Maghull – Merrick Stott – A life well lived

Long time Maghull resident and former Maghull Town Mayor, Councillor Merrick Stott has sadly passed away at the ripe old age of 93.

Merrick had lived on Melling Lane in Maghull for as long as I had known him, he was a regular attender at St. George’s RC Church and had been a bank manager prior to his retirement I understand.

He was always smartly dressed and rarely seen without his suit on, you might call him an old fashioned gentleman.

He was elected to serve on Maghull Town Council in May 1987, was Town Mayor in 1990/91 and was Chair of the Policy and Resources Committee. It fell to Merrick to uncover a loss of money within the Council which ended up with the Police being involved back in the late 1980’s, but as a former bank manager it was no surprise that he picked up on the matter.

Whilst Merrick could look rather formal he actually had a rather good sense of humour and two incidents come to mind that make me smile when I recall them. On one occasion he was canvassing for the Lib Dems somewhere in Maghull and a door opened to reveal a young lady with a little towel covering her up and nothing else! Always the gentleman Merrick did not flinch and carried on with his doorstep conversation as though nothing had happened. On another occasion there was a slight misunderstanding between Merrick and I. I thought he had told me he was a naturist when in fact he had told me he was a naturalist. Well having commented on Merrick of all people being a naturist the misunderstanding got back to him. Fortunately he thought the misunderstanding was hilarious.

Merrick spent some time on the Management Committee of the former Stafford Moreton Youth Club and he was also involved in the running of Melling Tithe Barn. And with his environmental interests taking the lead he worked up the project to replant many trees within Balls Wood during the late 1980’s/early 1990’s. Those trees are now fully established and a tribute to Merrick.

A nice and decent man was Merrick Stott and my best wishes to his family at this difficult time.

And here are some additional comments from George Barnes paying a lovely tribute to Merrick:-

Thank you Tony, for the fitting and lovely personal tribute to the Late Merrick Stott, an ‘unsung hero’ of local & civic service. Merrick had many interests and supported many good causes; he was ever ready to give his time and professionalism for the benefit of others. Always self-effacing, he had an acute mind in matters financial as Tony points out. Very well-read – nothing ‘light’, and well-informed. Back in the day, he was involved in Scouting within St.George’s parish. He co-founded the Stroke Club which met at Christopher Taylor House, was for many years a Foundation Governor of St.George’s Primary School and very much involved with the Late John Hoople in the Melling Arts Association. He was a keen gardener, kept bees at one time, very interested in Environmental matters. We cannot mention Merrick without Marie to whom he was married for over 50 years; and well-known in Maghull in her own right. They were rightly proud of their three sons and 10 grand-children – always supportive and interested in their careers , achievements and travels. All who knew Merrick acknowledge their loss with deepest sympathy but with the conviction that Merrick contributed much without wanting fuss or praise. May he rest in peace.

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 Square – What’s going on?

media.rightmove.co.uk/130k/129391/59420108/129391_13to14CentralSquareMaghullLPQ_DOC_02_0000.pdf

The link above to an on-line property brochure for Maghull Square is interesting although it must predate HSBC closing obviously.

If I had a £1 for every time someone has asked me where Home Bargains are moving to I really would be retiring on a good pension. This seems to be an issue that people really want an answer to.

From this brochure it looks like one of the new units that is presently being built in the left hand corner of the Square. BUT persistent rumours say that this is no longer the case and that Home Bargains are going to the new retail building under construction on the site of the old Maghull Library/Stafford Moreton Youth Centre. And others are even speculating on Home Bargains not moving at all but just expanding into the former HSBC unit next door since that bank recently pulled out of Maghull.

Which option is right? Well as the staff who work in Home Bargains Maghull branch don’t seem to know then it seems the guessing game will be doing the rounds for a while yet.

What’s also interesting in the on-line brochure is the cost of a retail unit in the Square. Goodness me these figures must be well out of reach for many a small business. They may not be out of line with other similar retail areas but where does a small business get that sort of money each year?

I recall when the Square had many independent business in the 60’s and 70’s but now it is dominated by regional and national outfits. Times they are a changing.

With thanks to John for the lead to this story

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 – Bus Shelter appears on Liverpool Road North

Pleased to see the new shelter being erected last Friday next to the site of the old and now demolished Maghull Library, although what was wrong with the old one?

New bus shelter L'pool Rd Nth 09 16

The future of the site (behind the shelter), which also includes the land that the former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre sat on as well, is still unknown since Netto went belly up before a brick was even laid for its new Maghull store.

Youth facilities – are fast disappearing but not all because of austerity

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-37046967

The BBC has the story on its web site – See link above

This is a subject I have blogged about many times before especially in relation to youth facilities in Maghull.

I don’t think anyone reading the article on the BBC web site, which is based on a report by trade union Unison, will be surprised by the findings. However, as I have pointed out before the demise of youth facilities in Maghull has been as much about shifting political priorities than it has been about cuts caused by government austerity measures.

Yes the loss of Maghull’s Stafford Moreton Youth Centre, which was owned and run by Sefton Borough Council, can reasonably be put down to austerity cuts by Sefton Council. BUT it has to be said that Sefton Labour led young people on a march around the Town to oppose youth facility closures before the very same political party then voted to close the vast majority of the Borough’s youth facilities! I kid you not.

Maghull did have a second major youth facility though called Maghull Youth Coffee Bar which was within Maghull Town Hall and run by Maghull Town Council. It had been set up by local youngsters and had become highly popular and successful as it was not your usual type of local authority youth centre. It was run by young people for young people with minimal adult input and had been backed by Maghull Town Council’s Lib Dem administration. However, when Labour won control of the Town Council in 2011 it quickly became apparent that they had no love for this youth facility. Labour finally killed it of a few months ago but that was a policy decision not an austerity measure; indeed they openly said they were to going to provide tennis coaching as an alternative.

Readers will also know that I had little love for Sefton Youth Service because of my interactions with it. I my view it was rigid and old fashioned. It was very clear that it was extremely uncomfortable working with the Youth Coffee Bar where young people held the power and control. It took the innovation of individual youth workers to see the potential of what the young people were developing and they got involved despite the Youth Service with all it’s policies and and rigid attitudes. Indeed, local councillors had to go into bat for the youngsters on a number of occasions when the Youth Service was trying to shift how the Coffee Bar was run in ways the young people and Town Council did not want. But I have told that story often enough before.

My point is that here in Sefton Borough and in Maghull in particular I saw two very different ways of running modern youth facilities and I am in no doubt that the one invented by the young people in the 1990’s was by far the better one. Traditional youth centres with a table tennis facility in old wooden buildings were dying off because youngsters found them uninteresting.

Sadly innovation, in the form of our local Youth Coffee Bar, was killed off in Maghull by the rigid hand of municipal socialism which did not want what it could not control.

As a trade unionist I thank Unison for bringing out how at risk our few remaining youth facilities are because of the lack of public sector funding.

My thanks also to Roy Connell for spotting the story on the BBC web site.