Maghull/Lydiate* – What was the thinking when the Turnbridge Road site was picked for development?

You only have to pick up a copy of the Aintree & Maghull Champion newspaper or look at comments on the Maghull Community Facebook page to see how troublesome this site is proving to be during the early stages of construction work to realise what a tough site it was always going to be to build on.

And before you think oh here’s that damn environmental campaigner going on about stopping development and building on agricultural land again just bear with me…..

When Sefton Council chose the sites that it was willing to take out of Green Belt/allow to be built upon in its Local Plan, why was this site picked?

I ask because it has proven to be a devil of a site to develop due to the restricted access to it. What with a weight limited canal swing bridge, narrow estate roads & country lanes and two primary schools to negotiate those of us with local knowledge have been left scratching our heads. For less than 50 housing units it makes you wonder what the imperative was to get this particular site built upon.

Now don’t get me wrong I was an opponent of Sefton’s Local Plan whilst I was on the Borough Council (until 2015) and continued to fight it (in my capacity as a Lydiate Parish Councillor) after I left that Council and yes I have ranted many times about why we need to protect things like high grade agricultural land from being built on. But that’s not my point here. Putting to one side feelings about the rights and wrongs of building on Green Belt and agricultural land, which grows the food we eat, why from a strategic planning perspective did Sefton Council prioritise this oh so difficult site above other alternatives?

Answers on a post card to Sefton Planning Dept…….

Oh, and by the way, I’m guessing that the ‘temporary’ road speed markings down the rural part Green Lane are associated with trying to control construction traffic accessing the site?

*Note:- The site is being accessed through Maghull’s streets and lanes but it’s actually wholly within Lydiate.

Crosby – What will become of that lovely old library

The now closed former College Road Library in Crosby is of course a Carnegie Library and it’s a building of some merit. So sad to see it stranding there empty. Out of the shot is a Sefton Council ‘To Let’ sign.

It’s not so long ago (2012) that a fierce community-based campaign was run to save the library from closure – I covered the campaign on this blog site – see link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2012/11/22/save-our-libraries-a-look-at-college-road-library-in-crosby-sign-our-e-petition-at-www-seftonsays-co-uk/

I really do hope that a useful purpose can be found for this listed building, a long slow decline with minimum maintenance would be a terrible end.

Maghull – A wildflower meadow for Stafford Moreton Way

This is a piece of land which I have blogged about before – August 2017. Here’s a link back to that posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/08/09/maghull-weeds-festooned-around-new-home-bargains-site/

And now the good news, because unconnected with my previous moaning about the state of the site, a group of volunteers has come together to tackle the unkempt plot of land and I’ve been asked to publicise their project.

www.spacehive.com/stafford-moreton

This week they launched a crowd funding campaign to raise over £6000 before 31 October, to improve the beginning of Stafford Moreton Way. Sefton Council award up to £5000 or 40% of the target fund (whichever is the lesser) and the volunteers have progressed their application through to the 1.4.19 deadline set by the Council. My understanding is that Sefton make their decision for funding just prior to 10.5.19, basing their funding awards mainly on community engagement, indicated by the number of ‘likes’ and ‘pledges’. Consequently, the volunteers urgently need to generate as many of the likes and pledges before the May decision, as they anticipate this is their best chance to obtain a significant amount of funding towards their target.

If you feel, like I do, that this is a worthwhile project, please consider backing it and spread the word around as many local people as you know. I will certainly be letting the Maghull in Bloom team, that I’m a part of, know about it. The minimum pledge that can be made is £2 but a ‘like’ can also be really useful so here’s a link to the web site where you can back the project:-

www.spacehive.com/stafford-moreton

And here’s a note in more detail from volunteer Frank Sharp about the project:-

‘I can imagine, (like myself) that initially people may think introducing a wildflower meadow to such a prominent large area could look as unkempt as the original concerns in 2018. But if you look on the website under the timeline entitled ‘Journey’ there is a subtitle – ‘Our Plan’ hopefully gives a reassuring explanation. In essence, both sides will have an oval shaped area of medium-sized trees, under planted with 1000 Bluebell bulbs and under covered by bark chippings, the circumferences of these areas will have a 2 m and a 1 m strip on each side of the road respectively comprising of wildflower turf (which will not look as scruffy as wildflower seeds), the backdrop on the smaller left-hand side plot will have 28 m of blackthorn hedge. The company providing the wildflower turf are the same ones that created the amazing wildflowers at the London Olympic Park.

