Maghull – Totems get art-worked on Cheshire Lines Path

I came across these rather lovely art-worked totems on the Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail behind Sefton Drive on one of my bike rides the other day:-

The totems have been there for some time and I’m guessing that they have been painted up by the same volunteers who installed them. Very nice.

The 2nd photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/49053830736/in/dateposted/

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.

River Alt – Everything drains into around these parts

Following all the heavy rain of recent days it’s sadly no surprise that the River Alt is struggling to to deal with all the water flowing into it from the land and other drainage brooks, streams and ditches. In turn this means flood alerts for parts of Maghull as the river water rises.

The first shot below was taken yesterday from the aqueduct which takes the Leeds Liverpool Canal over the Alt near to Aintree Village:-

Just back towards Melling there’s a runoff for the canal to keep it’s levels down and I could see it was in use. I’m guessing that this runoff also goes, eventually, into the River Alt.

The second shot below was also taken yesterday where the A59 (Northway) crosses the Alt in Maghull:-

Then we move on to today and the consequential flooding of Sefton Lane/Bridges Lane on the Maghull/Sefton Village boundary. Here the Alt flows under Bridges Lane and this is how it looks:-

At face value the river looks to be coping until you move a little further east along Bridge Lane to where Dovers Brook is crossed by Bridges Ln/Sefton Ln. It looks like this:-

The first shot is looking north with the adjacent houses on Sefton Lane* clearly visible. The second shot looks like the Dovers Brook has been halted by a stone wall but in fact it’s the bridge under Sefton Ln where the arch of it has been covered by the floodwaters. The houses here are being affected as is sadly often the case when Dovers Brook backs up.

My understanding is that the Alt being so high stops Dovers Brook from emptying into it, hence the backing up. Although there’s nothing new about this problem (I recall Sefton Ln flooding here when I was a lad living on the Lane in the 1960’s /1970’s) it’s all the more frustrating that after many years the problem has not been resolved. You have to feel for the residents of this isolated row of houses and elsewhere along Dovers Brook when it over-tops.

With more rain anticipated tomorrow, well I don’t need to say any more do I………

*Sefton Ln/Bridges Ln has already been closed during the present foul weather although it was passable this afternoon. However, this is what it looked like in December 2015 when the section of road between Dovers Brook and the River Alt was a river in itself:-

A flooded Bridges Lane between Dovers Brook and the River Alt – when it all got too much in December 2015

Thomas Cook – It’s why I’m a Nottinghamshire ‘exile’ living on Merseyside

The fact that I live on Merseyside is down to Thomas Cook. I’m a Nottinghamshire born lad but left my Notts mining community of Kirkby-in-Ashfield at the age of 6 and headed for Rochdale. Then at the age of 10 I left the home of the Rochdale Pioneers and wandered due west to Maghull on the outskirts of Liverpool. These moves were in effect organised by Thomas Cook, not as holiday trips of course but as a consequence of my Dad working for this famous travel agency.

This is dad (George William Robertson) back in 1957 at work in Thomas Cook Nottingham

Dad first worked for them at their shop in Nottingham, which if memory serves was originally a Dean & Dawson, and our family move to Rochdale followed him getting his first shop to manage in the Town’s Drake Street. We stayed in Rochdale for 4 years until he gained a bigger shop to manage in Liverpool’s Lord Street. That move brought us to live in Maghull where both Mum and Dad died in retirement in 2008 & 2009 respectively.

The last shop Dad managed was in Lord Street Southport so no further move of house was required and he retired from that Southport shop around 1991 if memory serves.

Watching Thomas Cook go under in the past few days I have wondered what Dad would have thought? Thinking back to the odd thing that he said about the company I seem to recall that he felt the company lost its way when it was sold to HSBC many years ago.