Maghull – Update on Stafford Moreton Way & Woodend environmental projects

Here’s an update on two significant Maghull environmental projects which are presently being pursued by the Friends of Maghull & District and which I thought were worth shouting about. I don’t have any direct involvement in either project [only so many hours in each day:-)] so any queries are best directed to Frank Sharp – woodendcwp@gmail.com – who leads on these matters.

Here’s the update:-

Thank you very much for your kind past support towards the ongoing Stafford Moreton Way Wildflower Project in 2019/20. We would like to take the opportunity to provide an update and to encourage you to support our latest project which is currently at 97% of its target total, leaving an outstanding £678.

Firstly, we hope you have been coping with the pandemic challenges and that our letter finds you in good spirits.

The Stafford Moreton Way Wildflower Project had two stages: (1) November 2019 involved removing turf in three areas and planting mixed wildlife friendly hedging, 12 trees, 1500 bulbs, covered with bark chippings as a weed suppressant, and (2) in April 2020 we had to postpone the installation of the recycling rhinoceros sculpture, the wildflower turf, and noticeboard, due to the pandemic restrictions. We are hoping to lay the turf on the 22.9.20, install the rhinoceros in October/November and following this install the noticeboard. We have had a terrific response from the community in collecting the plastic bottle tops for the recycling rhinoceros particularly from three local primary schools, the children of which we hope will proudly unveil the statue and insert the bottle tops. We had some small teething problems with the maintenance on site as London and Cambridge Property Management’s subcontractors (Marshalls) were unable to work during the pandemic and then this was compounded by new subcontractors (Spacecare) who were initially not fully briefed of their responsibilities which we hope to resolve this week. Continued updates are still available on our website at www.spacehive.com/stafford-moreton

The Woodend Community Woodland Project – www.spacehive.com/woodend – , is at Bobby’s Wood situated at the junction of Liverpool Road South and Northway, across the road from Lidl and the Alt pub and neighbouring Bumbles Children’s Nursery.

Rationale.

We are conscious that developers are seemingly keen to build everywhere in Maghull at the moment despite planning refusals by Maghull and Sefton Council’s Eg Damfield Lane was a blue plaque preservation area but central government overturned their refusals and the land is currently being built on. Consequently, we want to preserve the natural beauty of Bobby’s Wood but make it more user-friendly by improving upon the handful of dog walkers that currently use it. To achieve this we have focused on creating a (1) safe hedging and rail perimeter and (2) an accessible natural Cotswold path, which will be the springboard for all the other proposed natural improvements.

We developed the proposals earlier this year, consulted a variety of horticultural experts and stakeholders. Spent July undertaking a survey open to the whole of Maghull and also focused on door knocking on over 600 houses in the vicinity and received overwhelming support as can be seen in the online survey report, including Q&A and information sheets available at http://www.maghull-tc.gov.uk/news The survey also amazingly resulted in 30 respondents expressing an interest in becoming volunteers as part of a Friends of Bobby’s Wood group.

We started crowdfunding in April 2020 and will finish in late October 2020. By some miracle, during the incredible pandemic challenges for everyone, we have somehow raised £22,913 which is incredibly humbling and also perhaps an indication of how refocused people are now about nature. If we over fund we are targeting the first £3000 on populating the huge rear borders with community engaged planting.

We have provided further introductory information below and have created an introductory video on the crowdfunding website at www.spacehive.com/woodend

We hope you can help again with this new project and thank you once again for your past and hopefully future motivational support.

Best Wishes and Take Care,

Frank Sharp (Friends of Maghull and District).

Extra Information.

To reinvigorate an historic woodland entrance to Maghull, with a welcoming, accessible, iconic and engaging wildlife friendly space, focusing on enhancing the environment, history, community, legacy and economy.

Our Ambition.

Between April and October 2020, we are initially targeting funding to create a safe and accessible area as a platform for community led projects for years to come. This involves (1) ‘accessible’ 230m pathway (cost £6,500) for dis/abled, prams, elderly, to join together various future destinations that will eventually include the following:

RHS mentored community led designed and managed planted borders

Under-planting current trees with hundreds of free Mersey Forest donated tree whips and bulbs to future proof and enhance.

A 6m banqueting table and benches near Bumbles Nursery to act as a fun picnic table and community hub.

A wisteria arched tunnel

Signage to welcome and inform regarding the rich history (remnant of a 2×5 mile mediaeval wood belonging to a Saxon called Uctred referred to in the Domesday book (1086)).

