Maghull – Stafford Moreton Youth Centre demolished

My previous posting about the the demolition of this and the old Maghull Library refers – see link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/06/09/maghull-old-library-and-youth-centre-are-demolished/

Maghull's former Stafford Moreton Youth  Centre boarded up.

Maghull’s former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre boarded up.

The Youth Centre was a 1960’s building named after a prominent local councillor called Henry Stafford Moreton, indeed the adjacent Stafford Moreton Way is also named after him of course.

I did not know him as my time in local politics (starting in 1980) coincided roughly with him retiring from it. I do know his nephew Chris Bayliss though and Chris’s Uncle Frank Bayliss was also a local councillor during my early years on the council.

Many Maghull folk will have memories of attending the Youth Centre although I am not one of them. For some reason, despite the fact I came to live in Maghull in 1968 at the age of 10, I never set foot in the place as a youngster although I don’t know why.

I became aware of it though in my years as a Maghull councillor with various of my councillor friends being members of the Management Committee. Phil Watterson and Andrew Blackburn, Merrick Stott, and Cliff Mainey come to mind but I am sure there were others.

The Youth Centre bobbed along although the opening of the Youth Coffee Bar in Maghull Town Hall some 20 years ago, which became very popular, must have had an effect on the numbers of youngsters attending it. I also recall that Stafford Moreton YC had a local group for youngsters with disabilities meeting there each week for many years.

Then the recession hit us and Stafford Moreton was slated for closure, this must have been late 2010 or early 2011. Indeed, you may recall that Labour led a march around the Maghull to try to stop the closure from happening, which is quite ironic based on what actually happened later on.

My view was that the Youth Coffee Bar, a specifically developed (by young people) modern youth facility in Maghull Town Hall, could have been used more often and Stafford Moreton’s groups moved there but the powers that be seemed more concerned with just closing things down.

Youth facilities across Sefton Borough continued to decline with the Youth Coffee Bar being a beacon of hope in Maghull because the Town Council funded it rather than Sefton Borough Council.

Of course Labour then took control of Sefton Council and what did they subsequently do? They closed down Stafford Moreton Youth Club which they had marched young people around the streets of Maghull to stop the closure of!

And it has stood there rather forlornly for a number of years awaiting someone to buy the land. Readers who are close to local issues will recall that at the very time Labour-run Sefton Council was meeting to sell the Youth Centre and Old Library land to the highest bidder (which turned out to be Netto) Maghull’s Labour Party commenced a sham consultation exercise about the future of the site in community use via the Champion newspaper! Yes, you could not make it up but it happened. Of course the consultation was was never heard of again as it was just a Labour publicity stunt.

Stafford Moreton Youth Centre gone - June 2016

Stafford Moreton Youth Centre gone – June 2016

So here it is being demolished for a supermarket to take its place. What’s even more sad is that Labour has recently also shut the doors on the Youth Coffee Bar in Maghull Town Hall for the last time. Now which political party marched youngsters around Maghull to fight for local youth facilities? Oh yes, that’s right, the one that closed them all down!

Sefton Labour – The sun shines because of them you know!

Here in Sefton Labour have gained a reputation for saying one thing and then doing just about the opposite and they also claim credit for things they have had little or nothing to do with. In one case they claim credit for a motorway junction upgrade that is only happening because they voted to build houses on Green Belt/high grade agricultural land that they said they were going to defend from development!

Lets look at the local cases of Labour claims:-

Brooms Cross Road/Switch Island – Thornton Link Road:- Not down to Labour at all. The last Labour Government failed to give the final green light for the construction to start. They had been in government for years but kept kicking the road into the long grass. What’s more the real campaigners for it were the people and Parish Council of Thornton. A dodgy claim if ever I heard one comrades.

Thornton residents marching to get the new road built.

Thornton residents marching to get the new road built.

Maghull North Station:- This soon to be built station was given the green light and 95% of the money to build it by the Coalition Government, not by Labour. Another very iffy Labour claim.

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station.  Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

Site for the new Maghull North Railway Station. Photo taken looking north from School Lane road bridge. The former Moss Side Hospital site is to the right and Mersey Avenue to the left.

We will defend the Green Belt:- Er no, Labour voted to build on it on Sefton Council. No ifs no buts Labour said one thing, even putting up posters saying one thing, and then did the opposite.

Labour poster displayed in Lydiate - October 2013

Labour poster displayed in Lydiate – October 2013

We are getting the motorway junction on the M58 at Ashworth made into a full junction:- Well yes and er very definitely no. Here’s what Labour don’t tell you, the money for it from Government is on the back of a huge urban extension to Maghull (1,500+ houses ans an industrial park) on high grade agricultural land and Green Belt. What’s more, and I refer back to the Labour defending Green Belt issue, this site was one (of many) approved by Labour on Sefton Council who had said they would fight against Green Belt building. So yes they can claim some motorway junction success here but only because they did the opposite of what their propaganda said they were going to do! A really dodgy claim brothers and sisters of the revolution.

