A tribute to ‘Pat from Lydiate’

For the last 5 years, one of my Borough councillors for Park Ward of Sefton Council has been Independent Pat O’Hanlon. She effectively took up as a Borough councillor as I bowed out of being one in 2016.

I got to know Pat as she was one of quite a few environmental campaigners who came together from across the political spectrum to oppose high-grade agricultural land being taken out of the Green Belt in Sefton Borough for development via the Sefton Local Plan; a fight I had long been involved with myself as regular readers of this blog site will be aware. Pat came from a Labour/socialist background but had left the Labour Party due to its stance on this hugely controversial issue. Indeed, she didn’t just leave Labour she stood against them and took a Sefton Council seat off them in Park Ward.

I liked working with Pat as she reminded me of another previous councillor for Park Ward – Lib Dem Robbie Fenton – who was tenacious and very determined to pursue any and every issue brought to her attention. Like Robbie, Pat did not seek the limelight as a councillor, she just got on with the job and she did it very well.

I was disappointed when it became apparent that Pat would not be contesting her Park Ward seat this May as politics needs the Pat’s and Robbie’s of this world who don’t give a damn who they take on.

Before Pat was elected she gained the nickname ‘Pat from Lydiate’ as a consequence, I think, of an interview on Radio Merseyside. She was also a very significant campaigner against asbestos pollution and I think it fair to say she gave both Sefton Council and the Health and Safety Executive a real run for their money over it.

Well done Pat, I’d be surprised if anyone who’d approached you during your term of office as a borough councillor had anything but good things to say about you. You more than did your bit for Lydiate, Maghull and the local environment; enjoy your retirement.

Maghull – The 1955 opening of its County Secondary School (Ormonde Drive)

My good friend Robbie Fenton has loaned me her copy of the brochure produced for the opening ceremony of what was called at the time (June 1955) Maghull County Secondary School. She was 12 years old and participated in the ceremony as part of the school choir. Robbie has lived in Maghull and Lydiate all of her life and has been a local councillor I might add.

I’ve scanned the brochure and here it is, a document very much of its time:-

The school looks very different now as the building that was the subject of this 1955 opening ceremony was demolished recently to be replaced by a brand new one:-

Maghull High in March 2019 as construction of the new main school building was ongoing.

My thanks to Robbie for sharing the document as it’s very interesting to me personally and I’m sure those who have attended the school over the years. I was there 1969 to 1975 and am now a Governor of the school. And my favourite teacher? Jack Petty every time. He taught Geography and History in the first two years I was there and after that craft. He was an expert builder of Christmas displays and he would build one every year mainly from polystyrene in the foyer of the 1955 building. They were beautiful with motorised figures and my old school mate Pete Roberts only mentioned them to me recently. I learned a lot from Jack.

Click on the photos and documents to enlarge them

Lydiate – Haigh Crescent post & shrubs cause controversy

I posted a few days ago about work commencing in Haigh Crescent to stop vehicles gaining access to the central green via Sefton Council installing posts and shrubs. My previous post (no pun intended) is accessible via this link:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2020/02/05/lydiate-haigh-crescent-posts-go-up-to-try-to-make-green-safer/

Well it seems that the project to try to protect the green is not one that commands widespread support at least that’s the view I am picking up. Here’s what I know about the issue.

Last June Independent Borough Councillor Pat O’Hanlon brought up concerns about vehicles accessing the green at a Lydiate Parish Council meeting – my recollection is that the worry was vehicles on the green when children were playing on it. The matter was subsequently raised at the July meeting when, if my understanding is correct, the Borough Councillors for Park Ward were looking to try to find a source of funding to enable them to address the problem. The next thing I knew I was cycling down Haigh Crescent and the work to install posts and shrubs had commenced a few days ago and I blogged about that work taking place.

Yesterday I had a conversation with a former Borough Councillor for Park Ward Robbie Fenton who has lived on Haigh Crescent for many years. She was clearly surprised by the works and was asking me what I knew of the project. Interestingly, she said that as far as she was aware there’d not been any consultation with the residents, at least not with the ones she’d spoken to since the works started. I can’t help but think that consultation should have taken place and wonder why it didn’t?

As Robbie said to me, in trying to solve one problem another has been created. With the carriageway being so narrow it’s often the case that passing vehicles have to mount the curb of the green to pass each other, but the posts and shrubs have narrowed that passing ability.

So there you have it and it will be interesting to see if things settle down/work out or whether there will have to be a rethink by Sefton Council.

Lydiate – Peter Greener RIP

Campaigners, outside Maghull Town Hall trying to save Sefton Borough’s high grade agricultural land from development.

I think I first met Peter Greener in 2011, although it could have been earlier, when we were fighting a planning application that would have breached the Green Belt on the western side of Lydiate. It went all the way to a Planning Inspector’s Inquiry which was held at Bootle Town Hall over a couple of days. Peter, myself, Andrew Blackburn, Robbie Fenton (Andrew, Robbie and I were at the time Sefton Councillors for Park Ward) and a representative of the Sefton Branch of CPRE (Council for the Protection of Rural England) were fighting the local resident’s case and we won that battle.

Peter was a real driving force and he had great environmental credentials.

He went on to join with other environmental campaigners, such as Fragoff, across Sefton Borough to try to defend Green Belt and high grade agricultural land from development. The photo at the head of this posting (click on it to enlarge) shows Peter center stage in a light blue pullover with other protestors outside Maghull Town Hall during a meeting of what was then the Sefton Central Area Committee of Sefton Council.

I covered, on this very blog site, Peter’s efforts to challenge Sefton Council’s emerging Local Plan in March 2015 and here it is:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/03/29/sefton-local-plan-an-excellent-submission-from-a-lydiate-resident/

Unfortunately, Peter’s health went to decline 2 or 3 years back and he died on 9th May. My condolences to his wife Wendy (a Lydiate in Flower volunteer) and her family at this sad time. We have lost a decent man who put a great deal of effort into campaigning for our local environment.