The potential loan of a 15 foot Saxon warrior sculpture.

Our other initial target is to purchase and install (2) 92 m of diamond rail fencing (cost £4500) around the perimeter for the following reasons:

To protect the beautiful 1385 wildlife friendly mixed hedging whips we are obtaining from the Tree Council for free, that will form the 230m perimeter and will be planted in November 2020, during National Tree Week with the support of every aspect of the community eg local nursery, two primary schools, one high school, the local Scout groups and U3A etc.

To protect children and pets from directly accessing the busy roads

To provide habitat and food for wildlife, whilst providing a beautiful appearance.

To provide research evidence on how hedging can reduce 60% of the vehicle pollution, produced by the daily 20,000 vehicles, conducted between Sefton Council, the Tree Council and a professor & his team from Bangor University.

To protect from vehicle pollution and noise.

Through the planting activity we want to establish a specific friends of community group to care and support the wood.

Maghull – Project to enhance Bobby’s Wood

Maghull folk will probably know the name Frank Sharp because of his efforts to both fund raise and improve the formerly neglected site along Stafford Moreton Way adjacent to the new Home Bargains Store in the Town.

Well Frank is now turning his attention to Bobby’s Wood (owned by Sefton Borough Council but maintained by Maghull Town Council) in the Woodend part of Maghull – the grassed and tree plot at the junction of Liverpool Road South and Northway. Here’s Frank to tell you all about it:-

‘We are undertaking an ambitious environmental crowdfunding project at Woodend (Bobby’s Wood), that we have entitled – ‘Woodend Community Woodland Project’. In essence we are trying to raise money for an (1) accessible pathway to connect current and future community driven projects and (2) a knee-high ‘birds mouth’ fence to protect the free donation of 1150 wildlife friendly hedge whips to surround the 230m site. The hedge will provide: safety for children and pets, habitat for wildlife, a beautiful natural aesthetic. There also seems to be a possibility that the hedge donors – the Tree Council will work with the environmental department at Sefton Council to undertake an evidence-based piece of research to demonstrate the effectiveness of hedges in reducing vehicle pollution (the small evidence-base currently suggest hedges can reduce this pollution by 60%). In addition, we are hoping to plant hundreds of free tree whips from Northern Forest to future proof the current trees.

There are many other costed aspirations but realistically they will be for a 2021 campaign. We have launched the campaign with a fun children’s rainbow art competition which completes on the 27.4.20 and I want to highlight the need for pledges on the crowdfunding website where there is a lovely introductory video. All the small pledges on the website make a massive difference, as it enables the large funders to decide who to allocated funds to.’

Here’s a link to the fund raising page:-

www.spacehive.com/woodend

Click on the photos/graphics above to enlarge them

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.

Maghull – Weeds festooned around new Home Bargains Site

So we know that Home Bargains is going to occupy the new store on the old Maghull Library/former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre site but have you seen the weeds that are growing in the ‘landscaped’ parts of the site!

Click on the photo to enlarge it

Who is the land owner I wonder and when will their grounds maintenance regime kick in?

As a Maghull in Bloom volunteer my view is that we need the owner to step up and make the landscaped parts of the site a credit to Maghull and the sooner the better please.

Maghull – Old Library/Youth Centre site to become a Home & Bargain Store?

The closed Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and the old Maghull Library

The closed Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and the old Maghull Library

Well this is the word on the streets. The original planning application has been changed a bit (via a revised one) but the applicant is still Netto Ltd so no clue there. Indeed, the new plans do not show a retailer’s name on them at all.

However, my understanding is that it is actually going to be a Home Bargains store. Or is that a Home & Bargain Store to us locals?

The site after the old library and youth centre had been demolished

The site after the old library and youth centre had been demolished

In some ways this is odd as we were under the impression that Home Bargains were just moving within Maghull Square Shopping Centre to a larger unit. It seems, however, that may not now be the case.

Watch this space for confirmation, I could be wrong.

Maghull – No shelter at former nearly Netto site

The rather glaring consequence (for bus users) of the clearance of the old Maghull Library site in Liverpool Road North is that those awaiting a Liverpool bound bus have lost the use of the bus shelter that once sat on the edge of the site.

Bus Stop at Old Library Site 07 16

The delay in developing the site caused by the demise of Netto, before a brick was even laid for its new Maghull store, means at least so it seems that replacing the bus shelter is now in the how long is a piece of string category.