Fracking on our doorstep – The opposition is getting organised

I suppose that fracking was always going to appear locally following Government giving out licences to companies wanting to explore for shale gas. Trouble is the wider political establishment is wedded to this source of fuel, which is far from being a green/renewable source of energy.

My previous posting on this subject was in January of this year and it is accessible via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/01/06/fracking-its-getting-closer-exploratory-drilling-in-great-altcar-is-on-the-agenda/

Opposition locally is being led by ‘The Moss Alliance’ who held a public event in Haskayne Village Hall on 10th February.

On 4th January 2018 Aurora Energy Resources submitted a scoping request to Lancashire County Council. This is the stage before submitting a planning application. They want to dill 2 boreholes on Altcar Moss. The site is more or less level with Formby and to the east of it inland. Please note the site is actually within Lancashire (due to the most odd local government boundaries locally) not Sefton but Formby will be the biggest community that is nearest to the site.

Lancashire already has experience of dealing with shale gas exploration and drilling due to the Cuadrilla site near Blackpool which has had a great deal of coverage in the media.

I understand that Aurora will be holding their own public event, also at Haskayne Village Hall, on 17th February.

A final goodbye to Jim Byrne

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It was Jim’s funeral today and it was nice to see so many folks turning out to pay their respects to a chap who had dedicated much of his life to the Maghull and wider Sefton Borough community.

Both the current Mayors of Sefton and Maghull were there as well as 2 former Sefton Mayors and 4 former Maghull Mayors, so Jim was getting a great send off.

Here are a few photos about Jim’s work on the council. The first photo is of the 1984 opening ceremony of Maghull Town Hall and Jim is 3rd from the left:-

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Here’s a shot of the past Mayor’s board at Maghull Town Hall. As you can see Jim was Mayor in 1975/76:-

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And Jim was Chair of the National Association of Larger Local Councils in 2003 and the plates below were presented to him by Barry Town Council in South Wales. They remain on display in the Council Chamber of Maghull Town Hall:-

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Jim really was a nice chap whom everyone liked and it was fitting that someone who had done so much for his community was given such a great send off. Indeed, I think it was goodbye to ‘Mr Maghull’.

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Jim with former local councillor Sylvia Mainey at the site of the former Lydiate Voluntary Youth Club prior to Lydiate Village Centre being built.

Jim with former local councillor Sylvia Mainey at the site of the former Lydiate Voluntary Youth Club prior to Lydiate Village Centre being built.

A am sad to have to report that former Maghull councillor Jim Byrne died on 31st December.

Jim had been a local councillor on Maghull Town Council, Sefton Borough Council and Lydiate Parish Council over many, many years. Indeed, he was first elected to Maghull Town Council in the early 1960 if memory serves.

Jim and I sharing a moment together.

Jim and I sharing a moment together.

Jim was fun to be around as he would often have some amusing remark to make about any situation. I recall his legendary old Ford Cortina car. Well put it this way it was old, probably one of the first off the production line, but he kept it going for years. Andrew Blackburn, Robbie Fenton and I thought he had bricks in it for suspension as the ride across The Moss to Southport for Sefton Council meetings was like a fairground ride!

Jim at the then derelict site of the former Albany Cinema, where Lidl is now of course.

Jim at the then derelict site of the former Albany Cinema, where Lidl is now of course.

I understand he had been a county level table tennis player in his younger days. Later in life he would really enjoy the quizzes that used to be held at Maghull Town Hall each Wednesday night where he could often be found deep in conversation with Charles (Uncle Albert) Walker about their time doing National Service. Yes, neither of them were actually taking a great deal of notice of the actual quiz, that was left to Andrew Beattie, Andrew Blackburn, myself and whomever else had turned out for our ‘Nutters’ quiz team.

Jim was a Maghull Town Council member when Maghull Town Hall was planned for and built and if you ever pop in there look out for the photo of the opening of the building in the foyer as Jim is on it.

He was also a member of Lydiate Parish Council when the successful campaign was launched to build what is now Lydiate Village Centre on Lambshear Lane, on the site of the former Lydiate Voluntary Youth Club. And he was a member of both Maghull Town and Sefton Borough Councils as we fought to get Meadows Leisure Centre & Library built by Sefton Council.

