Maghull – It’s 2nd railway station opens tomorrow 66 years after it lost its original 2nd station

Maghull lost its original 2nd railway station when it closed on 7th January 1952. That station (Sefton and Maghull) was on Sefton Lane and was a part of the former Southport & Cheshire Lines Extension Railway.

I’m told by an old Maghullian in the know that the first talk of a 2nd station for Maghull, on the Liverpool – Ormskirk line, was just after World War 2, so its taken a while you might say to get it built.

The serious talk has been going on for I suppose over the last 25 years and it took some time to secure the station site. My good friend and former Sefton councillor for Maghull, Roy Connell, had a hand in that effort and the battle was won some 10 or more years ago when the rest of what was then called the Ashworth South Site* was down to have a prison built on it. That prison, which was never built of course**, is not to be confused with the temporary prison (HMP Kennet) which did operate from the former Ashworth East site for just under 10 years until quite recently.

Maghull North Station site – 27th September 2017

Construction of the new station (somewhat unimaginatively called Maghull North***) started last September and when it became apparent that it was due to open alongside the May 2018 railway timetable changes some of those in the railway know scratched their heads and said ‘that’s not going to happen’ or words to that effect. And indeed it did not and the opening was put back a month until 18th June.

This photo shows, on the left hand side the shortish back gardens of the Mersey Avenue houses.

The building of the new station has not been without considerable upset though for the residents of Maghull’s Mersey Avenue, who will have the station at the bottom of their back gardens. Noise, overnight working and the height/scale/position of the lift towers became huge issues and it led to demands for compensation payments which remain unresolved I understand. So it’s worth those standing on the platform of the new station taking a few moments to think of the troubles of the Mersey Avenue residents.

Having fought for the station to be built for more years than I care to recall I’m obviously pleased that it’s finally arrived. Now we want Merseyrail’s Liverpool – Ormskirk Line extended to its logical end of Preston. The present arrangement of a poor and unreliable service by Northern Trains onward from Ormskirk is a hang over from the decline of our railways in the 1960’s. I hope I’m still breathing when Northern are kicked off that line and we can all once again travel the length of the Preston to Liverpool railway.

Welcome Maghull North, your birth has been a long and tough one but you should be of benefit to many future generations.

* Former site of the world famous former Moss Side Hospital which pioneered the treatment of shell shock during and after World War 1.

** When the new prison was cancelled @2010 the site was designated for housing and presently the Poppy Fields and Pavilions housing estates are being built on the site.

*** Campaigners seeking to acknowledge the world groundbreaking medical history made at Moss Side Hospital wanted the new railway station to be called ‘Maghull Moss Side’ but the dead hand of railway administration was having none of it. They had made a decision and we were stuck with it so to speak just as they refused a quite sensible request to change the name of the old Maghull station (which was once called Maghull & Melling) to ‘Maghull Hornby’ in recognition of former Maghull resident and world famous toy maker Frank Hornby.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull – I’m guessing that those enormous poles are…..

The second phase of the new housing development on the Ashworth South Site is well underway but one matter that has puzzled a few folk, so I am told, is the huge poles which have been erected towards the eastern end of the triangular site.

Although they could be mistaken for old fashioned radio masts they are far more likely to be for netting to be hung from to stop cricket balls hitting the new luxury properties on the Pavilions development part of the Ashworth South Site. A close examination of the photo above (click on it to enlarge) will show the Moss Side Maghull cricket square being rolled ready for the 2018 season.

Maghull – All that remains (of Burleigh House)

A corner of wall and a door have not been demolished – I wonder why? Where the major services came into the property which sit need disconnecting?

Burleigh House was a substantial property on the Ashworth South Site in Maghull, it had previously been a part of Moss Side Hospital’s grounds and was set back a few yards off Park Lane. The land is presently being redeveloped for the Poppy Fields and Pavilions housing estates.

But why the photo and the history lessen? Well the photo struck me as odd in that the demolition of the house seems to have been stopped with 95% it already gone but the other angle goes back a while to when I was first elected to Sefton Council’s Molyneux Ward in 1999.

Probably the first contact I had as a fresh faced and enthusiastic Sefton Councillor was from an organisation called the Beechpark Initiative, an organisation covering the Beechway estate (in Melling) and the Park Lane/Parkbourn/Parkbourn Square estate (in Maghull). The Maghull/Melling Civil Parish Boundary passes right through the middle of Ashworth Hospital in case you did not know. Both these small estates (built at differing times) had originally been staff accommodation associated with the mental health hospital they still sit either side of and which is called Ashworth Hospital these days. Here’s a note from the Charity Commission’s web site about the Beechpark Initiative:-

beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details/?regid=1088209&subid=0

The charity wanted to take over Burleigh House and use it to further their community and educational aims and I recall trying to help them together the then MP for Maghull of the time George Howarth. Sadly, despite our efforts and those of others too the ambitions of Beechpark to take over the house did not become a reality so it’s rather sad to see the last bit of it hanging on awaiting its seemingly inevitable end.

Click on the photo to enlarge it. It was taken on 24th March 2018 and is also amongst my Flickr photos at:-

https://www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

With Thanks to Keith Page for the lea\d to this posting

Melling – Giddygate Lane – Tree Cover Gone

The clearance of tree cover around Junction 1 of the M58, prior to it being made into a full junction, is complete and it’s changed the landscape completely:-

Looking towards Poppy Fields

Trees to sawdust:-)

Giddygate Lane entrance and of course the fly tippers have visited too

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull – Work starts on North Station Building

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.

Maghull – Poppy Fields – SUD fills up

SUD (Sustainable urban Drainage) – A big pond to collect water at times of heavy/persistent rainfall, which is then pumped away when the local drainage ditches can cope with the withheld water. Well that’s my definition anyway. A more technically correct definition, via Wikipedia, is available in this link:-

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_drainage_system

And the reason for this interest in urban drainage? Well Maghull has a SUD pond on the new Poppy Fields* housing development off School Lane and here’s a photo of it pretty full of water on 22nd December:-

If my understanding is correct, it will be drained via a pipe network that ends up in Whinney Brook and from what I saw when I took this photo it was in the process of being pumped out.

My previous photo of this SUD pod was taken on 11th November, soon after it had been dug out:-

Looking over the recently created rainwater collection pond. School Lane is behind the fence in the background.

With the high water table in the Maghull area I am guessing that it will often have water in it.

All new land development projects will have some form of SUD associated with them these days but the big question is how well will they cope with flash downpours.

And related to this site I noticed that the first occupants of the Poppy Fields housing development were moving in when I was there on 22nd.

Also I noticed a large banner which told me and anyone else reading it that the development is made up of 3, 4 and 5 bedroomed houses. But what do we need? 1 and 2 bedroomed properties and single level houses as starter homes and for the elderly to move into to free up larger properties for families, oh and social housing for rent too of course.

Yep, housing policy is a mess and it has been this way for at least the past 30 years.

* This piece of land was the uncontroversial housing development site in Maghull, during the Local Plan process, where environmental campaigners agreed it was suitable for building.