2016 – A year to forget? Well yes, but there was the odd glimmer of hope

BAD NATIONAL & GLOBAL EVENTS

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* Given the biggest self-destruct button the UK electorate has probably ever been tempted by i.e the EU referendum – they pressed it!

* Sociopath Trump wins in America, seemingly with help from Putin in the Cremlin!

* We manage to get rid of a centrist (for a Conservative that is), if hardly competent, Tory Prime Minister (Cameron) for him to be replaced by someone who looks utterly lost, is in a job probably well above her pay grade and who is riding us off into a inglorious right wing sunset!

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* Our NHS and elderly social care system has been systematically neglected and left to wither on the vine by our clueless government whilst we chuck goodness knows how much money on a replacement for the Trident nuclear missile programme that will never be used. There are guilty people in all political parties over this.

AND GOOD NATIONAL & GLOBAL THINGS?

* Well Lib Dem anti-Brexit candidate Sarah Olney winning the Richmond Park Parliamentary by-election comes to mind.

* The beating the right took in the Austrian Presidential election was a pleasant if somewhat surprising turn of events.

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* Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shining a light for tolerant, inclusive and progressive politics from over the pond in Canada. Is there anyone else in power on the global stage who can match his progressive approach to running a country?

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* The low and high of Notts and England batsman James Taylor being struck down by an almost fatal undiagnosed heart condition and then him coming through it. Yes we have lost on brilliant batsman but so glad he is still alive. And yes I am an Notts supporter.

AND LOCAL LOWS AND HIGHS?

Inside the Youth Coffee Bar after a refurb' a few years ago

Inside the Youth Coffee Bar after a refurb’ a few years ago

* LOW – We had the depressing news that Labour-run Maghull Town Council was finally killing-off the innovative Youth Coffee Bar in Maghull Town Hall which local youngsters had started 20+ years ago. And hey what a surprise (NOT) anti-social behaviour is a problem in the area of Maghull where it once operated!

St Catherine's otherwise know as Lydiate Abbey

St Catherine’s otherwise know as Lydiate Abbey

* HIGH – The ‘Friends of the Abbey’ in Lydiate gaining a Lottery grant to start the process of trying to conserve and preserve the ruins of St Catherine’s Chapel for future generations.

Former Maghull/Lydiate Borough Councillor Robbie Fenton with the petition she raised to try to save the Leighton Ave toilets a few years ago. Sadly they are all but gone now via neglect and vandalism.

Former Maghull/Lydiate Borough Councillor Robbie Fenton with the petition she raised to try to save the Leighton Ave toilets a few years ago. Sadly they are all but gone now via neglect and vandalism.

* LOW – The running down of and then appalling vandalism to Maghull’s once award winning public toilets in Leighton Avenue.

The long view of 2016 winter planting down Westway looking from the Leighton Ave junction towards the A59 Northway.

The long view of 2016 winter planting down Westway looking from the Leighton Ave junction towards the A59 Northway.

* HIGH – The continuing success of the Maghull in Bloom and Maghull Station Volunteers as they try to improve Maghull’s environment.

A Maghull Town Council leaflet from 1998 - Strangely this time round the now Labour-run Town Council did not fight the Green Belt grab.

A Maghull Town Council leaflet from 1998 – Strangely this time round the now Labour-run Town Council did not fight the Green Belt grab.

* LOW – The rubber stamping of the Sefton Local Plan which will ruin Green Belt and kill off some of the 2% highest grade of agricultural land in England. A black cloud for for environmental campaigners indeed.

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* HIGH – The Bicentenary celebrations of the completion of the Leeds Liverpool Canal

On a personal note the start of 2016 was grim as I attended 4 funerals of people I knew in the first 4 months – former Lib Dem Councillors Joan Blackburn, David Rimmer and Kath Jones together with Lib Dem activist Susan Ashton. It finished with a further death this time of a relative in December whose funeral I could not get to because of traffic jams on the M6. But of course there were personal highs as well –

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* Being invited to play Santa for a session to help Maghull & Aughton Rotary Club and Maghull in Bloom fund raise was great fun.

Me sat in my old choir stall  at Sefton Church. I recall sitting in this very seat - if memory serves at all of course - it was over 40 years ago!

Me sat in my old choir stall at Sefton Church. I recall sitting in this very seat – if memory serves at all of course – it was over 40 years ago!

* Being invited to rejoin the choir of St Helen’s Church in Sefton Village, where I had been a choirboy in 1970, despite being an atheist was lovely. Obviously I politely declined.

Carl Cashman for Mersey Metro Mayor Launch 08 16 - Credit Charlie Green

* Helping a great young man to be selected as Lib Dem candidate for the Liverpool City Region Mayoral election to be held in May 2017. Carl Cashman is that young man. I have known him for some years now and am delighted he will be on the ballot paper.

Iain Brodie Brown - Mayor of Sefton at the Leeds Liverpool Canal Bicentenary celebrations in Maghull

Iain Brodie Brown – Mayor of Sefton at the Leeds Liverpool Canal Bicentenary celebrations in Maghull

* My old chum Iain Brodie Browne becoming Mayor of Sefton. A Liberal down to his boots and one of the most radical, capable and compassionate politicians I have ever come across.

