Bootle – 100 new homes planned for canal-side development near Strand Shopping Centre

Place North West has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.placenorthwest.co.uk/news/ellis-williams-appointed-to-33m-bootle-community-housing/#.XkqyV7noJh4.twitter

And the Liverpool Echo carried an article about the refurbishment of the Lock and Quay pub (mentioned as an integral part of the planned housing development in the Place North West link above) recently – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/rough-ready-old-school-boozer-16015668

Below is a photo of the Pride of Sefton Trust barge near the site this posting is about. The photo dates back to 2010 as do the other photos.

Maghull – Those hugely contentious planning applications for its urban expansion

The vast Maghull East site seen from Poverty Lane presently used for growing crops but under Sefton Council’s Local Plan it will become housing


Place North West has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.placenorthwest.co.uk/news/sefton-defers-decision-on-1700-homes/

The deferment was of course associated with the Special Planning Committee meeting held last week in Bootle Town Hall.

I guess those of us who fought against this vast former Green Belt/high grade agricultural site being designated for housing in Sefton Council’s Local Plan (I fought it twice – 1998 WON, Most recently – LOST) will be sad but resigned. Resigned to the fact the battle to save the land from development was actually lost when Sefton Council approved its Local Plan on 20th April 2017.

On that date we lost the battle to save the land

The issues at stake now for Maghull are all about how the site will be developed, drained, laid out, the effect on the local infrastructure, the timescale for the building etc. etc. There can be no doubt that an urban extension to Maghull of the scale of 1,600+ houses will have very significant impacts on the highway network, public transport, health facilities, school places, land drainage, you name it.

It was for all these reasons that I fought to to protect this high grade agricultural land, which grows the food we eat, and engaged with the two campaigns to stop the development in 1998 and then again up to April 2017.

Yes clearly Sefton’s Planning Committee now has some huge decisions to face up to/tackle following the Council selecting the vast Maghull East site to build upon. But as Sefton decided to designate such a huge area for housing the problems of actually delivering on that site are a direct consequence of that designation. No ifs, no buts.

Maghull folk, particularly those living around/close to this massive development, have now been pulled into all kinds of issues which concern and worry them. Yes they are trying to influence the Council and developers but I fear that with the planning system in the UK being set up the way that it is that soon Sefton’s Planning Committee will give the green light whilst many issues of concern in that community will be left unaddressed.

Frankly, I have never liked the way town and country planning takes place. It’s too remote from communities, its full of jargon and complexities that seem to be in place to keep ordinary people at arms length. My two years on Sefton’s Planning Committee up to May 2015, when I came off Sefton Council, confirmed this to me. And no this is not a dig at Sefton Planning, its a dig at the whole set up of planning across the UK for generations.

I deeply regret not being able to save both Green Belt and high grade agricultural sites across Sefton Borough from development but I enjoyed working with community campaigners like Maria Bennett, Peter Greener and many many others who put their every effort into those campaigns.

Maybe one day, hopefully soon, Government will value high grade agricultural land more highly than bricks and mortar

Press cutting from 1998 as we fought to protect the Maghull east site from development. We won back then but could not win in the recent re-run of the battle for Maghull East.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

M58 ‘Ashworth’ Junction – Delayed and costing more say Place North West

Looking towards Maghull over the M58 ‘Ashworth’ junction road works (when work had just commenced) and the vast Maghull East site that is prestly growing the food we eat but is designated for housing.

Place North West has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.placenorthwest.co.uk/news/cost-of-maghull-motorway-improvements-increases-by-1m/?fbclid=IwAR3x4bGr80bo8_FaGasZpggAfWnI2dDP5bUs4WA2QFnmzTBmG949tbOR3jg#.XeQDWMxKq3U.facebook

Says Bob Robinson a former project engineer, who brought the article to my attention, ‘Maghull Cost Over-run. The issues causing the over-run are not untypical especially where it is necessary to buy a number of different properties/land to deliver the scheme.’

Looking at recent works to provide a new cycle path from the ‘Ashworth’ junction towards Kirkby

I’ve been watching the works regularly as they are on a cycling route I often use. Sefton Council has had the contractor do some additional works, so I understand, associated with putting in the new cycle path, which has been planned for some time. This work has been done although the whole cycle route to Kirkby is yet to be constructed.

My good friend and former Sefton Borough councillor Cliff Mainey launched the campaign to get this M58 junction made into a full one around 15 years ago. Sadly, although it is now being constructed, it’s alongside a planned and massive urban extension to Maghull of @1,600 houses. The housing is to be built on the very highest quality of agricultural land which I and many others fought against. Sadly we lost.

Note – to be clear the junction is actually in Melling not Maghull

Merseyrail’s new Stadler HQ and train servicing facility completed at Kirkdale

A mock-up of a Class 777 – The new Merseyrail trains that will soon replace the Class 507/508 EMU’s

Place North West has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.placenorthwest.co.uk/news/stadler-rails-21m-depot-completes-in-kirkdale/

Another shot of a mock-up of a Class 777 Stadler EMU as displayed in Birkenhead a while back

The new Class 777 Stadler EMU’s should start to arrive in the UK very soon.

Note:- My understanding is that the photo in the Place North West article is of the Kirkdale site before the works to upgrade it were done.

Southport – Its Victorian legacy has not been fully understood by modern custodians

Place North West has an interesting and thought provoking article on its website – see link below:-

www.placenorthwest.co.uk/news/my-place-southport/

In my view Southport suffers from two distinct and unique disadvantages. Firstly, of being at one far end of a Metropolitan Borough (Sefton) whilst being mostly surrounded by a County (Lancashire) it no longer (since 1974) has any significant political connections with. Secondly, of having some very poor road and rail connections to the east and north of it.

If you start from the premise that the modern custodians have failed then I feel the disadvantages which have been put in their way are very much the cause. What’s more they’ve not been self-created disadvantages but very much imposed ones from Beeching’s railway cut backs of the 1960’s, the lack of an Ormskirk road by-pass, and the reorganisation of local government in 1974. The fact that none of theses significant downsides for Sunny Southport have been successfully addressed is the ongoing challenge which the present day custodians can’t crack – although that’s not for the want of trying.

I’ve commented on this so tough to crack conundrum previously:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/01/06/southport-betting-on-a-bright-future-for-our-local-seaside-town/

My view is that Southport has been failed but the causes of that failure are very much external to the Town.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting