Robins Bridge Meadows – Is it just me?

First a bit of personal history; we had our wedding reception at Aughton Chase in 1982.

If memory serves it then closed down in the late 1980s/early 1990s with the building subsequently burning down and becoming derelict. The site was in West Lancs Green Belt and it took many years for it to be released from that for development.

In the past 3 years or so houses, very big houses, have slowly been built across the site with big price tags on them. The site, I might add, is all within Aughton and therefore West Lancashire but it abuts the Lydiate/Sefton Borough boundary.

So why am I rehearsing this 30+ years of history? Well, it’s because of the impression I have gained whilst travelling past this prominent site next to the A59 Northway. Probably best if I illustrate things:-

Do you see what I mean? The high wooden fencing around the site is hardly appealing, is it?

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Cycle Routes – They are generally poor

The BBC has the article on its website – see link below

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46179270

As a cyclist, I find this article interesting and to the point. I’ve commented before along the similar lines by highlighting local cycle route inadequacies which I have encountered.

Often segregated cycle routes do not have logical ends and are in effect bits and pieces between destinations. The route from Switch Island to Ormskirk along the busy A59 is an example. From Switch Island to the Maghull boundary there’s a brand new cycle path but it stops well short of Liverpool Road South. Yes, I know that Sefton Council intends to address this but really it should have been done in tandem with Highways England doing the first stretch.

But then moving north through Maghull & Lydiate a safe cycle route has yet to be sorted out. It’s either the busy dual carriageway or pavement for cyclists.

A59 Cycle path becomes narrow pavement at Robins Island.

Then at Robins Island, a cycle path appears again, on both sides of the A59. Generally, it is in good condition but parts of it are not – patches of grass, poorly completed surface repairs & tree roots make the later stages of these cycle lanes poor. But then as you climb into Aughton the cycle route peters out altogether just like through Maghull & Lydiate. This makes the last mile or so into Ormskirk a cycling challenge.

This was the state of the Cheshire Lines Path through Great Altcar Civil Parish in the winter of 2017 – it’s not got any better.

I could illustrate other problem routes where cycling facilities in Sefton and West Lancashire are inadequate but will settle for just one. The Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail. This former railway track is in very poor condition through West Lancs because since it was created there has not been the regular maintenance that is clearly required. Some of the route is now really only suitable for mountain bikes and a once wide path where cyclists could pass each other is presently very narrow in places.

There is much to do to make our cycling routes safe, logical and well maintained.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

A59 Cycle Path – Switch Island to Robins Island

A59 Cycle path becomes narrow pavement at Robins Island.

I’ve mentioned before my desire to see a safe cycle route through Maghull and Lydiate from Switch Island to Robins Island and I took the matter up with Sefton Council Highways. This is what they had to say:-

‘We have actually identified this as an issue and are pursuing a proposal to develop a cycle route between Switch Island and Robbins Island as one of our priorities. We have secured funding for the initial section which will link Switch Island to the service roads to the north of the Dover Road/ Liverpool Rd junction through the local growth fund(LGF), this should be delivered over the next 18 months. We have a separate bid for funding which is currently on a reserve list for schemes to be funded through the LGF which would extend this further from Hall Lane to the Eastway/ Westway junction and once this has been secured will be seeking to extend the route up to Robbins Island, once funding opportunities arise.’

Cycle path under construction between Switch Island and the River Alt along the A59 – April 2018. This section now complete.

Some good news here and the first section, funded by Highways England (see second photo), is now complete but clearly it is likely to be some years before the whole missing section of cycle track alongside the A59/Northway through Maghull and Lydiate is completed. Let’s hope for as quick a construction period as possible in these most uncertain and cash strapped times.

Maghull – More on that new cycle track into the Town from Switch Island

I posted a few days ago about the new cycle track being constructed from Switch Island alongside the A59 (Northway) towards Maghull and the need for it to reach Liverpool Road South as opposed to just to the cycle/pedestrian (Toucan) crossing just by the A59 River Alt bridge.

Following discussions with Sefton Council I can now add to the original posting. The first part of the project, which is presently being constructed, is funded by Highways England who are taking the works to where their responsibility ends at the crossing. From there to the Liverpool Road South junction is Sefton Council’s responsibility and I am told that funding has been identified to continue the works but that it is not available until the financial year 2019/20.

The photo above is of the stretch that Sefton Council will reconstruct to a similar standard as the lead photo in this posting in 2019/20.

Maghull – New cycle track from Switch Island towards Maghull on A59

I have commented before about the narrow and completely inadequate cycle/footpath out of Maghull towards Switch Island and it seems someone has been listening as construction work on a much wider path has been taking place in recent weeks from Switch Island up to the pedestrian/cycle crossing just before the Maghull boundary.

I do hope that the highway powers that be Highways England and Sefton Council are going to keep the new path construction going to the junction with Liverpool Road South as there’s no point in stopping at the cycle/pedestrian crossing. This is view from the crossing towards the Liverpool Road South junction – still a very narrow path at present but I will have more news soon on it:-

Of course what Maghull and Lydiate really needs alongside the A59 Northway is a safe cycle route from Switch Island through to Robins Island and Lydiate Parish Council has acknowledge this need in its draft Neighbourhood Plan.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Lydiate – More work on that Neighbourhood Plan

Yes I know it seems to go on forever, putting one together for Lydiate Civil Parish that is. And yes I’m still a skeptic of them, seeing NP’s as of little or marginal benefit only, at best.

But whatever I’m doing my bit to help put together the Lydiate one.

Our last Neighbourhood Plan meeting went into all kinds of detail but two particular areas really interested me, the lack of a cycle path on the A59/Northway through Lydiate and the poor state of the canal tow path through Lydiate.

What have these issues got to do with a Neighbourhood Plan you might ask. Well the connection is that when house building does takes place in Lydiate developers have to provide money to support local infrastructure. Presently that’s via a process known as Section 106 agreements. They may be morphing into CIL – Community Infrastructure Levy – but Sefton Council can’t seemingly make up its mind whether to make the change or not. But whichever process is used it means that the Parish Council can try to direct how up to 25% of that money is spent.

The two major areas that we have identified, via our NP process, are upgrading the tow path of the Leeds Liverpool Canal tow path through Lydiate and addressing the lack of a cycle lane alongside the A59/Northway through Lydiate.

The following 2 photos from 2014 show the canal tow path as little more than a rut in the grass alongside the canal:-

Looking north from Pilling Lane bridge along the canal

Looking south from Pilling Lane bridge along the canal.

It’s still the same now and we want it upgraded so that cyclists and pedestrians can make greater use of it. A wider hard wearing surface is required.

With regard to the cycle path along the A59/Northway, it comes to an abrupt halt at Robin’s Island. North of here there are cycle paths on either side of the dual carriageway through Aughton Civil Parish. We would like to see a safe cycle path/route coming into Lydiate. Here’s a photo of the end of the cycle path as you reach Robins Island from Aughton direction:-

A59 Cycle path becomes narrow pavement at Robins Island.

So there are a couple of our stated ambitions in the draft NP for Lydiate. Lydiate folk will get to vote on the plan, via local referendum, before it is finalised I might add.

Click on the photos to enlarge them