Maureen Fearn – 90 and still going strong

My friend and former fellow Sefton Borough councillor Maureen Fearn celebrated her 90th birthday today and we had a little party in Prezzo Southport to mark the occasion.

Maureen is 2nd from the left.

I blogged about Maureen (and her Brother-in-Law Ronnie) a while back and here’s a link back to that previous posting from March 2016 as they were both retiring from Sefton Council:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/03/26/tribute-to-ronnie-and-maureen-fearn-on-their-retirement-from-sefton-council/

Maureen was first elected to the old Southport Borough Council in 1971 and as noted in my previous posting she retired from Sefton Borough Council in May 2016. Over the years she has spent many hours fundraising for the Mayor of Sefton’s charity and she still does.

If we are all as fit and active as Maureen at the age of 90 life will be good indeed.

Happy Birthday Maureen

Click on the photo to enlarge it

Sefton Council – Draft Strategic Housing Market Assessment Update 2019

The draft report, which is available for comment, is on Sefton Council’s website – see link below:-

www.sefton.gov.uk/shma

This is the general comment I have made in response to the draft assessment:-

I remain concerned that Sefton is not targeting sufficient social housing, single level housing for the elderly/those with disabilities and 1 and 2 bedroomed properties in general both social housing and the ordinary housing market.

At the same time the Council is pursuing building on Green Belt/high grade agricultural land whilst not achieving sufficient housing in the categories I have mentioned above. It is bad enough losing high grade agricultural land to development but doing so whilst not addressing actual housing need in the Borough is particularity upsetting.

I remain far from convinced that building more 3, 4 and 5 bedroomed properties for the normal housing market will in any meaningful way meet actual housing need.

If you wish to comment you can do so by e-mailing this address:-

local.plan@sefton.gov.uk

Formby – Hightown cycle/footpath – It’s well overgrown

A cycle down this path reasonably regularly and it has been getting more and more overgrown this summer, making it difficult in places for cyclists and pedestrians to pass each other not least because much of the overgrowth is nettles. What’s more overhanging branches are also becoming a problem.

I’ve raised the matter with Sefton Council’s Footpaths/Rights of Way Officer.

To be a volunteer litter picker or not?

The other day I was in effect challenged to reconsider my actions by a local resident. My action? To have ‘adopted’ the public footpath which runs from Southport Road to Coppull Road and litter pick it/cut back over-hanging foliage now and again. Indeed, I’ve blogged about this previously – here’s a link back to a posting from October 2018:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/10/05/lydiate-coppull-road-southport-road-footpath/

I think I’ve tidied the path up 3 times now over the past year or so but the challenge is in effect to ask me not to do it as I’m giving Sefton Council the opportunity to get out of doing it. In other words we pay Sefton Council via our council tax so make them keep it clean and tidy. And from a slightly differing perspective but on the same kind of subject a Maghull resident, by coincidence, brought my attention to this recent article* in the Metro newspaper:-

Now I’m a trade unionist by instinct and I spent many years as a trade union officer in the civil service during my working years, so the last thing I would want to do is to compromise the jobs of council employees via my well intentioned volunteer litter picking activities. I hope such an approach would go for all the volunteer litter pickers across Lydiate and many other communities.

Of course we volunteers have started to litter pick because councils have not been doing the work as they once did and yes quite clearly austerity has been the underlying cause of reduced litter picking.

So there we have it. Do volunteer litter pickers stop what they are doing because a) the council is being paid via our council tax so should be forced to get on with the job or b) volunteers may be putting council workers jobs at risk? You could say that both these points could apply of course.

Like many things in life there’s no easy answer and for what it’s worth here’s my view. Sefton Council will not be able to keep this path in the condition that local residents would want to see it because it simply does not have the resources to do so. So on that basis it will only react to issues with footpaths like this when people complain and when the condition of the paths is well past acceptable to locals. It may not be how we want things to be but its how they are though.

Do I think I am putting council jobs art risk? No I don’t unless I see some evidence of this. Do I think the council will now step back in and make the work of litter picking volunteers unnecessary? No I don’t because they are struggling to pay for much bigger issues such as care for the elderly.

Click on the newspaper article to enlarge it

Note: There is a volunteer Lydiate litter picking group who travel across the Parish litter picking – I’m not a part of that group and my litter picking has been as an individual. I do support their work though.

* the article is about Leamington Spar volunteer litter pickers

My thanks to Kevin Duggan for his input into the posting

Sefton Council – Food Waste Collections Cease

3 users of the service, which is no more, have spoken to me in the past couple of days querying why it has stopped. Well apart from a few social media postings from Sefton Councillors, which I’ve have read, I had no more detail.

Clearly folks are both disappointed and more than a bit baffled by the turn of events. I was told by one resident that he had read the article in the Aintree & Maghull Champion a few weeks back saying the service was likely to stop but he was adamant that that same article was promising that folks would be informed when final decisions had been made. He was clearly more than a bit put out to have placed his waste bin outside his house this week only to be told (by a friend who had phoned Sefton Council when their bin was not emptied) that the service had indeed been ceased without the promised publicity.

We are told that the reason for the cessation is manly due to the falling number of residents using the service, but when and how have Sefton Council promoted it especially to new residents moving into the Borough? I’m told that folks have seen furniture vans being loaded with the food waste caddies when some people have moved; probably taking them to their new home within the Borough. But whilst not knowing the scale this has been happening on it will clearly mean that the new residents will not have a bin and may have little or no knowledge of the service. Changes in people paying Council Tax, caused by house moves, would be one obvious opportunity to have advertised and promoted the food waste service to new residents surely.

Clearly this is a step backwards in terms of recycling/environmental progress in the Borough as much as it seems to have been a publicity vacuum too. But my A&M Champion has just dropped through my letter box and the cessation gets a mention in it, although clearly it points towards the lack of notice as being an issue that has upset folk.

And to think that Government is thinking of/consulting on making food waste collections compulsory for all Councils.

Not a good week for Sefton Council……

Lydiate – That Flooding is back on Lambshear Lane AGAIN!

Well this has been quite a saga and it’s still yet to be resolved. I first blogged about this flooding after heavy rain back in December 2015, here’s a link to that posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/12/20/lydiate-flooding-in-lambshear-lane/

Subsequently I’ve blogged and chased up Sefton Council about it a number of times and my Parish Councillor colleague Edie Pope has also been on the case. Back in June of 2018 we reported (on this blog site) the latest position to be like this:-

Cllr. Edie Pope and I have recently heard from Sefton Council’s drainage engineers to the effect that United Utilities have seemingly taken/accepted responsibility for fixing the problem and they are commissioning some works to try to resolve the flooding.

Fingers crossed……….

Well whatever has happened since June of last year it hasn’t fixed the problem which adversely affects road users, pedestrians, householders and Lydiate’s Lambshear Ln/Village Center site. On that basis the flooding has been photoed again and sent off to Sefton Council asking them or indeed United Utilities to try to get the matter fixed; it’s been getting on for 4 years now!