Rebecca Hanson (Bootle), Lib Dem Leader Jo Swinson & Keith Crawdron (Sefton Central) are ready to take on Jeremy Corbyn’s MP’s in Bootle (Peter Dowd) and Sefton Central (Bill Esterson) constituencies when the starting gun is fired for the soon to happen General Election.
This great weather has to be taken advantage of so I have been out on my bike every day recently riding through Netherton, Aintree Village, Lunt, Thornton, Sefton Village, Maghull, Lydiate, Melling, Aughton, Down Holland, Bickerstaff etc.
Saturday saw me in a cycle race. Well that’s putting it a little strongly as I found myself cycling the same road in the same direction as what looked like a professional cycling outfit. They were very polite as they whistled past me doing twice my speed at least. This happened on Prescot Road in Aughton – I think I came 117th out of 95 riders:-) Here’s a shot of them:-
Sunday saw me off through Lunt Village where I respectfully doffed my cap (cycle helmet actually) outside the house of the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury – Bootle MP and an old sparing partner of mine on Sefton Council Peter Dowd. Private Eye tells me he has been in China in recent times so he may not have been at home.
Some of the fields around Lunt Village have changed immeasurably over the past 20 years as some farmland has been replaced by woodland – Part of the Mersey Forest. Sadly though the back lanes of Lunt are used to dump all kinds of rubbish – a subject I have commented on many times before on this blog site. Just look at this recent photo:-
Oh well more good weather more cycling………..
The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site – see link above
Air pollution is probably one of the biggest health issues that we face these days and Bootle seems to have more than its fair share.
The Daily Mirror has the story that includes a reference to my old Sefton Council sparing partner now Bootle Labour MP Peter Dowd – see link above
In the words of my dear old Mum ‘he could make a Parson swear’ – Boris I mean.
My thanks to Roy Connell for spotting this story.
I return to this matter because Highways England have issued a 3rd newsletter which is now available on their web site – see link below (click the publications tab):-
The map above shows what Highways England have in mind, as if we were in any doubt. Option 2 is their proposed new road down and through the Rimrose Valley Country Park. Option 1 is upgrading the A5036/Dunningsbridge Road etc.
The issues that pop out for me from this latest newsletter are:-
* The odd answer to the question which I and many others must have asked the Highways England reps at the various public events a few weeks ago. Why isn’t greater use being made of the railway network in order to distribute this additional freight? Answer – Improvements to the rail network are being considered elsewhere. The obvious follow up question is where is ‘elsewhere’ and why is there no indication of it in the newsletter?
* In a second question specifically about bringing the North Mersey rail branch line back into use Highways England give a reasonable answer but again the answer does not take us any further forward with regard to non-road solutions.
* On the positive side Highways England seem to be saying all the right things about biodiversity, green issues, air quality and noise issues, which of course we should welcome.
However, what you quickly realise is that the strong line of questioning that Highways England clearly got from the public during the first round of consultation was really about the rail connections to the docks. No surprise there of course but those of us pressing that crucial issue were talking to folk who exist to build roads! They have little or no interest in other forms of transport.
And all this brings me back to my greatest concern which I have voiced before. Why is there not a joined up consultation being undertaken including Network Rail and Sefton Council? Yes we know that Labour-run Sefton is hiding behind the sofa hoping no one will realise that they should be leading this debate and goodness knows what Network Rail are doing in reality. So all we have at present is Highways England being desperate to build a new road.
It really is time for Labour-run Sefton Council to come out from under their sofa and lead this important public debate. If Bootle Labour MP Peter Dowd can raise the issue in Parliament why can’t Labour get to grips with it at a local level? And I don’t mean photos with concerned residents in the local press! What we need is all agencies and appropriate bodies being brought together by the Council so we have a fully informed public debate. There its not so hard comrades is it? – just do it.
You could not help but wonder yesterday what on earth was going on when Pat Glass MP resigned from Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet only two or is that 3 days after she accepted an invitation to join it as Shadow Education Secretary!
She clearly does not know whether her glass is half full or half empty. I bet this will haunt her for a long time.
My understanding, from what I would consider a reliable Labour source, is that Sefton Central MP, Bill Esterson is backing Jeremy Corbyn together with fellow Merseyside Labour MP’s Peter Dowd (Bootle) and Steve Rotherham (Walton). Steve Rotherham of course wants to be Labour’s candidate in Merseyside’s new Metro Mayor election in 2017. If my understanding is not correct I am happy to amend as I notice that the MP’s were far less clear, than my source, in this weeks Champion newspaper.