2019 Parish Council elections in Sefton Borough – Some interesting situations

I’m a bit of a parish council nut as I’ve been a parish councillor since 1985 and always seek out quirky things on the notice boards of parish councils when I travel around England.

This year was the year in which all parish councils were potentially up for re-election. Unlike most district and Borough councils (who tend to elected in thirds) parish councils are elected once every 4 years when the whole of the council is potentially at the mercy of the electorate. Some parish councils however never really have elections as only enough or too few nominations are forthcoming and candidates are elected unopposed.

There are 10 parish councils within Sefton Borough – they are:-

Little Altcar PC – had an election
Formby PC – had an election
Ince Blundell PC – no election
Thornton PC – no election
Hightown PC – no election
Sefton PC – had an election in one of its 2 wards
Melling PC – had an election
Lydiate PC – had an election in all 3 wards
Maghull TC* – had an election but only in one of its 4 wards
Aintree Village PC – no election

* There is no real difference between a Parish or Town Council other than a Town Council can elect a Mayor instead of a Chairperson

Here are a few highlights from the elections which took place on 2nd May at the same time as the Sefton Borough elections

Little Altcar Parish Council (7 seats) – Formby Residents Action Group 6, Green Party 1

Formby Parish Council (15 seats across 2 wards) – Formby Residents Action Group 11, Conservatives 3, Labour 1

Ince Blundell Parish Council (5 seats) – Only 3 nominations for the 5 seats on this council – Independents 2, Formby Residents Action Group 1 (all elected unopposed), vacancies 2.

Thornton Parish Council (7 seats) – Only 2 nominations for the 7 seats on this council – Conservative 1, Green 1 (both elected unopposed), vacancies 5 * – potentially the additional 5 seat can be filled by the 2 unopposed/elected councillors co-opting up to another 5 councillors? Could be time to consult the Bible of Parish Council administration by Charles Arnold-Baker.

Hightown Parish Council (7 seats) – Only 5 nominations for the 7 seats on this council – Independents 5 (all elected unopposed) Vacancies 2.

Sefton Parish Council (7 seats across 2 wards) – Independents 6, Green Party 1

Melling Parish Council (11 seats) – Melling Resident 8, Labour 1, Independent 1, Asst Leader Cub Scouts 1 – Labour put up 12 candidates for the 11 seats but only got one elected. However, a Labour Borough Councillor for Molyneux ward (which includes Melling Parish) stood as a Melling Resident and came top of the poll.

Lydiate Parish Council (9 seats in 3 wards) – Labour 7, Lib Dem 2

Maghull Town Council (16 seats in 4 wards) – Labour 12, Conservative 2, Independent 1, Vacancy 1 – Labour effectively lost 4 seats having previously held all 16 on this council. It seems that a candidate elected under the Labour banner subsequently declared as an Independent after the elections. It also looks like a Labour member of this council sits on Melling Parish Council as well but as a Melling Resident not as a Labour councillor.

Aintree Village Parish Council – (12 seats across 2 wards) – Independent 8, Green 2, Labour 2 (all elected unopposed)

My thanks to Andrew Blackburn who helped me trawl through information on Sefton Council’s and other websites to pull together this information. I hope the information is correct but if you see an error please flag it up so that I can correct it.

Oh and one final note – Vacancies on Parish/Town Council can be filled by an election being held, however, if no candidates come forward to stand in an election then the council has the power to co-opt people to fill the vacancies.

Thornton Nostalgia – Marching down the road for a road

I have commented on the recently opened Switch Island to Thornton Relief Road (called Brooms Cross Road) many times before but have just come across another photo of the public march through Thornton that re-launched the campaign for a by-pass around that community.

Thornton by-pass campaigning @2000

Click on the photo to enlarge it

It’s around the turn of the Century (I can’t recall the exact date) in this photo and Thornton residents are marching along the service road of Lydiate Lane near to its junction with Westbourne Avenue with the houses of the Lydiate Park estate in the background.

Maghull – Public exhibition about the new Maghull North Station – 24th November, Maghull Town Hall, 2pm to 8pm

Glad to see things are moving forward here following the Coalition Government giving Merseytravel around 90% of the money to build this long campaigned for new station.

image002

Please click on the image to enlarge it

I wonder how long it will be before Labour tries, yet again, to make out they are getting this station built? They tried something similar over the Switch Island – Thornton link Road (Brooms Cross Road) which was, like Maghull North Station funding, given the green light by the Coalition Government (NOT by Labour) and was campaigned for by the people and Parish Council of Thornton. Await the Labour photo opportunity, it will be coming!

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?

www.southportvisiter.co.uk/news/thornton-bypass-opens-to-public-9890713

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:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=94PRAjPBJJk

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!