Melling Canal Breach – This morning’s photos

Having been down to have a look at the Leeds Liverpool canal breach in Melling this morning it looks to be of a similar nature to the 1995 breach on the boundary between Maghull & Lydiate i.e. the canal may well have broken through into a culvert that crosses underneath it. Here’s the latest photos, including one of a very unfortunate narrow boat caught near to the breach point:-

dam built by Canal and River Trust at Holmes swing bridge. From here the canal is in water through Maghull, Lydiate and northwards

A canal with virtually no water in it from Holmes swing bridge through Aintree towards Liverpool.

A sadly marooned narrow boat quite near to the breach site.

The breach point in the Waddicar part of Melling

The breach happened yesterday evening according to Merseyside Fire and Rescue.

Melling – Canal Culvert Collapse

Ongoing developing incident in Melling regarding a Leeds Liverpool Canal breach

www.merseyfire.gov.uk/aspx/pages/Incidents/IncidentDetail.aspx?id=8674

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service have the details on their web page – see link above

I’ve seen some video footage of water flooding surrounding fields on the Aintree Village Community Page of Facebook.

Melling – Opposition to Green Belt planning application for Spurriers Lane site grows

I blogged about the controversial planning application for a permanent travellers site off Melling’s Spurriers Lane recently. Here’s a link to that posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/06/04/melling-spuriers-lane-a-single-track-backwater-but/

I have subsequently been asked by a Melling resident for my advice and opinion on the development. These are the points I made in response:-

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* I oppose farmland being used for other purposes and I fought against the Sefton Local Plan because it allows this very thing to happen (on the sites taken out of the Green Belt).

* I’m guessing that you will have got the 3 Molyneux ward Sefton Councillors on board as they will be crucial in lobbying their fellow Sefton Councillors, who sit on the Planning Committee, to oppose the application. None of the Molyneux ward members are on the Planning Committee as far as I can see so they should be free to express a view. Planning Committee members can’t say what they think about a plan before the meeting it is discussed at. If they do, it is called pre-determination and it precludes them from voting on it.

* My personal view is that the planning application is not consistent with the new Sefton Local Plan as the site is within Green Belt and a change of use from farmland is an inappropriate use of the land.

* I know how nice the Spurriers Lane area is as I represented Melling on Sefton Council until 2011, although it suffers terribly from huge amounts of fly-tipping particularly the bit of it in West Lancs which is called Outlet Lane.

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Obviously I’m just a Lydiate Parish Councillor these days so my opinion on this Melling matter will be of little interest to the Planning Committee of Sefton Council but as a matter of principle I always try to defend Green Belt land from development.

Separately, I’ve also contributed to a thread on the Maghull Community Page of Facebook where one of the objecting campaigners was calling for those speaking at public meetings about the application to stick to the Green Belt issue and not to get carried away with the emotional issues surrounding the application. This was the advice I added:-

Sound advice Charlotte and the same will more importantly apply when petition/s are presented and spoken to at Sefton Council’s Planning Committee. The only things that will be taken notice of by the Planning Committee are Planning related matters of policy/guidance. I know as a former Sefton Councillor who sat on the Planning Committee that matters like this can be highly emotional but it is important to remain focused on grounds for objection that relate to Planning law, policy, the Sefton Local Plan etc. Best of luck.

Planning is a legal-type process so any comments not related to planning law and policy should automatically not be taken into account. I recall seeing controversial planning applications being opposed at Sefton’s Planning Committee in the past where those speaking concentrated on getting things off their chests rather then sticking to grounds of opposition related to planning law and policy. The speakers may have felt better for getting things off their chests but sometimes they were not actually having much influence the decision making process.

I have always felt that residents, who rarely come across Planning issues, are at a big disadvantage as they not only have a limited amount of time to get their concerns over to the Planning Dept. (of any council) but they also have to get their heads around a quasi-judicial process steeped in jargon, law, policy and the like.

Melling – Spuriers Lane a single track backwater BUT……

Spurriers Lane has to date been known for one good thing (the Carla Lane Animals in Need Sanctuary – see 1st photo below) and one bad thing (it suffers from huge amounts of fly-tipping* – see 2nd photo below) but are things going to change in an even more controversial way because of a planning application before Sefton Council’s planning Committee for a travellers permanent site?

I understand that the planning application is going to be discussed in public at a meeting of Melling Parish Council on Tuesday 12th June at 7.30pm in Melling Primary School.

Here’s a link to the planning application on Sefton Council’s web site:-

pa.sefton.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=P854SXNWMSW00

Strong feelings are being expressed on the Maghull Community FB Page and like it or not such applications are always hugely controversial in any community.

*Note. Spurriers Lane runs out of Melling Civil Parish into West Lancashire and it is known as Outlet Lane in Simonswood Parish, West Lancs.

And here is a link to a Liverpool Echo article on the matter:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/fury-plans-set-up-permanent-14742828

Melling – That knotty public transport problem

Having spent 12 years representing Melling on Sefton Council (up until 2011) I’m well aware of its worsening public transport options over a long period now. The knotty problem has been withdrawal/reduction of bus services, which is in no way unique to Melling but has had a significant and detrimental impact on this predominately rural community.

One part of Melling that could do with a positive public transport move in the right direction is that along Prescot Road from the Pear Tree Pub to wards Maghull – it presently just has an hourly 133 bus. It’s been suggested that with the opening of the New Maghull North North railway station there’s an opportunity to provide a regular connecting/circular bus service which could serve the rural parts of Melling. Possibly this could be done by amending/extending the run of one of the present circular bus services that covers Maghull/Lydiate?

This sounds like an idea that’s worth pursuing to me so I’m hoping that Merseytravel will at least try to see if such a move can be seriously investigated/trialed. I’m happy to add my voice to those calling for a better bus service for Melling.

Maghull to Kirkby via Melling – A cycle path for Prescot Road/School Lane?

Well it seems so as Sefton and Knowsley Councils are planning to construct one.

It will effectively run from the site of the new Maghull North railway station, over the Ashworth Junction of the M58 (where there’s already a short section of cycle path taking cyclists around the busy motorway junction) and on down Prescot Road towards Kirkby. The photo below shows the end of the present cycle path as you go around the junction heading towards Melling Mount:-

Sefton and Knowsley Councils are still developing proposals for the cycle track but the project has funding secured. Construction is scheduled for 2020 as I understand it. However, construction of the first section adjacent to the junction will take place soon as part of the contract to build the new westerly slip roads to the M58 junction. This move should alleviate the cyclists problem on the Kirkby side of the junction which I have previously identified.

I’m also told that on the Maghull side of the motorway junction, there will be a requirement on the developer/s of the proposed business park and housing development to continue the cycle path across the whole of the north of the site alongside School Lane. What is being referred to here is Maghull’s urban extension on the Maghull East site. The map below may assist in understanding the geography of what i an blogging about:-

The large red area is the ‘Maghull East’ urban extension. The M58 Junction 1 is in grey – with Prescot Road running north to south on the right of the map. School Lane runs across the northerly edge of red area. The yellow area is the presently being constructed Poppy Fields, Pavilions housing developments and new station site

More news when I have it.