Maghull – Habitat Regulations – Town Council has an in and out relationship with them or so it seems

The irony of Maghull Town Council taking out hedges (otherwise know as a habitat for wildlife) in Glenn Park only yards away from other hedges along Eastway, which they have previously left uncut despite complaints from pedestrians, due to Habitat Regulations is not lost on me.

This saga goes back a while now (to 2015) and I have posted about it previously. Here’s my most relevant previous posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/11/30/maghull-i-keep-getting-asked-why-maghull-tc-does-not-cut-its-hedges/

What’s brought the matter back into focus now is the removal of a couple of quite long hedges from within Glenn Park by Maghull Town Council in the past few days. My understanding is that the stated reason for removing them is to introduce sight lines across the park to assist with anti-social behaviour issues there. Well the motive seems sound then at one level but hang on a minute.

Glenn Park – Where until recently there was a hedge/wildlife habitat

Firstly, a bit of history. Glenn Park has long had ASB issues associated with it; I can trace them back into the mid 1980’s at least, as that is when I became a Maghull councillor. Various things have been tried to tackle the problem. For example the former tennis courts were floodlit to provide a caged ball area in the 1990’s. Another initiative between Maghull Town Council and Sefton Council’s Youth Service was the youth facility that operated within the park making use of the former bowls hut. I also recall The Town Council introducing Park Rangers across all of Maghull’s parks to tackle ASB. The demise of the youth facility and the Park Rangers must have had a negative impact on ASB issues.

Anyway back to the present. As you may have guessed by now the Town Council pointed to Habitat Regulations when they were challenged over uncut and overgrown hedges along Eastway. As I have pointed out in my previous posting (linked above) they were being selective in their interpretation of the regulations because where a hedge is close to a footpath it can be cut back on the side causing access issues for pedestrians.

So what we have established is that the Town Council are aware of the appropriate regulations. Here’s a link to those regulations which seem to be more properly known as The Hedgerows Regulations (1997):-

www.gov.uk/guidance/countryside-hedgerows-regulation-and-management

So how do we end up in a situation where the Town Council takes out hedges seemingly without reference to the hedgerow regulations it was merrily quoting when it came to the non-cutting of hedges only yards away not so long ago?

I am aware that a Maghull resident has referred the matter to Natural England and that a response is awaited but frankly I can’t see why the environmental and habitat considerations were seemingly not taken into account along side the ASB issues before action was taken to grub out two lengthy sections of what would have been mainly Hawthorne hedging.

Yes of course the ASB issues need to be addressed again at Glenn Park but to do so whilst removing habitat for wildlife is solving one problem to effectively create another. There must have been a viable alternative (reducing the height of the hedges comes to mind as is happening in other places presently around Glenn Park) so why was it not pursued? Surely an Environmental Impact Assessment would have been the first consideration would it not?

The Town Council may well get away with removing the hedging and the home it provided for wildlife but surely a public body should be approaching such matters with the green and environmental consequences of any park management changes being its first thought.

As an environmental campaigner I am so saddened by this turn of events.

Liverpool – A trip on a City Explorer tour bus

Last week Sheila and I decided to do what tourists do when they visit Liverpool and the day we chose (by chance) happened to coincide with the huge cruise liner Caribbean Princess calling into Liverpool.

There were unsurprisingly a lot of foreign visitors around Albert Dock when we met our City Explorer tour bus (run by Maghull Coaches) in Gower Street and they were also boarding it like us.

We went to sample the tour because our friend Phil Marshall is a qualified tour guide on this fleet of buses. Phil is a partially sighted chap from Maghull who has gained mentions before on this blog site due to issues he has encountered as a blind person. He was with his new guide dog Harvey, a lovely golden Retriever.

The tour lasted just under an hour with Phil doing the running commentary from his perch on the upstairs deck. He was as humorous and well informed as I expected him to be and clearly his words went down well with the passengers. Here’s Phil with Harvey at the end of the tour:-

The Liverpool weather was not kind to us during the tour but Phil made us all laugh and we certainly learned things we did not know about Liverpool. The trip is to be recommended.

Guide Dogs/Hearing Dogs and Taxis

I have a partially sighted friend who uses a guide dog, although he is presently awaiting a new dog as his previous one sadly died not so long ago. Phil Marshall is his name and he lives in Maghull.

I raise this subject because Phil raised it with me whilst we were having a pint in the Derby Arms in Aughton. Phil had been contacted by Guide Dogs for the Blind recently asking him to lobby his local councillors about the problem of a small minority of taxi drivers who refuse to have a guide dogs in their vehicle.

Yes I know, it sounds almost beyond belief that a taxi driver could refuse a blind, partially sighted or deaf person a ride because they have a guide/hearing dog with them but I am told that it does happen.

www.guidedogs.org.uk/supportus/campaigns/access-all-areas/faq#.WTLg_Ma1vv8

The link above is to the Guide Dogs for the Blind web site which addresses this very issue. Locally Sefton Borough Council is the licensing authority for taxis.

I hope by sharing this issue I can help to try to put a stop to taxi refusals for blind/deaf people travelling with their dogs.