Lydiate – The racetrack called Southport Road

Cllr. Edie Pope outside her Southport Road farm shop. The notorious accident black spot is in the background.

This week’s Champion newspaper is highlighting the dangerous nature of Lydiate’s Southport Road and they are to be congratulated on an excellent article by reporter Danielle Thompson.

The vast majority of Southport Road has a 30mph limit – that’s not a target but a maximum! Frankly, the reality is that the road is little more than a racetrack from the Maghull boundary with few vehicles keeping to the maximum speed. The part of it which is 40mph runs from Lydiate Abbey to the Merseyside boundary just past St Thomas’ Church where the road becomes Mairscough Lane. It is this latter section where Cllr. Edie Pope has her farm and shop and where she fought to get the speed limit reduced to 40mph a few years back due to the number and regularity of serious accidents. Despite Edie’s efforts, this 40 mph section is also a racetrack and not so long ago Lydiate Parish Council called upon Merseyside Police to take enforcement action to try to curb excessive speeding.

Here’s Danielle’s excellent article:-

Nice to see a really good piece of local journalism – the late Jim Sharpe would have been proud of Danielle.

‘And he drove the fastest milkcart in the west’ – and serious speeding matters too

Edie Pope’s scarecrow traffic cop on Southport Road Lydiate, which is meant to make drivers think about their speed.

Yes a line from that well known Benny Hill song. But the other day whilst on one of my solo fitness cycle rides I came across a rival to Ernie (for that was the name of the fastest milkman in the west) on Northway/A59 in Aughton.

I was just about to exit Winifred Lane when down the hill from the Ormskirk direction came a milk float doing a fair old lick. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one doing more than 15 mph and that with a following wind too. But the ‘souped up’ one I saw made me smile and that daft old song came back to mind.

Then a few days later another surprising experience with another vehicle we usually see going very slowly – a bin wagon. But this one was out at 8.30pm (never seen one out that late before) and it hurtled along Southport Road, Lydiate in a northerly direction at what must have been well above the 30mph speed limit. Indeed, it went so fast I could not read the signs upon it!

But it was not your usual Sefton Council bin wagon; much smaller and probably with a ‘Jaguar engine’ added to give Police cars a run for their money:-) Again the experience made me smile but this time grimace as well.

These two somewhat bizarre events happened with our roads being generally very quiet as a consequence of our health crisis. But sadly there is a real issue underneath as speeding in this crisis is happening everywhere and most of the time. Clear roads have given petrol heads or at least the most irresponsible of them what they think is a green light to drive at whatever speed suits them and beggar the consequences/speed limits.

Being a cyclist I notice speeding and frankly the antics are off the scale during this crisis whether it be in a ‘bin lorry’ or a car. It’s ironic that at the request of a fellow Lydiate Parish Councillor, Neil Spencer, Merseyside Police had a speed trap on Southport Road in Lydiate just before our health crisis hit. Now we have far less vehicles on this busy road but many of them have drivers with their clog firmly down to the boards. If this continues there’s bound to be a terrible accident……..

Stop Press – An as if to emphasise the point I’ve been trying to make about speeding a lady driver nearly did for me on the Ashworth Motorway junction this morning. Due to the road works around the junction the contractors temporarily sealed off the access to the cycle track around it about a week ago. This in turn forces cyclists onto the island itself and what I’ve always got my eye out for happened this morning i.e. a car from the Melling direction came hurtling around the island and found me crossing the entrance to the eastbound carriageway of the M58. But not content with having to slow down to avoid me she then blew her horn as if I had no right to be there! I was cycling around a roundabout for goodness sake, that meant I had right of way. OL she was just a bad tempered driver but if she had not been driving so fast……. Oh and by the way where are the signs warning drivers that cyclists will be in the road? If there are any I didn’t see them.

Lydiate (and everywhere else) – The quest for speed and how it impacts on our lives

Southport Road, Lydiate

This is a matter I have oft thought about and not necessarily in the way you might think.

Yes, we all see the mad drivers blasting through our communities at a rate of knots neither aware or caring about the potential consequences of their actions. Indeed, in my own community of Lydiate there are growing concerns from Joe and Jane Public about irresponsible speeding along Southport Road and Moss Lane and I’m quite sure others can add to these two roads.

To his credit local Labour Parish Councillor Neil Spencer is trying to get the powers that be (Sefton Council and Merseyside Police) to address this problem and I’m with him all the way. I’ve previously tried to get Moss Lane’s speeding addressed and the rural part of it was reduced to 40mph a few years back. And my Parish Council colleague Edie Pope campaigned for the speed restriction to be reduced to 40mph along the section of Southport Road where it becomes Mairscough Lane because it’s a notorious accident black spot near the junction with Church Lane. But, and its a big but, bringing in lower speed restrictions does not stop the mad drivers who want to blast along at 50, 60 or even 70mph as they don’t really care. So good luck to Neil, let’s have another go at trying to make Lydiate’s roads safer.

Edie Pope outside her Southport Road farm shop. The notorious accident black spot is in the background.

But to me this speeding problem is probably far more deeply seated in our way of life than we may realise. Everything has to be quick, immediate and now. Our working lives are all about doing things faster to save costs and boost productivity. We leave too shorter time to get from one place to another, probably because we are either too optimistic about how long a journey will take or because everything we do is at 90mph so to speak. In turn all this causes much stress an anxiety so should we really be surprised if it produces more and more racing car drivers on our streets? Just a thought……..

Edie Pope’s scarecrow traffic cop from 2019, which was meant to make drivers think about their speed.

Lydiate – If I’d Looked up I might well have noticed! – Coppull Rd – Southport Rd path

There’s a street lamp in that tree somewhere

No sooner had I posted about the street lamp in the Lambshear Lane – Nornmington Close footpath being covered by the tree canopy than a resident contacted me to say the same is true of the 2 lamps on the Southport Road – Coppull Road footpath.

How I’d not noticed this myself I don’t know as I use the footpath and litter pick it. It seems I’ve simply not looked up and of course have not used it in the hours of darkness.

I’ve asked Borough Cllr. Pat O’Hanlon to take this up as with the other path.

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

Lydiate – Haven Walk Hedging sorted

I posted a while back about the hedge which fronts Southport Road as it was overgrowing the pavement. My previous posting refers – see link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/12/17/lydiate-haven-walk-hedging/

The hedge has now been thinned out by One Vision Housing’s contractor and all is well. Thanks One Vision for getting the work done.