One part of the work of local councils that Jim loved was dealing with planning applications and he rose to become the Chairman of Sefton Council’s Planning Committee. I think he enjoyed that more than anything.

There can be few people indeed who have been involved in the work of local councils in this area from the 1960’s to early 2000’s who will not have known Jim. I think it is fair to say that I have never come across anyone who did not like Jim.

He often said that he was no politician and in many ways never a truer word has been spoken as Jim just liked doing things for the community. From my perspective it is nice to celebrate the life of a really nice chap who did his bit for his community.

Jim leaves behind a loving family whom he would constantly chatter about when in company. He clearly thought a lot of them and them of him.

Maghull’s Public Toilets – Is Maghull Town Council about to ride in to save them?

There has been much debate, especially on Maghull’s Facebook community pages about the state of and indeed future of the public toilet block in Maghull’s Leighton Avenue which serves the Town’s shopping centre.

I have mentioned these toilets many times before on this blog site, toilets which were once award winning in the 1980’s but that have sadly been in a steady decline ever since.

They have in fact been closed recently due to vandalism and this was the scene on 29th December – They were very firmly locked up:-

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When I was a member of Maghull Town Council and I could see the decline in the toilets and wanted to do something about it. Indeed, I made a proposal to the Council on 24th July 2013 – it read ‘To support an MTC [Maghull Town Council] capital investment in Maghull’s rather down at heel public toilets in Leighton Avenue, with the aim of working up a project in partnership with Sefton Council to restore these public toilets to their previous award winning condition’.

And here we are some 3 and half years later and Maghull’s public toilets are even more run down, vandalised and sadly closed.

These toilets were not looking good back in 2012

These toilets were not looking good back in 2012

There’s a danger here that I just shout ‘I told you so and you did nothing’ but that would be churlish. Yes, of course I am disappointed that nothing happened following my putting down a resolution for the Town Council to take action BUT three and a half years on it just could be that that the Town Council is about to step in.

Word is that Maghull Town Council has meetings planned for January 2017 with Sefton Borough Council and London & Cambridge Properties (they own the shopping centre) with a view to the Town Council potentially taking a part or even a lead in the issue of toilet provision for Maghull’s shopping centre.

Watch this space……………..

Lydiate – A lovely oasis amongst its urban surroundings

A posted not so long ago about the compliments paid to Lydiate Parish Council by a local resident regarding the piece of land it looks after at the junction of Nedens Lane and Southport Road.

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The history of this spot is that it was once ‘maintained’ by Sefton Borough Council but hardly well. So it came to pass that the Parish Council decided to take it on and these days it looks lovely.

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It is maintained by the small Lydiate Parish Council workforce of 3 and I thought their hard work justified some decent photos of it, or at least the best I can take.

The photos are amongst my Flickr shots at:-

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

Maghull – Meadows courtyard in volunteers sights

The courtyard that was created when Maghull’s Meadows Leisure Centre was constructed behind Maghull Town Hall is rather nice although sadly only rarely used. Here are 3 photos:-

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When the Leisure Centre was built after 20 or more years of campaigning, which had the privilege to lead, the idea was that the Town Hall (run by Maghull Town Council) and Meadows Leisure Centre would be jointly run but from the public’s perception it would be a seamless joined up indoor Leisure facility. Sadly that vision has yet to be realised and the two buildings, despite being connected at both levels, often have the feel of being awkward neighbours – engaged but not willing to set the date you might say.

One thing that I thought was very clear from day one was that Maghull Town Council would do all the grounds maintenance work around the Leisure Centre, after all it is their land that is leased to Sefton Council for Meadows and its car park. But for reasons unknown this plan never really came together and the planting in the courtyard is, you could say, a victim of this lack of clarity.

Yes Sefton Council’s staff have had the odd prod at maintaining it but it clearly needs a little more attention than that. Step in Maghull in Bloom Volunteers who have agreed to try to look after the area on behalf of Sefton or is Maghull Town Council? Well whomever it is behalf of the work of the volunteers has already started.

The day I took these photos in September it was a delightful place to sit with a cup of coffee yet the door to it from Meadows is rarely if ever opened, even on nice days. I do hope Sefton Council gives some consideration to welcoming Leisure Centre and Town Hall users to visit it after all that’s what it was created for.