Maghull – 2 parks come BACK under Town Council control, but how will they generate income and why all this talk about developing/building on them?

Old Hall Park, Maghull

I scratched my head quite a bit when I read an article in the Aintree and Maghull Champion dated 23rd May headed ‘All parks now back under control of town council’

Firstly, the parks concerned Old Hall Park and Bobbies Wood had originally been taken from Sefton Council by the Town Council quite a number of years ago but then the Labour-run Town Council decided to give them back to the Labour-run Borough Council. Now they have reversed that decision and once again taken them back under control of the Town Council. Of course this begs the question why give them back only to take them back again?

Wild flowers in Bobby’s Wood a few years ago (junction of A59 and L’pool Rd Sth) in Maghull.

Secondly, the article informed Maghull residents that ‘these sites will be development-free’. What on earth does that mean? No one other than the Labour Party has talked about local parks being developed and as both Sefton Council and Maghull Town Council are Labour run are we being told that parks run by Labour Sefton will be/may be developed but parks run by Labour Maghull TC will not be? In other words is one municipal arm of Labour pro-building on parks and one anti building on parks?

Thirdly, what does the phrase ‘will generate much needed revenue for the council between 2018-21’ mean? Are we talking revenue for Sefton Council or revenue for Maghull Town Council? And how will these parks generate revenue anyway?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m quite happy that the parks are back under the Town Council’s control, after all when I was a Maghull resident and councillor I arranged for them to be transferred to the Town Council the first time. But all this Labour talk about parks being vulnerable to development in Sefton Borough really is a worry. Of course Labour-run Knowsley Council has already gone down the route of allocating parks for building land so is that what Labour-run Sefton are also considering? This needs flushing out as does how the parks that are safe from building on (the ones run by Parish Councils?) going to be used to ‘generate much needed income’.

Far more questions than answers but Labour must surely have the answers?

Maghull – Audrey Beattie – Sorry you’re leaving

Audrey Beattie has been well known face across Maghull for many a year now having lived in in the Town since the 1960’s firstly in Pimbley Grove West and in more recent times at Mayhall Court on Westway. She worked for quite a number of years at the Maghull Homes (now Parkhaven Trust) at both the Kiffin Taylor and Alexander Homes.

She has served as a Maghull Town Councillor and her son Andrew Beattie was both a Town and Borough Councillor (and indeed Town Mayor in 1996/97) who sadly died suddenly in 1999. Audrey has been a regular attender at St. Peter’s Church in Moorhey Road and with the Focus Group at Maghull Baptist Church

Now in her 80’s Andrey is moving to Cleveleys to be nearer to her daughter Alison.

I first got to know Audrey when I was around 12 years of age and she was a tough lady indeed. Any teenagers larking around could expect her to stand no messing. I still expect her to shoot first and ask questions later so to speak. My abiding memory of Audrey is that she is not someone to suffer fools gladly and we came up with a phrase that we thought summed her up when she was a councillor. The phrase? – Audrey has just given so and so a good hand-bagging. I think I may have been on the end of a few of them myself:-)

We will miss you Audrey – good luck for many more happy years in Cleveleys.

With thanks to Andrew Blackburn for his help with this posting and providing the photograph

Maghull – Des Carter former Clerk to Town Council has passed away

Des Carter was Clerk to Maghull Town Council for around 7 years if memory serves. He retired in 1995 but lived in Maghull until he died.

Des was without doubt one of the nicest people I have ever met. He was old school and always wore a business suit and tie at work. He was a highly qualified accountant who came to work for the Town Council when financially it was in a right old mess. He sorted all that out working with a councillor of that time called Merrick Stott, who was a retired bank manager. Merrick also died earlier this year and his obituary can be found on this blog site.

After Des retired and Merrick stood down from the Council the pair became good friends and ended up living within a quarter of a mile of each other in Maghull.

Des was the Town Clerk when the Council opened its innovative Youth Coffee Bar in Maghull Town Hall and he is pictured here with others on the opening night in November 1994:-

Des is on the left side of this photo with Town Mayor of the time Cllr. Bruce Hubbard.

