Brooms Cross Road – My letter to the Champion newspaper

Dear Sir,

One of the hoped for benefits of the new Brooms Cross Road was that not only would it assist with the traffic jams and pollution in Green Lane/Lydiate Lane, Thornton but it would also lead to less through traffic travelling via Maghull and Lydiate along Liverpool Rd Sth, Liverpool Rd Nth and Southport Road.

The initial evidence of my eyes, as a Southport Road, Lydiate resident, is that this is happening and a Liverpool Rd Sth area resident said something similar to me a few days ago. Time will tell when things settle down and drivers get used to the new road.

But one thing has to be said though; congratulations to those Thornton residents and their Parish Council who around the year 2000 relaunched the campaign to get the road built. Without them this project would never have happened.

Tony Robertson
Lib Dem Lydiate Parish Councillor

PS. The letter had not been used by the newspaper as I published this posting but it was used in the edition dated 16th September.

Switch Island – Thornton Link Road finally opens but did the original campaigners who fought for the road get their true acknowledgement?

The Southport Visiter ran a story story on the 19th August opening ceremony – see link above.

Well there’s no mention of Thornton Parish Council or anyone else from the Thornton community in the Visiter article and don’t you think that is more than a little odd?

Link Road works back in Jan 2015

I have said many times before the reason this new road has been built at all is because around the year 2000 the good folk of Thornton and their Parish Council had just about had their fill of traffic jams. So they took to the streets and marched to get the Council to take notice of them and to get Sefton to resurrect the previously gone to wall plan to build the ‘missing link’ road. Those with long memories will recall that the previously ditched scheme was called the Blue Route.

But those original campaigners finally had delivered what they wanted on 19th August, a by-pass which will hopefully take the strain off Lydiate Lane and Green Lane in Thornton as well as potentially having wider benefits.

I had suggested that the obvious person to cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony would be a Thornton resident/Parish Councillor. But looking at the picture in the Visiter, can you see anyone from Thornton beneath the umbrellas? I can make out the Labour MP for Bootle Peter Dowd, Labour Sefton Cabinet member Cllr. John Fairclough, the Mayor of Sefton Cllr. Steve Kermode and his wife Gwen but then I struggle to recognise the other people in that shot.

So I checked up to see if Thornton Parish Council had been invited by asking the Parish Council. Yes came back the reply there had been a representative of Thornton Parish Council at the event in the form of Cllr. Tony Pengelly. So Thornton was not ignored in the end, yet I still think that just one official rep at the opening ceremony from a community which was the instigator of the new road is rather poor and frankly it smacks of grudging acknowledgement for their great efforts to me.

But despite the fact that those who started the campaign have hardly had the credit they deserve whilst some others who probably deserve little credit seem to have got more than their fair share at least we now have the road. A victory yes but one that leaves you to wonder why Thornton residents and their Parish Council have seemingly been little more than afterthoughts. I suppose in the end it comes down to power and as Thornton has little of that it was all but ignored.

Here’s an old You Tube fly over simulation of the route of the new road:-

Sefton – Switch Island to Thornton Link Road – Opening postponed again!

Having issued invitations to the opening ceremony Sefton Council has had to withdraw them as the latest planned opening date has been put back yet again.

All was looking good for 6th August but today news slipped out of the Council’s Bootle bunker to the effect that it had been put back to 19th August. Makes you wonder how good the communication channels are between the Council and the road builders does it not?

What’s more the 10 Parish Councils in the Borough who had all been invited to send along a representative to the opening ceremony have now been told to consider themselves uninvited as the Borough Council now only wants 1 representative of all the Parish Councils to attend.

I hear that there had been some ‘misunderstanding’ over the invitation to the Parish Councils but having seen an e-mail dated 20th July it was very clear that all 10 Parish Council were being asked to send a representative along. To quote it said ‘Each Parish Council have been sent an invitation and can nominate one person to attend to represent their particular Parish Council’. So why withdraw the invitations? Could it be that Sefton Council is trying once again to do down its Parish Councils? Whatever the reason it shines the Borough Council in a poor light.

Here's a shot of the original march through Thornton which got the road campaign up and running again. I know because I was on it with Thornton residents and their Parish Councillors.