Closing Sefton Libraries:- Strangely Labour are not claiming credit for their Library closures or refusing volunteers in Aintree and Crosby from running closing libraries. Then again when Labour treated the volunteers so badly its no wonder they want this one swept under the red carpet.

rsz_al_collins_at_a_save_aintree_library_public_meeting_on_26th_october_12_2

Closing Youth Facilities:- Another one that Labour are not claiming credit for is the closing youth facilities in Maghull (Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and Maghull Youth Coffee Bar) despite the fact Labour marched young people around the streets of Maghull allegedly trying to stop the closure of youth centres in 2011. You had better continue to keep quiet about this double standard Labour.

Maghull's former Stafford Moreton Youth  Centre boarded up.

Maghull’s former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre boarded up.

Labour in Sefton Borough – Saying one thing, doing another and claiming credit for things they have had little or nothing to do with

Maghull – Beechcroft retirement flats – To be sandwiched between two supermarkets and other related thoughts.

Beechcroft Retirement Flats

Beechcroft Retirement Flats

If plans submitted to Sefton Council to build on the former Maghull Library and Stafford Moreton Youth Club sites are approved and the building actually goes ahead the residents of Beechcroft will have a supermarket on either side of them i.e. Morrisons and the yet to be approved/built Netto store. I say actually goes ahead as plans to develop Maghull’s shopping centre always seem to fall by the way side for some odd reason.

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Remember the former owners of the Square shopping Centre getting planning permission to redevelop the shops north of Westway some years ago? Well it didn’t happen. Remember the promised rebuild of Maghull Health Centre to include an NHS drop-in facility of a few years ago? That did not happen either. Oh, and what about Morrisons expanding? Yes you’ve guessed it, that also bit the dust.

The former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and old Maghull Library in the heart of Maghull's shopping area.

The former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and old Maghull Library in the heart of Maghull’s shopping area.

Bearing in mind the Beechcroft flats, in Stafford Moreton Way, are for retired folk there seems to be every possibility of too much noise from deliveries and the like.

I do hope that the concerns of Beechcroft residents are taken into account by planners, the planning committee and indeed the two supermarkets.

Also, there have long been plans amongst Sefton Council’s Highway Engineers to put traffic lights at the junction of Liverpool Road North and Stafford Moreton Way, when the shopping centre is finally redeveloped. It can be a devil of a job exiting onto Liverpool Road North particularly at busy times when needing to turn right. Will this traffic light project now see the light of day?

MY REVIEW OF 2015 – Some Maghull & Lydiate events

Its always difficult to know where to start and what to leave out of a review of a year just past but here goes with 5 memorable issues for me in 2015.

Loss of the 311 Bus – Thanks Arriva! – This was a big issue for Lydiate in particular and it now means that Lydiate folk can only get to Ormskirk, if they don’t have a car, by getting the 231 bus to Maghull station and then a train to our local market town.

This is me with the Lydiate & Maghull resident's petition earlier this year at a 311 bus stop in Lydiate. The petition was not collected by me I would add but by the hard work of locals concerned about the loss of this Arriva route to Ormskirk.

This is me with the Lydiate & Maghull resident’s petition earlier this year at a 311 bus stop in Lydiate. The petition was not collected by me I would add but by the hard work of locals concerned about the loss of this Arriva route to Ormskirk.

I worked alongside local residents during the summer who raised a petition to try to save the 311 but Arriva were not for turning to quote the Iron Lady and the bus was lost at the end of August. By the way the Bus Deregulation Act that brought in private company control of most bus routes was a Thatcher era move.

Boxing Day Floods – Well they are fresh in memory and the subject of recent postings on this blog site so just to say that I hope those affected by them are recovering from them.

Hall Lane, Maghull with a Merseyside Fire & Rescue worker trying to clear debris from Whinney Brook.

Hall Lane, Maghull with a Merseyside Fire & Rescue worker trying to clear debris from Whinney Brook.

Building on Green Belt & high grade agricultural land – Sadly, Sefton Council continued in 2015 to plough ahead with its proposals to concrete over vast swathes of land especially in the East Parishes part of the Borough. They are looking to allow massive urban extensions to be built around Maghull and Lydiate together with other significant Green Belt building sites being identified across the Borough.

Campaigners, outside Maghull Town Hall trying to save Sefton Borough's high grade agricultural land from development.

Campaigners, outside Maghull Town Hall trying to save Sefton Borough’s high grade agricultural land from development.

As 2015 closed a planning inspector was reviewing Sefton’s Local Plan which details the Labour-run Council’s environmental destruction. So frustrating that few local decision makers seem to value our exceptionally high grade agricultural land which grows the food that we eat. Where will our children grow their food?

Maghull’s Stafford Moreton Youth Centre & former Maghull Library sites – This must surely be a candidate for farce of the year as it tangled Labour up in knots all of their own making. To recap, Labour-run Sefton Council put the side by side sites out for sale by tender. When the bids came in the Council’s all-Labour Cabinet took the highest bid. Labour back bench councillors protested (well after the horse had bolted) saying they wanted a pause in the process to see what the community wanted to do with the site or words to that effect. Their Labour Cabinet bosses said no we are selling it, tough. But the day before the Cabinet confirmed its original decision Labour back benchers launched a community consultation via the Champion Newspaper! The consultation lasted less than 24 hours and was pointless anyway as their Labour bosses were determined to sell the site. Later we found that Netto are likely to build a supermarket on the site. What a carry on.

