Maghull – Sale of Old library and Stafford Moreton Youth Centre site -The facts need outing

I mentioned not so long ago (15th September) – see link below – that Sefton Council was selling this valuable piece of land in the heart of Maghull’s shopping area:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/09/15/morrisons-maghull-store-to-stay-open-but-whats-happening-around-it/

The sale was approved by the Labour elite running the Council but Labour back-benchers are unhappy and have called for the decision to be brought to a Council Scrutiny Committee. This will happen on 22nd October.

The former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and old Maghull Library stand ripe for redevelopment in the heart of Maghull.

The former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and old Maghull Library stand ripe for redevelopment in the heart of Maghull.

I recall seeing the original public report going before the Cabinet and thought at the time it was a little thin and lacking in the background information you would expect to see when valuable public land is being sold off. It seems my concerns were shared by Labour back-benchers on the Council because they have broken ranks to challenge a decision made by their own elite; a very rare if not unique occurrence in my experience. Normally Labour back-benchers toe the Party line or else so I think we can take it that the Sefton Labour Party is as unhappy as their national colleagues seem to be.

The Labour back-benchers ‘calling in’ the decision have sighted the following reason for the Cabinet decision to sell the land being reviewed by a cross-party Scrutiny Committee:-

“The decision is unsound because not all potentially relevant facts /information were provided to enable the Cabinet to make a balanced
decision”.

Now of course the Scrutiny Committee has a Labour majority and a Labour Chair so the Labour Party will in effect be scrutinising themselves! This is what goes for democracy in Sefton it would seem.

But the point of this posting is really this; why was the report to Cabinet so brief and lacking in detail about the tendering exercise? Who were the bidders? What were the amounts bid? Has value for money been achieved? Is the land being sold for a purpose commensurate with the best interests of Maghull’s (and indeed the Borough’s) residents and Maghull’s shopping centre?

My view, based on what I have managed to glean so far, is that the Council has put itself in a position whereby people are questioning what it is doing because it has seemingly tried not to put relevant information in the public domain.

Of course folks may well not be surprised at the secrecy of the one-party ruled Labour Council where decisions are are so poorly detailed that Joe and Jane Public would really have no idea what was going on in their name. But as I pointed out above even back-bench comrades are asking questions and doing so in public! Does that mean they have not got answers by asking their bosses face to face so they are putting those rather uncomradely bosses in a public forum to try to extract the information? Will anesthetics be required to combat the Labour pains?

Let’s get this out in the open and be told what the Sefton Council has done, why it had done it and gain an undertaking that ‘say nothing reports’ will no longer be put before the public of the Borough. Of course, there may be more to fall out of this, time will tell.