Sefton & West Lancs – Encounters on a bike ride

It was a beautiful day for a bike ride yesterday so I set off from my Lydiate home through Maghull, Melling, Simmonswood, Aughton and Downholland back into Lydiate. It was a ride of just over 12 miles but quite a bit happened along the way.

Firstly, a van overtook me whilst I was negotiating the roundabout by the new Maghull North Station and the Poppy Fields housing development. To say the van was too close is putting it mildly; less than half a meter from me I would guess when the recommended amount of space to leave around a cyclist when overtaking them is 1.5m! Fortunately, the name of the firm was on the truck so when I stopped I Tweeted the Preston-based company asking them to advise their driver not to put cyclists at risk by driving so close to them.

Then I went down Spurriers Lane, which turns into Outlet Lane when it leaves Melling Parish and enters Simmonswood Parish in West Lancs. I had a brief look at the hugely controversial caravan site off the beginning of Spurriers Lane, near Carla Lane Animal Centre, and saw 4 or 5 caravans on it. My recollection is that the Champion newspaper recently reported that Sefton Council is having the landowner return the land back to its original condition as the development does not have planning permission. There was no sign of remedial works taking place.

I pressed on down Spurriers and into Outlet Lane and then a dog encounter, which I have never had before down that particular lane. I stopped a good 20 yards from the two dogs that were running free in the lane and retreated. The problem is you never know as a cyclist what dogs running free will do so its best to avoid them. Even friendly dogs can jump up and knock a cyclist off causing injury. When I stopped later for a brew in Town Green I e-mailed the West Lancs Dog Warden asking them to speak to the owners about keeping their dogs under control and I await a response. I also Tweeted the company of the too close van as mentioned above and I await their response too.

Then it was up and over Clieves Hill and what a view it was on a lovely sunny winters day. I also encountered the volunteer litter picker who often cleans up at this local beauty spot. Regular readers of this blog site will recall that I posted a while back about my encounter up there with a West Lancs Council litter cleaner who told me how bad the littering was and that there was a chap who did some volunteer litter picking. Well, I’ve now met the chap and we had a good chat about the mucky buggers who create so much mess in and around this lovely spot.

Down the hill into Downholland and I find myself approaching the Green Lane/Eagar Lane canal swing bridge over the Leeds Liverpool Canal but there were workmen on it and the bridge had clearly been closed. It soon became apparent why – one of the safety barriers had snapped off in the high winds as always seems to happen at this exposed spot. Indeed, the barrier was in the canal and was being fished out by contractors working on behalf of the Canal & River Trust. A narrow boat was waiting to get through the bridge and it was able to whilst I was there as the work had been completed and a new barrier is on order. Here’s a couple of shots of the activity around the bridge:-

Snapped off bridge barrier being hauled out of the canal

Narrow Boat at Eagar Lane canal swing bridge after bridge is reopened

Quite a lot of things going on on one short bike ride around Sefton and West Lancs.

Maghull North Station – Tribute to the fallen and the suffering

I went along to the still new Maghull North Station (on Merseyrail’s Northern Line to Ormskirk) today to have a look at the just installed piece of artwork which celebrates the work of the former Moss Side Hospital and its pioneering treatment of shell shock. Of course, the hospital is long gone and the new Poppy Fields Housing Estate now occupies the site.

Here are some shots of what I think is a quite striking piece of artwork which is sited adjacent to the station ticket office:-

It was unveiled by local historian and former Maghull GP Dr John Rowland who has published a number of books on the history of Maghull and Lydiate.

A fine tribute to Moss Side, its staff, doctors and indeed patients who benefited from its pioneering treatments during and after World War 1.

The 3rd photo is amongst my Flickr shots at:-

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

Maghull – It’s new North Station certainly has had it’s fair share of snagging issues

I guess that any new building and construction will have its snagging issues but Maghull’s new North station certainly has had what some folk would suggest is more than its fair share.

* No level access off School Lane for pedestrians, cycles and those with disability until 3 months after the station was opened and still no dropped kerb off School Lane for cyclists.

* A rather strong smell which I’m told is now being attended to.
* Lifts not working to platforms for first couple of weeks after station opening.
* Still a non-functioning public toilet

* No pedestrian/cycle path from Park Lane yet

* Appalling noise from testing of PA system
* Why only one small open shelter on the busy Liverpool bound platform?

Another issue raised by some locals is the old 6ft wooden boarded fence which has mostly been taken away but for part that fronts the station onto School Lane. Yes it presently has artwork on large banners affixed to it that was produced by local school children but obviously those banners will have a limited life. What happens to the old fence then? It will be no positive advert for Merseyrail that’s for sure when the banners are gone.