Here’s a shot of the original march through Thornton which got the road campaign up and running again. I know because I was on it with Thornton residents and their Parish Councillors.

But hang on a minute who started the campaign around 2000 for the road to be built? Well blow me it was the residents and their Parish Council – Thornton to be precise! I do hope that Thornton PC has in fact been invited and that their representative gets to cut the ceremonial ribbon. Anything less will be another snub by a Borough Council which seems to have a very short memory!

Thornton Switch Island Link Road – The first bit is actually open

Well just a short length of it from near the Jospice/Long Lane junction in Southport Road, Thornton to the new traffic island on the extension of Quarry Road.

When I had a look last week both southbound and northbound traffic was using it.

The photo below reflects the the moody weather of the day:-

Link Road - Thornton end 19 05 2015

Click on the photo to enlarge it.

The photo looks south towards the new traffic island which meets the extended Quarry Road in Thornton.

Thornton Parish Council – Probably one of the most successful Parish Councils in Sefton Borough and indeed beyond.

My connection with Thornton Parish Council goes back a number years to when they and the good people of Thornton decided enough was enough and they were going to re-launch the campaign to get a relief road built around their traffic congested community.

The previous campaign (which eventually became known as the Blue Route) had stuttered to a halt because of environmental issues mainly and I think it fair to say that mainstream politicians were hardly keen to dip their toes in that water again! But Thornton Parish Council thought differently and they knew their community still needed a solution to the environmental nightmare they faced virtually every day of the week because the road system taking traffic out of Liverpool towards Formby and Southport had a missing link in it. It certainly did so clouds of pollution were being spewed out along Lydiate Lane and Green Lane as a consequence.

This is the presently being constructed junction with Brickwall Lane just to the west of Sefton Village and south of Thornton.

This is the presently being constructed junction with Brickwall Lane just to the west of Sefton Village and south of Thornton.

The initial campaigning led to a public march, which I took part in, to raise the profile of the issue once again and then things really took off. This time mainstream politicians took notice and I like to think that I helped build the cross-party consensus to get some action rather than yet more warm words.

So a movement was built and what was ultimately a successful campaign was launched. But it would not have happened had Thornton Parish Council and the people of Thornton not shown great determination. The new road will, I hope, help ease their traffic congestion in Thornton when it is complete and open soon.

So why did what I look upon as one of the most successful of Sefton Borough’s 10 parish councils (because they won this massive campaign) only have 4 people nominated to sit on the 7 member Parish Council in this May’s elections? It makes no sense, people usually like to be part of success even those who have done nothing to bring about the success. Whatever the reason/s it is sad to see the lack of nominations to this Parish Council which has achieved so much.

But let’s look at it another way the road is only being built because of the campaigning of Thornton people, without them it simply would not have happened. I think that simple fact indicates that Thornton Parish Council deserves a huge thank you for raising a dead project and forcing it onto Sefton Council’s agenda. Yes people like me picked the issue up and ran with it but that was what I was expected to do when Leader of Sefton Council.

I really like Parish Councils, they are so diverse and are capable of so much and I am determined to let Thornton Parish Council have its 15 minutes of fame whilst others, particularly in the Labour Party, try to claim credit for a project they have had precious little at all to do with.

Switch Island/Thornton Link Road – a walk along it for charity

When I was but a lad (June 1971) I walked through the new Mersey Tunnel just before it opened to traffic and this year I got the opportunity to walk along part of the new Switch Island to Thornton Link Road before it too opens for traffic.

The walk along Brooms Cross Road, for that is what it will be called, was in aid of and to raise money for St. Joseph’s Hospice (Jospice) in Thornton and Sheila and I had a great time walking the new road. Here are some photos of the event:-

People walking the new road

People walking the new road

This is the Switch Island end of the yet to be completed road

This is the Switch Island end of the yet to be completed road

This is the presently being constructed junction with Brickwall Lane just to the west of Sefton Village.

This is the presently being constructed junction with Brickwall Lane just to the west of Sefton Village.

I will soon post a tribute to Thornton Parish Council and the good folk of that Parish who were instrumental in getting the new road built.

There are a couple of additional photos taken from this walk on my Flickr page at:-