We negotiated the plan with Mersey Forest who came to the site in February and donated the trees and hedging. They also suggested planting in the National tree week in November. We have also been amazed by the generosity of the Ashworth hospital gardeners who have volunteered to undertake the work in one day utilising their staff and machinery. However, we are keeping the news about Mersey Forest and Ashworth hospital, quiet for another media release to maintain some media momentum. London and Cambridge Properties have given permission following reassurances about maintenance liability and where obviously pleased that it may in fact reduce the level of maintenance due to the reduced grass areas to be cut, whilst the wildflower turf as you demonstrated with the scythe video (Cheshire lines) generally only needs cutting once a year, and hopefully the bark chippings should suppress any weeds.

It is quite a responsibility, to shape such a prominent area, but hopefully this should be a change for the better.

One of the more touching donation pledges was made by my disabled nephew in Devon (who contracted meningitis at two years of age, which left him with multiple disabilities connected to cerebral palsy and has had a lifetime of crowdfunding initiatives for himself and others) who when he asked what I would like for my 60th birthday. I said, just a couple of quid for this project. His response was £60, £1 for each year of my life!’

And finally a flash back to October 2014 when the old library and former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre were still standing:-

It’s a radically different view now but the plot of land for the wildflower meadow is the piece of greenspace in the front center of this now historical view.

Sefton Council provides FUN?

I came across this graphic recently and I must say that I scratched my head over the FUN one:-

In my day as a Sefton Councillor we didn’t have a Department for Fun. How times change, but hang on what Fun is the Council actually providing? Well the recent council tax bill is very far from being fun:-((

Also, how jolly is the Cabinet Member who has Fun in their portfolio? And what about how the council is assessed for the level of fun it provides? Are all wards in the Borough meeting the minimum Fun criteria?

It’s a funny old world…………….

Sefton Borough Council – Fly-tipping costs us all a fortune

The Liverpool Echo has a story about it on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/shameful-photos-show-disgusting-piles-15929007

I’ve had a good rant about this on many previous occasions and the problem is rampant across the country of course, so Sefton is sadly not in any way unique.

But what really gets me is that between Councils and the Environment Agency there’s far too little mobile covert CCTV coverage of sites where regular fly-tipping problems are the greatest. And I admit that in my time as a Sefton Councillor I failed to push the powers that be into more intelligent reactions to this ever seemingly worsening situation.

Regular convictions of fly-tippers in the local press would work wonders because it would deter others from following them. What makes the situation all the more ridiculous is that because of my cycling around Sefton and West Lancs I see what has been dumped and very often it is stuff that could easily be disposed of at local Recycling Centre at no cost at all! Yes I know there are those businesses tipping tyres, asbestos and indeed even the by-products to cannabis farms but much of what I see on my travels is ordinary household rubbish, furniture and building rubble and it strikes me that the dumpers are just too idle to take it to a Recycling Centre.

I realise that it would cost money to set up a mobile covert CCTV unit but surely the Councils across say Merseyside, working with the Environment Agency could put something in place which would eventually pay for itself by far less fly-tipped rubbish having to be removed from back alleys and country lanes. This is not rocket science surely, is it?

Rant over, for now……..

Rimrose Valley – Sadly it’s under threat but here’s a lovely tribute to it

Rimrose Valley Country Park map.

Some years back Sefton Council’s then Technical Services Traffic Services Unit produced, in conjunction with The Countryside Commission, a quite beautiful set of walking booklets* which are pieces of artwork in their own right.

I blogged about another of the walks (No.7 in the series – The Maghull Trail) not so long ago – here’s a link to it:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/02/06/whats-the-connection-between-mellings-waddicar-lane-and-maghulls-woodend-avenue/

But back to the Rimrose Valley, which I cycle through regularly. The threat is of course a new road to the Port of Liverpool that Highways England says it is going to build down through the County Park despite almost total opposition across the community and political spectrum locally to the project. But this posting is not another of my rants against the ruining of this lovely countryside oasis but a celebration of this green lung in the densely populated southern part of Sefton Borough.

Here’s the cover of the walking booklet:-

And two pages which to me are a lovely tribute to Rimrose Valley Country Park:-

The Rimrose Valley Friends are a volunteer group who promote the Valley and who lead the campaigning against the new road, here’s a link to their work:-

www.rimrosevalleyfriends.org/

Click on the map and the scanned pages of the walking booklet to enlarge them for reading.

An idyllic view of Rimrose Valley Country Park

* Sadly the booklets are out of print now