Maghull – It must now be 20 years+ of blooms in the shopping centre

The long view of 2016 winter planting down Westway looking from the Leighton Ave junction towards the A59 Northway.

The other day I got to thinking about how long floral displays have been going on in and around The Square/Westway. Well it must be around 20 years or more.

It all started with a former Maghull Town & Sefton Borough Councillor by the name of Roy Connell. Forgive me if my memory is not fully correct but here goes.

Summer 2009 there were both hanging baskets & barrier planters

Roy realised that in some other parts of the Borough Sefton Council put up hanging baskets (outside the Strand in Bootle was one such place) and he asked for them to be erected in Maghull along Westway too. His request was eventually agreed to but Maghull Town Council wanted to join in too. What came out of this was a partnership between Sefton and Maghull Councils, brokered by former Town Clerk Barry Smith, whereby Sefton would pay for so many hanging baskets and Maghull Town Council would both pay for the extra ones they wanted (along part of Liverpool Road North & up Stafford Moreton Way) and they would do the watering of all of the baskets using their in-house parks/grounds maintenance team.

This carried on for a few years but then problems started to emerge with regard to the strength of the aged street light columns which had had two hanging baskets fixed to each one. We were told that some of the street lights were no longer safe to hold hanging baskets so those along Liverpool Road North and on Stafford Moreton way were removed. Subsequently, as a cost cutting move, Sefton stopped funding all hanging baskets across the Borough but for a while the Town Council kept going with the ones along Westway. But then the same issue arose with the strength of street lamps there too so after about 8 years or so they were no more. You can still see some of the brackets which the hanging baskets were suspended from as they’ve not been removed.

A circular prize winning flower planter on Maghull’s Westway.

I think it was around this time, about 12 years ago, that the Maghull in Bloom volunteers were established and I recall them attending a Maghull Town Council meeting (at the time I both lived in Maghull and was a Maghull councillor) asking for support. The Town Council agreed to fund MinB to the tune of £5,000 per year (reduced to £2000 in the past few years) and it also agreed to take on the watering of the summer planting along Westway which would from then on take the form of pavement planters and pedestrian barrier baskets as opposed to hanging baskets.

MinB volunteer’s hanging baskets at Treeview Court

Maghull in Bloom volunteers went on establish themselves as one of the Town’s most high profile voluntary groups with additional displays at Treeview Court (summer hanging baskets & year-round pavement planters), Deyes Lane shops (summer hanging baskets), Leeds Liverpool Canal (Planters at bridges & weekly canal towpath litter picking), The Fruit Meadows & flower beds/planters on KGV Park/outside Meadows Leisure Centre.

In 2019 Maghull Town Council passed the responsibility for watering the Westway summer displays onto the owners of the shopping centre London & Cambridge Properties and they completed the summer 2019 watering season. And that is pretty much the story of the blooms in Maghull shopping centre over the past 20+ years.

Maghull – The Dell in Liverpool Road North

NHS, Maghull in Bloom and project partners meet at The Dell – 31st Jan 2014

I’ve blogged about this prominent piece of land at the heart of Maghull a couple of times before in 2011 and 2014 – here are links to those postings:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2011/03/20/the-dell-pct-take-action-over-trees-but-will-they-pass-the-land-over-to-maghull-town-council/

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2014/02/07/the-dell-maghull-environmental-renewal-project-starts-to-come-together/

What I did not do was to follow up on the last posting but contact from a Lydiate resident recently has reminded me to do so. The resident was talking to me as they are of the view that some of the tree branches overhanging Liverpool Road North may well be a danger to pedestrians and vehicles on the highway. In short Sefton Council has been informed and they have undertaken, I understand, to sort things out whilst holding the line that the land on which the trees are growing does not belong to the Council. On that basis the trees must be growing on the part of the site owned by the NHS.

Hare and Hounds in background

Readers who have read my links above will note that I make reference in those previous postings to The Dell belonging to the NHS. But that is only partly the case, indeed my present understanding is that a small part of The Dell actually belongs to Sefton Council. That part is a narrow strip along the Liverpool Road North boundary (possibly just the stone wall?) and a small section of the site around the Liverpool Road North/Westway corner. Interestingly, the Council also owns the grassed areas fronting the Health Center site on Westway. I say all this as I’ve seen copies of the Land Registry documents detailing it.

