors for a period of 4 years yet just half way through that term more than 50% of the 13 Labour members have given up and walked away. Of course, I appreciate that councillors resign because they move away, become ill or have to look after someone close to them who is ill but none of the resigning councillors has pointed to such difficulties.

The other interesting fact is that all 3 of the most recent batch to go are locals from Maghull & Lydiate. If it had been the 3 Bootle Sefton Borough Councillors chucking in the towel you could almost understand it as those poor beggars were just making up the numbers when oops they got elected!

But what could the cause of the resignations be? Could they be upset because Labour run Sefton Council is targeting the Green Belt around Maghull for development? Could it be a massive internal fall-out within the Labour Group? Could it be because the Labour Council has been trying to cut things like the yearly Town firework display? Could it be all these things and more? Oh to be a fly on the wall of a Maghull Town Council Labour Group meeting but you would have to duck the flying blood as it hit the walls!

Maghull Town Council – How many Leaders?!

Labour won the election to take over the running of Maghull Town Council in May 2011 by taking 13 of the 16 seats – we Lib Dems taking the other 3.

Labour’s problem was that it was pretty obvious from the start that they had not expected to take control of the Council and many of them did not want to be Maghull councillors. One came from Crosby, two from Aintree and 3 were and still are Bootle Labour Borough Councillors – all 6 were clearly making up the numbers on the Labour slate rather than being dedicated to the Maghull community.

Since then 4 Labour members (the one from Crosby, the 2 from Aintree and more surprisingly one from Maghull), a quarter of the Council, have resigned and been replaced by 4 new Labour councillors. The first one was via the dodgiest co-option, in my view, you are ever likely to come across and other 3 via by-elections forced upon the ruling party by the opposition.

Also since May 2011 the Town Council has had 4, yes 4, Leaders of the Council. First we had Maurice Byrne, then Caroline Esterson (wife of Sefton Central MP Bill), then Sandra Williams and just last week Patrick McKinley was elected as Leader. This is quite some turn-over and must point to difficulties within the ruling Party. Indeed, the 3rd Leader who only left office at the AGM is not now a chair or vice chair of any committee and she is not replying to my correspondence about FOI requests that seem to be being improperly politically interfered with.

The word on the streets is that the ruling Labour Group is still far from being a happy bunch of campers and that further resignations can’t be ruled out according to my sources.

I don’t think any of us will be surprised if there are more internal ‘difficulties’ within the ruling political group.

Above is how I finished the draft a few days ago but before I published the posting word reached me of another 3 Labour councillors resigning including the last Leader of the Council! More to follow on that I think.

Carla Lane Animals in Need, Melling – Issue of fundraising stall at Maghull Square

I was not able to attend the meeting of Maghull Town Council yesterday evening but as this highly popular local animal charity was proposing to lobby the Council at the meeting I put together the briefing note below for the rest of the Council.

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Dear Council members and Animals Need representatives,

As I will not be at the Maghull TC meeting tomorrow evening when the charity is attending to ask for the Town Council’s support in their fight to continue to hold their fund raising stall somewhere in Maghull’s shopping centre I have put this short note together because I have been trying to help the charity in their hour of need.

When I became aware that the owners (Maghull Group) of the northern side of Maghull’s shopping centre had in effect given the charity notice to quit I lobbied the company to see if I could get them to reconsider. They made it clear that their mind was made up and they would not be allowing the charity to pitch their stall on Maghull Group land in future.

I then spoke a number of times to Margaret Brady of the charity, Jerry McConkey (a Highways Officer at Sefton Council), Alex Scott (a Neighbourhoods Officer at Sefton Council) and passed on the contact details to Margaret Brady of the owners of the southern side of the shopping centre (London and Cambridge Properties).

My hope was that either Sefton would allow the charity to pitch their stall on Sefton Council owned land or that London and Cambridge Properties would.

Sefton were not unsympathetic but then it became clear that any application to pitch a stall on public land on the northern side of the shopping centre (i.e. northern side of Westway) would be objected to by Mason Owen the agents for the Maghull Group. On that basis Sefton via Jerry told me and the charity that if they applied for permission it would in all likelihood be refused due to the anticipated objections from Mason Owen.

After a lot of discussions it became clear to me that the only way forward would be for the charity to make the formal application and then try to appeal against the expected refusal. I think any appeal would need to go via the appropriate Sefton Cabinet member i.e. Cllr. John Fairclough and I have sent a note to John recently telling him to expect the charity to make contact with him. I have not heard back from him as yet.

The last I heard London and Cambridge Properties had not responded to the charity in terms of whether they would allow it to pitch a stall on their land but if there has been any movement here I am sure the charity will update the Council.

I think we all know how well supported this animal charity is and how devastated their supporters are by the recent turn of events. My hope is that the Council will back the charity and try to put pressure on the Maghull Group, Sefton Council and London and Cambridge Properties in an attempt to try to find them a suitable fund raising pitch for their stall.

Best wishes
Cllr. Tony Robertson – 28th May 2013

That Maghull boundary sign yet again!!!

Now this can challenge your will to live as readers of my previous postings on the subject will realise.

I really did think I had found the obvious solution after months of wrangling and procrastination i.e. to add the Maghull boundary sign on the two posts that already exist in the photo below. Then the Maghull in Bloom volunteers could reinstate one of their flower troughs which they place on all the Town’s boundary signs.

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BUT………….. then I am told that Maghull Town Council has told the Maghull in Bloom volunteers that Sefton Borough Council has objected to the plan on the basis that folks will walk into the sign and possibly injure themselves!!!!! The fact that the poles are within a shrubbery area where pedestrians don’t walk would seem to have passed someone by.

So, I am back on the case yet again seeking explanations and trying to get this ridiculous farce sorted out. If anyone is going to bang their head on something it is probably me in utter frustration following months of being mucked about by Councils who should have resolved this problem without all this carry on!