So sadly 2016 has been a year of some very significant lows indeed. Some of those lows we will be grappling with the consequences of for maybe 10 years or more. Fortunately the odd bit of good news did filter through but surely 2017 has to be better?

Lydiate – Carols & Bells to raise funds to save Lydiate Abbey

No sooner had I mentioned Lydiate Abbey (last posting) than I am asked to help the Friends of the Abbey publicise their Carols & Bells event to be held at the Scotch Piper Inn on Wednesday 7th December at 7.30pm.

Lydiate Abbey - a winter shot

Lydiate Abbey – a winter shot

I am informed it will be a sing along to all your favourite carols and Christmas songs and that all the money raised will go towards saving Lydiate Abbey and improving its surrounding area.

Lydiate – St Catherine’s Chapel – Parish Council to continue grounds maintenance

St Catherine's otherwise know as Lydiate Abbey

St Catherine’s otherwise know as Lydiate Abbey

Lydiate Parish Council has long maintained the grounds around this lovely listed ancient monument in Lydiate’s Conservation Area. The PC cuts the grass empties the litter bin etc.

The site is in the ownership of Liverpool Catholic Arch-Diocese and Sefton Borough Council has a hand in the management of the site too. And, of course, there’s the voluntary group – Friends of the Abbey which has been formed. That group has recently gained a £7,000+ grant from Heritage Lottery to fund a detailed assessment of the condition of the ruins with a view to trying to preserve them for future generations.

The latest issue was that the maintenance agreement for the Parish Council to undertake grass cutting etc. had come to an end but at the last PC meeting on 22nd November there was agreement for the PC to continue to provide such support.

If you are interested in joining the volunteer group their e-mail address is:-

friendsoftheabbey@btinternet.com

Lydiate – Keeping up appearances (and safety) in the parks and gardens

Lydiate Parish Council presently has children’s play areas with equipment at Sandy Lane Park, Kenyons Park and Ridgeway Park, it also has outdoor fitness equipment on the site of Lydiate Village Centre.

This is Ridgeway Park otherwise know as Coronation Park.

This is Ridgeway Park otherwise know as Coronation Park.

All this equipment needs to be maintained and the Parish Council approved expenditure of over £800 at its October meeting to address repair and maintenance issues identified in a recent inspection report.

Lydiate PC grounds maintenance staff at work in Liverpool Road outside St. Gregs Church.

Lydiate PC grounds maintenance staff at work in Liverpool Road outside St. Gregs Church.

On a wider maintenance front, across all the areas the Parish Council presently looks after within Lydiate, this scan of a report to the October Parish Council meeting from the Head Groundsman shows what he and his 2 co-workers do within the community:-

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Click on the report to enlarge it for reading

St Catherine's otherwise know as Lydiate Abbey

St Catherine’s Chapel otherwise known as Lydiate Abbey

Lydiate Abbey and the Conservation Area it sits in – Posting No. 2

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I posted quite recently about damage to the ruins of Lydiate Abbey which could have been an attempt to extract some dressed stone from it. Here is a link back to my original posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/06/06/lydiate-abbey-damage-caused-by-stone-removal/

The latest on the damage is that after a bit more digging into the situation things seems to be like this.

Sefton’s Council’s Conservation Offer was aware of previous similar damage to the Abbey and was in the process of agreeing a repair process with the Catholic Archdiocese, who are the owners of the site/ruins. If I have understood the position correctly a further inspection of the ruins has now taken place as a consequence of the alarm being raised by Cllr. Edie Pope being contacted by the member of the public as mentioned in my original posting. Further repairs have been identified and and the Archdiocese will be engaging a specialist repair contractor to deal with the damage. I also understand that Sefton Council will pay for the repairs.

Just to clarify some things from my original posting – Sefton Council has an agreement with the Archdiocese about maintenance of the stonework of the ruins but this comes to an end later this year. Indications are that it will not be renewed by Sefton. Lydiate Parish Council is involved in a sub-lease for it to do the grounds maintenance – grass cutting, litter removal etc. It is because of the impending end to this agreement that the Friends of the Abbey (Dave Russell’s voluntary Group) are trying to sort out a new agreement with the Catholic Archdiocese for sustainable management of the ruins and site for the future. It is this later process that is worryingly stuck at present.

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If you would like to know more about Lydiate’s Conservation Area please follow the link below:-

sefton.gov.uk/conservationareas

When you reach the page please scroll down until you see Lydiate Hall and Chapel Conservation Area and click on that link.

This quote from the document on Sefton’s web site is sadly quite telling:-

Consolidation of the ruin has taken place during the 20t century; however ongoing vandalism, stone-robbing and the natural process of deterioration mean that the ruin needs careful and consistent management.

The photos above are also amongst my Flickr photos at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

I hope I now have presented a clearer/fuller picture of this issue but please shout if not.