Going back to the attempt by Maghull in Bloom to take over the management of the land in 2014, one of the issues which caused the volunteers to call a halt to the project was the split ownership. As their volunteers were relying on a successful Lottery bid to fund the proposed works the project went no further as the Lottery would, I understand, be reluctant about investing in a site with split ownership.

Previous tree works being carried out in 2013

I wonder if there will be a 3rd attempt to get this green lung at the heart of Maghull managed in the long term?

Maghull – Audrey Beattie – Sorry you’re leaving

Audrey Beattie has been well known face across Maghull for many a year now having lived in in the Town since the 1960’s firstly in Pimbley Grove West and in more recent times at Mayhall Court on Westway. She worked for quite a number of years at the Maghull Homes (now Parkhaven Trust) at both the Kiffin Taylor and Alexander Homes.

She has served as a Maghull Town Councillor and her son Andrew Beattie was both a Town and Borough Councillor (and indeed Town Mayor in 1996/97) who sadly died suddenly in 1999. Audrey has been a regular attender at St. Peter’s Church in Moorhey Road and with the Focus Group at Maghull Baptist Church

Now in her 80’s Andrey is moving to Cleveleys to be nearer to her daughter Alison.

I first got to know Audrey when I was around 12 years of age and she was a tough lady indeed. Any teenagers larking around could expect her to stand no messing. I still expect her to shoot first and ask questions later so to speak. My abiding memory of Audrey is that she is not someone to suffer fools gladly and we came up with a phrase that we thought summed her up when she was a councillor. The phrase? – Audrey has just given so and so a good hand-bagging. I think I may have been on the end of a few of them myself:-)

We will miss you Audrey – good luck for many more happy years in Cleveleys.

With thanks to Andrew Blackburn for his help with this posting and providing the photograph

Merseytravel – Their Maghull Square information board seems to have expired

I’ve been noticing the state of this Merseytravel local map/information board on Westway for a while now and nothing seemed to being done to sort it out. Time to stop wondering and do something about it.

I’ve now e-mailed the photo above to Merseytravel, via Cllr. John Dodd who sits on the Merseytravel Committee. Let’s see what they have got to say about the state of it and what’s to be done about it.

Maghull – Oh for goodness sake do something with the Square

This is Maghull Square in the 1970’s but the buildings are substantially as was. It was built in the 1960’s. Photographer unknown.

What’s going on at Maghull Square/Westway shopping centre or more to the point why is little or nothing seemingly going on there? I refer of course to the oft promised refurb/upgrade.

The previous owners (The Maghull Group) put in for planning permission to do it up but sold it on prior to doing the upgrade and the present owners have seemingly gone to ground after much talk of them upgrading the down at heal 1960’s buildings and the appalling car parks surfacing.

Apart from the works by Maghull in Bloom’s volunteers what else has been done to try to uplift the Square? I’m struggling to think of any positive actions other than the larger shop units in one corner of the Square.

Thinking back the original owners were I understand a company called Ravenseft (or a title something like that) and I believe that Mars Pension Fund once owned it too.

Despite the many and various hands it has gone through Maghull still has a shopping centre that needs updating other than via the hands of volunteers!

Come on, please get a move on London and Cambridge.

Maghull – It took over 3 years but someone has finally cut back the overgrown shrubs blocking the Westway pavement.

westway-hedging-cut-back-at-last-11-16

I could not quite believe what I was seeing recently when I realised that the overgrown shrubs that had significantly narrowed the pavement in Westway adjacent to The Dell & L’pool Rd Nth Traffic lights had actually been cut back!

I commented on this back in September 2013, see link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2013/09/20/westway-maghull-dangerous-narrow-pavement/

I wonder who did it, an NHS or Sefton Council contractor?

Note:- The reference to Maghull in Bloom offering to take over the management of The Dell came to nothing sadly. It was meant to be a project where Kennet Prison would be involved too but first it was recategorised from an open prison (Cat C) to a closed one (Cat B) and then of course the prison closure was confirmed.