The former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and old Maghull Library in the heart of Maghull's shopping area.

The former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre and old Maghull Library in the heart of Maghull’s shopping area.

But then as December crept up on us all too quickly I was told that a former local chap called Henry Stafford Moreton had either donated the land and or money to have the Stafford Moreton Youth Centre built in the 1960’s. This being the case (and I am trying to verify it) then surely our Labour councillors should not be selling the land off and stuffing the money in Sefton Council’s back pocket but they should be investing the proceeds of the sale of the Youth Centre part of the site in youth facilities in Maghull. 2016 will determine whether or not Henry Stafford Moreton’s donation of land or money (assuming that it did indeed happen) will be wisely reinvested in Maghull’s youth or otherwise. Watch this space.

The demise of Maghull’s unique Youth Coffee Bar – In August it shut its doors and I am not aware of them reopening. How sad and how ironic that later in 2015 we encountered the sale of Stafford Moreton Youth Centre for a Netto to be built. Youth facilities have certainly taken a bashing in Maghull.

Nickie Smith was a former Chairperson of Maghull & District Youth Council and was one of the original campaigners for the Youth Coffee Bar who subsequently became a Maghull Town Councillor

Nickie Smith was a former Chairperson of Maghull & District Youth Council and was one of the original campaigners for the Youth Coffee Bar who subsequently became a Maghull Town Councillor

When Nickie Smith had to pack in helping to run the the Maghull Town Hall Coffee Bar earlier this year she did so because she realised that Maghull Council’s heart was no longer in project. In all my wildest dreams I did not see Labour’s disinterest in youth facilities coming when they took control of Maghull Town Council in 2011. Ironically, the facility had previously been visited by Burscough Parish Council and Knowsley Parish Council (both Labour -run) as they wanted to see what it was all about and because they also had an interest in youth facilities like the then Lib Dem-run Maghull Town Council.

Well that’s probably enough grumbling about 2015 and let’s hope that 2016 holds better hopes out for our environment, our young people and local transport amongst other things.

Maghull – Henry Stafford-Moreton – The Youth Centre and his wife’s dress?

What do we know about this former Maghull Councillor who had both a Youth Centre (now sadly closed and about to be demolished and replaced by a Netto store) and a road named after him?

I ask as his name has popped up twice in the last week or so. Firstly, a query came my way with regard to a dress that his wife Jane wore and which I am told is presently displayed in the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight. Secondly, I have been asked whether I know any detail about his connection with the former Stafford-Moreton Youth Centre in terms of whether he donated land and/or money to it.

Well a little Googling and I came across this link to the dress care off National Museums Liverpool web site:-

www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/ladylever/exhibitions/glitz/item-539900.aspx

A little bit more poking around on the internet and I found a photo of Maghull Parish Council (it only became a Town Council in 1974) on the ‘I grew up in Maghull’ facebook page:-

www.facebook.com/351665988312149/photos/a.353773251434756.1073741829.351665988312149/493114784167268/?type=1&theater

There is speculation on this facebook page from one lady that Stafford-Moreton gave the land for the youth centre to be built on and separately I have had a query about this from another resident who feels that the money from the sale of the land should be ploughed back into youth facilities in Maghull. Regular readers of this blog site will be aware that Sefton Council has just sold the site (together with the adjacent former Maghull Library site) and that a Netto store is due to be built there if planning permission is obtained from Sefton Council.

If the speculation is right i.e. that Stafford-Moreton did give land or money to help get the youth centre built then yes the proceeds of the sale of that part of the site should indeed go to local youth facilities. I would be pleased to know if anyone can shine any further light on this youth centre matter.

Anything more about this former Maghull resident and councillor that folks know about would also be of interest to me. Please get in touch.

Maghull – Netto on its way and another twist of the knife in Maghull’s Labour councillors ribs

The story of how the former Maghull Library and Stafford Moreton Youth Centre site, in the heart of Maghull’s shopping centre, has been disposed of by Sefton Council is quite a saga as this blog site has previously noted. However, the Champion newspaper has added another chapter in its Aintree & Maghull edition of 9th December.

Apart from announcing the Netto planning application for the former Library site, which of course this blog site made public on 30th November, the Champion also refers back to the ding dong battle between Maghull’s Labour councillors and their Labour masters on Sefton Council.

Readers will recall that the all-Labour and all-powerful Cabinet of Sefton Council decided to sell the former Library/Youth Centre site but that they were then publicly challenged by what we shall call ‘brave’ Maghull Labour back-benchers. For brave we had better substitute ‘foolish’ as they were never going to get away with challenging their Labour bosses. And so it proved as the day after the Maghull Labour councillors announced a public consultation about the site their Labour bosses on the Cabinet squashed the consultation flat by confirming their original decision to sell the land.

Oh how Maghull’s Labour councillors must wish the Champion had not resurrected the story of their put-down by their Bootle Labour bosses.