And of course there’s some head scratching going on about why the bus stops are a fair step or fifty away from the station:-

Don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted that it’s been built as I campaigned for it over many years but I really do wonder about the detail of the project management. And you may wonder why I’ve not mentioned the size of the car park which is clearly a problem too i.e. it seems to be far too small. Well yes it is but that’s really a consequence of the lack of adequate car parking at the 3 stations north of Maghull North, indeed Aughton Park has none at all! Also the pricing structure of tickets can encourage folk to drive to Maghull’s 2 stations to pick up a Liverpool bound train. Trouble is this in turn means that whilst Maghull has a vast car park and Maghull North has a reasonably sized one there’s no room on a normal work day in either for Maghull, Lydiate and Melling resident’s cars unless they get there very early. This unfortunate conundrum, which will inevitably lead to more and more commuter’s cars being parked on the Poppy Fields Estate, needs to be addressed by Merseytravel & Lancashire County Council.

Click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Maghull – Moss Side Hospital/Shell Shock/Public Artwork

Readers of this blog site will recall how disappointed I was when the railway powers that be refused to acknowledge (in the name of the new Maghull North Station) the part the former Moss Side Hospital had played in the treatment of Shell Shock during and after WW1. Indeed, that disappointment was felt across a large number of campaigners as we wanted the station named ‘Maghull Moss Side’ because it sits on the site of the former hospital as does the new Poppy Fields housing estate.

View of platforms at Maghull North Station

My blog posting of December 2015 refers:- tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/12/07/maghull-name-new-station-maghull-moss-side/

We may have lost that particular battle but things have moved on in a far more positive way since and users of the new station will probably have seen the display boards that have been erected on the station’s platforms detailing the history we all wanted recognised. Here’s a photo of one of the boards:-

Now Maghull Town Council has stepped in and is to provide a piece of public artwork for display at the station. Details of the artwork can be found, via the link below, to the planning application documents recently submitted to Sefton Council (look at the Design & Access Statement):-

pa.sefton.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=PF34SBNWH4600

Local history is important in any community but in Maghull, which is world famous for 3 things, it is vital that the past is not forgotten. And the 3 things? This issue of course because of the pioneering medical work into trauma, the fact that Maghull had one of the first ever epileptic colonies (The Maghull Homes) and finally because it was the home of world famous toy maker Frank Hornby of Meccano, Dinky Toys and Hornby Model Railways fame. Who’d have thought that a town, which many think is just a post 2nd World War suburb of Liverpool, had such a history!

With thanks to Nigel for the lead to this posting.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Maghull – It’s new North Railway Station will have level access soon – Only 3 months after it opened!

Well the pressure finally brought about some action and work is proceeding – This is how things looked earlier today:-

But who will provide the dropped kerb to enable cyclists to access the station off School Lane? Oh no, let’s hope it not another case of here we go again; let’s guess the likely responses:-

It was not considered as part of the new station build project
or
It’s Merseytravel’s/Merseyrail’s/Sefton Council’s/Persimmon’s/Network Rail’s responsibility
or
Sefton Council will provide a dropped kerb if someone else pays for it
or
There’s no money and its not going to happen
or
Common sense will prevail and someone in authority will get it done ASAP

Take your pick but don’t hold your breath because I’m beginning to think that too many things about this new station project were not thought about/planned for.

PS. I’m still awaiting some firm information about the proposed foot/cycle path through to the station from Park Lane i.e. is it going to happen and if so when?

Maghull North Station – Still not disability and cycle accessible without a long detour

This is the only pedestrian/cycle access off School Lane without a long detour to the entrance to the new Poppy Fields estate.

As a level/accessible entrance/exit to the new Maghull North Station has still not been created off School Lane, despite the station being open for a couple of months now, I thought it was time to put some pressure on Merseytravel. My previous posting on this matter from 23rd July is accessible below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/07/23/maghull-its-new-north-station-an-accessible-interchange/

With the help of Merseytravel Committee member Cllr. John Dodd I got a response from Merseytravel which firmly puts the ball in the court of Persimmon the builder/developer of the adjacent Poppy Fields housing development. This is what Merseytravel have said:-

‘the accessible path linking School Lane adjacent to the bus stops to the station is contained on Persimmon Homes land (outside the railway and station footprint).

The issue has been recognised earlier and contact has been made with Persimmon to reinstate the path as soon as is possible in light of the issues this causes for passengers and residents. We were informed that they would do this, but there has been a passage of time since during which this work has not been done.

We have continued to apply pressure to them to reinstate this path but would welcome any support from Sefton and local Councillors to encourage Persimmon to complete this work.’

This is the access point which Merseytravel are referring to:-

So the spotlight is now shining on Persimmon Homes to get a wriggle on and complete the required work so that there is a level/accessible entrance to the new station off School Lane. Come on Persimmon surely this is a minor task in the great scheme of your housing development works at Poppy Fields. Surely we all want to see life made a little easier for those who can’t manage steps and indeed for cyclists arriving at the new station from the Maghull direction.

Cllr. Edie Pope and I would welcome any pressure that others can put on Persimmon. Their e-mail address is:- feedback@persimmonhomes.com