Double Rating in Sefton – My letter to the Champion Newspaper

Dear Sir,

I support Independent Sefton Park Ward Cllr Andy Wilson’s campaigning for Double Rating payments to be reinstated from Sefton Council to those parish councils who maintain their own parks and gardens as without it the council taxpayers of those communities are paying twice.

When I was a Sefton Cllr. and Leader of Sefton Council I ensured that those payments were improved to reflect the real costs of maintaining parks and gardens in Lydiate, Maghull & Aintree Village. That was around 2007, but sadly in around 2013, after I’d stepped down as Sefton Leader, the payments were stopped altogether creating great injustice. I opposed the stopping of payments and wrote Lydiate’s Parish Council’s submission* to the ‘consultation’ prior to them being stopped.

Since then Maghull, Lydiate and Aintree Village Parish Councils have lost many, many thousands of pounds and have had to fund all their parks and gardens maintenance from the separate precept those councils raise on their council taxpayers. It has meant that in these communities residents have been paying their respective parish councils who do look after their parks and gardens and also Sefton Council who don’t!

What possessed Sefton to stop the payments completely, baffles me as the formula agreed in around 2007 was meant to be flexible in that the money paid (revenue and capital) to the parish councils was meant to reflect what the Borough Council would spend on those parks and gardens if it was responsible for them. So if Sefton reduced expenditure on the parks and gardens it runs, then the payments to the parishes would drop proportionately. Of course, the opposite would apply too.

The irony of some Labour politicians jumping up and down over the matter now is not lost on me though, as it was Labour-run Sefton that stopped the payments in the first place!

Yours sincerely

Tony Robertson
Former Leader of Sefton Council

* My posting of 14th Feb 2022 refers

The letter was published on 16th March 20222

Sefton Village – That Sefton Mill heritage project again

I have commented on the this project before and having been told that work on the Mill site had been completed I decided to have a look.

A view across the site with Sefton Church behind the camera. The clods of soil/grass on the hard landscaped pathways, which are meant to represent where the walls of the mill were, are evident.

A view across the site with Sefton Church behind the camera. The clods of soil/grass on the hard landscaped pathways, which are meant to represent where the walls of the mill were, are evident.

I must say I am disappointed about two aspects and I have a question over a third.

One of the two interpretation boards on site. Odd they are not inclined and they have sharp edges.

One of the two interpretation boards on site. Odd they are not inclined and they have sharp edges.

Firstly, the two interpretation boards are very good in terms of the information they contain. But they are vertical rather than inclined as you would expect interpretation boards to be – I wonder why? What’s more they look like they could well be a hazard especially to children as they have very sharp metal corners and are low down.

My other concern is that the soft landscaping looks a little messy, as though not enough care has been taken with it. Clods of soil and grass have spread over the hard landscaping pathways and it does not look good.

Finally, I wonder what the long-term maintenance regime will be for the site as it’s clearly intended to be a publicly accessible space. It must have a robust maintenance regime in place, particularly with regard to grass cutting so that the layout of the old buildings is clear .

Aintree & Maghull Champion takes up residents being expected to pay twice plan of Sefton Council

http://issuu.com/championnewspapers/docs/131001175426-88439fe4814f4674a99e8a541c340b2b?e=8170351/5053485

I am so pleased that the Champion has decided to highlight this problem which will end up with Maghull, Lydiate and Aintree Village Council tax payers paying twice for a service delivered just the once!

My previous posting of 26th September and others before that refer.

By the way the article says the Labour Leader is inviting me to propose that the Council considers taking forward a judicial review when that is exactly what I did ask them to do at the Council meeting on 18th September.