Work continues apace with the construction of Merseyrail’s new Maghull North Station with the station building itself start to rise from the ground. The photo below illustrates the situation on Monday 05th February:-
Click on the photo to enlarge it
Behind the station the progress of house building on the Poppy Fields/Ashworth South site can also be clearly seen. This was the site of the former Moss Side Hospital which became world famous for its treatment of shell-shock sufferers during WW1.
The construction site on 11th November
I have covered the planning and construction phases of the new Maghull North Station many times before on this blog site.
Sadly, within weeks of the construction starting there was conflict between the work the contractors were doing and the nearby residents living in Mersey Avenue. Noise, intrusive lighting, night working and the lack of consultation/communication with residents over the detail of the build process were the major issues.
Action was promised to residents and Independent Sefton Cllr. Matt Gannon who lives nearby himself and represents the residents. From this the 1st of a promised two weekly edition of newsletters has been delivered to residents living around the construction site. Here’s a scan of that 1st edition:-
Has the process that has now been put in place and the issues that have been addressed met resident concerns sufficiently? Time will tell.
Please click on the scanned newsletter above to be able to read it
I have been keeping an eye on the progress of these two adjacent developments off Maghull’s School Lane and here are are some photos of things as they were on 11th November.
Station platforms beginning to emerge
Almost completed houses on ‘Poppy Fields’, the former site of Moss Side Hospital and subsequently Ashworth South Hospital
Looking over the recently created rainwater collection pond (Sustainable Urban Drainage or SuD in drainage engineer’s speak). School Lane is behind the fence in the background.
Of course the Maghull North Station construction process has become hugely controversial with neighbouring residents in Mersey Avenue in recent weeks due to intrusive night time working, noise and flood lighting.
Merseytravel/Network Rail are promising a residents meeting we are informed in an attempt to find a way forward. There was no work taking place when the photo above was taken.
The housing development on Poppy Fields or the Moss Side Hospital/Ashworth South site (all are used to describe this site and its history) was not controversial when the wedge shaped piece of land was designated for housing in Sefton Council’s otherwise hugely controversial and recent Local Plan. But the site sits across the road (School Lane) from the most controversial of all the sites in that Local Plan – The Maghull East Urban Extension of around 1,600 houses plus a business park.
Poppy Fields in its former guise as a mental health treatment hospital site and before that, in World War 1, as a world leading center for the development of treatments for those suffering from ‘Shell Shock’ is of huge historical significance.
This was the scene on Tuesday 26th September as contractors were making a big impression on the site of Maghull’s second railway station which is due to open in May 2018. The 3 car Merseyrail Class 508 EMU (508 139) has left the present Maghull Station and is heading for Town Green Station in Aughton on its way to Ormskirk.
For those who don’t know where this second railway station will be in the Town, it’s on the Liverpool – Ormskirk line off School Lane (between the present Maghull & Town Green Stations) and the station building will be on the old Moss Side Hospital site. The rest of the former hospital site is being redeveloped for housing as you may be able to make out in the right background of the photo.
The housing development is being called ‘Poppy Fields’ as a nod to the great importance of Moss Side Hospital which was world famous for its treatment of Shell Shock victims in WW1. Sadly the campaign to have the new station called ‘Maghull Moss Side’ in recognition of the importance of the former hospital was turned down by the railway powers that be. Indeed, they also rejected the present Maghull Station being renamed ‘Maghull Hornby’ after the Town’s most famous resident Frank Hornby (creator of Dinky Toys, Hornby Railways and Meccano) who once lived only yards away from it.
The photo (click on it to enlarge it) is also amongst my Flickr shots at:-
I went to have a look at the new housing development at ‘Poppy Fields’ yesterday. I say Poppy Fields when of course I mean the former Moss Side Hospital site (also known as Ashworth South to some folk) where Maghull’s second railway station is presently being built too.
I arrived there at around 11am. The site was accessible i.e. the gate was open but oddly the sales suite was not despite a notice saying it was on Thursday’s through to Monday’s (don’t they sell houses on Tuesdays and Wednesdays?). I did see a handful of people looking around the site though.
The Ormskirk – Liverpool railway line/new station site is on the left hand edge of this plan.
Another thing I thought was odd concerned the plan of the site stuck to the outside of the sales suite – it did not depict the new station being built at all. Is the new station not a big selling point for the developer?
From what I saw though they do seem to be selling houses with I would guess 50% of the properties that are partially built having sold signs on them.
But I wanted to look at the progress of the railway station too and in what seemed to be a separate locked compound excavations were taking place on the area to be occupied by the station building and car park.
Excavation works where the Station building/station car park will be.
A view of the station site from the School Lane overbridge.
Clearly house building in and around Maghull/Lydiate has been hugely controversial in recent years not least because of the loss of Green Belt and the very highest grades of agricultural land (which grows our food) for the building. But this site was not a part of such controversy, indeed building there was broadly accepted by local environment campaigners as a sensible reuse of a previously partly developed site.
My final thought for now is how much will the new housing on this site meet what I think are the greatest local housing needs – bungalows/single level accessible flats for the elderly, small starter homes for those trying to get onto the housing ladder and of course social housing? I think I know the answer…….
Click on the photos to enlarge them
I posted about the public consultation event held at Maghull Town Hall last month on this blog site. My original posting (and a follow-up one) can be read via the links below:-
After the event I filled in a Merseytravel consultation form with a few ideas of my own and those brought to my attention by residents. The responses of Merseytravel to the issues that I commented on in my submission are below:-
Dear Mr Robertson
Thank you for your suggestions for Maghull North station following the recent public information event. I am pleased to hear that you found the event helpful and the staff also friendly. It was well attended and there was good discussion about the project.
There is no intention to rename Maghull with the suffix “Hornby”. There would be a significant cost involved in changing systems to accommodate any new name which have implications within the rail operations industry as well as the public facing side of railways. This includes notifications to international organisations and websites.
The drawings shown at the public information event were indicative and intended to stimulate discussion from the public. The designs are not yet sufficiently advanced to show intended / desired minor details, colours and finishes. Those will be shown in the planning application which will be developed once the public comments have been digested and considered. I am sure that you will appreciate that we did not wish to unnecessarily spend resources on producing images that might have been significantly amended after the public event.
At present there are no proposals to modify the 231 to 234 group of bus services but there will be changes to travel opportunities will gradually evolve when the station comes on line and the housing developments in the area become occupied.
With regard to the station name, it has been called “Maghull North” for many years in its various iterations. This has been a logical working title and one that “does what it says on the can”. A final decision will need to be made in due course and I can understand your desire to propose “Moss Side” as an identifier recognising the work done by the hospital previously located on the site. The name finally chosen will need to be clearly understood by visitors who are not too familiar with the area. A quick straw poll of colleagues who are based elsewhere in the north west suggests that “Moss Side” is more obviously known as a district in Manchester which had some notorious chapters in its history in the late 20th Century. Whether or not that association could be misconstrued at Maghull needs to be considered in more detail.
Corporate Engagement Team
Some disappointing responses here and it does make you wonder whether Merseytravel and their partners (Network Rail & Merseyrail) really do want to hear alternative views at all. Seems some things are sadly set in stone.