On one occasion I went to London with Des for a parish councils conference. We stayed overnight and went to see a play called ‘The Woman in Black’ in the evening. It was memorable because unknown to us there was a speaker under my seat and at the appropriate time a blood curdling scream came from it which nearly put Des and I on the ceiling we were so surprised.

I have no doubt that we have lost a good and decent public servant. In Andrew Blackburn’s words ‘he was a gentle man’ – RIP Des Carter

Notes – Please click on the photo to enlarge it

His funeral is at St. Andrew’s Church Maghull at 2.30pm on Wednesday 30th May – Unfortunately I can’t be there

The people in the photograph are from left to right, Des Carter – Town Clerk and Councillors Bruce Hubbard, Bill Chambers, Jim Byrne, Tony Robertson, Dot Wilson, Roy Connell, John Butterworth, Sheila Nelson, Audrey Beattie and Andrew Blackburn

With thanks to Andrew Blackburn for his help with this sad posting and providing the photograph

Maghull – Car parking ‘disagreement’ between Councils over Meadows Leisure Centre

I’m hearing that Maghull TC and Sefton MBC are tussling once again over the issue of car parking spaces around the Leisure Centre and Town Hall.

If this is indeed the case it is yet another chapter in a very long running saga as the success of the Leisure Centre has always meant that the car parking provision, as originally planned for back in 2010 when the Centre opened, is inadequate.

Maghull’s KGV Park and Meadows Leisure Centre

When I led the campaign for the Leisure Centre to be built I always had a feeling that it would take off but even I have been surprised by how many locals from the East Parishes part of Sefton Borough have been using it. The consequence of this success is the lack of car parking spaces.

Sefton allocated money a few years a back to enlarge the car park but at Maghull TC’s request this ‘offer’ was withdrawn. Now I hear that Sefton has once again put up money but that Maghull TC is still not supportive. As Maghull TC owns the land (KGV Park) then stalemate has been reached again.

The dilemma is of course green-space/parkland V car parking spaces. But if the matter is not successfully resolved then there are of course other consequences. Those consequences are:-

* Grid-lock in the car parks surrounding the Leisure Centre and Town Hall (I’ve been in one!)
* Parking in surrounding residential roads – L’pool Rd Sth, Northway Service Road
* Users of facilities at the Leisure Centre/Town Hall going elsewhere because of lack of car parking

There’s no easy answers but which Council will blink first in this battle of grass V cars?

Maghull – An odd story about the Town’s Neighbourhood Plan

I read the story in this week’s Aintree and Maghull Champion whilst doing a fair of scratching my head because it just seemed so odd.

The article talked about Maghull’s Neighbourhood Plan as being ‘launched’ and for all the world the article read as though the process of compiling the plan has been completed.

BUT, like all other Neighbourhood Plans, it needs to go before a Planning Inspector and be subject to a referendum of Maghull’s electors before it’s a done deal, yet nothing of this was mentioned.

Now don’t get me wrong the newspaper could not possibly know all the ins and outs of Neighbourhood Planning processes so must have been going on what they had been told by Maghull Town Council I guess.

So the bottom line is that the Maghull Neighbourhood plan can’t possibly have been ‘launched’ and the best that can be said is that it has reached another stage in an ongoing and lengthy process.

Maghull – Cheering on the new police station? No, remembering what we lost to rehouse the police!

The former Maghull Police Station in Westway, Maghull.

My letter to the Champion newspaper in response to all the cheering about the Town’s new Police Station

Dear Sir,

So Maghull has a brand new police station within Maghull Town Hall, but please forgive me if I don’t join in the cheering of Maghull Town Council and the local MP.

You see the Town lost a youth facility and a CAB help point to make way for the police to move into the Town Hall from Maghull Square.

Sorry I don’t see Maghull and district’s policing benefiting except that they will have lower overheads in their new premises. But where and when will the CAB facility be rehoused locally, many months after it was closed down in the Town Hall? And where are the youngsters now going that used to use the Youth facility?

This is at best a 2 – 1 defeat i.e. CAB and youth out – police in. You could even argue that it’s 3 – nil defeat as the police already had a home in Maghull and they were originally said to be downsizing to a shop unit.

I despair I really do.

Tony Robertson