Thursday, 27 December 2012

Calderstones Park - what changes are coming?

The Mansion House in Calderstones Park is to have a new use and a new occupier.

Obviously any change to what goes on in the Mansion House could affect the nature of the park.

The City Council is shortly going to choose between two potential uses and occupiers.  One plan is for a boutique hotel.  The other is for a centre promoting literacy and reading with some study bedrooms.

Local Lib Dem Councillors are keen to feed in the thoughts of people who use the park and people who live near the park.  If you use the park (even occasionally), or live nearby or have thoughts about this, it would help my Lib Dem colleagues if you could complete the survey which you will find at this link.

The first section is a short summary of what is going on. 

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Pupil Premium - more money for local schools next year

The Government's announced the figures for the Pupil Premium (thats extra money going to schools with pupils with disadvantaged backgrounds).  It's worked out based on whether the pupil has been registered for Free School Meals at any time in the last six years.

The money has increased next year and is set to do the same in 2014/15.

Here are the published amounts for some of our South Liverpool schools.

Banks Road Primary, £96,300
Booker Avenue Infants £26,100
Booker Avenue Juniors £53,100
Enterprise South Liverpool Academy  £443,700
Garston Church of England Primary £51,300
Gilmour Infants £27,000
Gilmour Juniors £41,400
Parklands High School £227,700
St Austins Catholic Primary School £61,200

Schools in Liverpool  get between them £22,377,000

The Pupil Premium was one of the key points in the Lib Dem election manifesto in 2010.

Local Services and closures over the holidays

Here is a link to the e mail bulletin that Richard Oglethorpe and I have sent out about services in the L19 and L18 area over Xmas - including travel, libraries, health service and so on.  I am told this QR code should also take you there.

We send bulletins of local news roughly once a month.  If you don't get these and want to sign up, you can do that at this link.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Rights and Humanity event

Last night I was invited to be a panel speaker at the final Rights and Humanity lecture of its lecture series on various aspects of culture and human rights.

I went along thinking I didn't have a lot to say and then discovered that I almost had too much!

What a shame that I wasn't able to attend some of the earlier events as the topics look as if they were fascinating.

Anyway, if you haven't heard of this charity , do have a look at what they do at this link.

Mather Avenue parking - update

I blogged a while ago about problems people in Mather Avenue were having with some selfish and inconsiderate parking by people visiting the police training college.

There was in fact a length of yellow lines outside the front of the college which the police didn't need but which was helping cause the parking problem.

I asked the Council to remove this to help ease things.

The good news is that following the necessary consultation there have been no objections so the lines will be removed.

Hopefully this will make things a little easier for people living there.

Richard Oglethorpe (my former council colleague) has written to local residents to update them.

Bus travel on Xmas day

There are a few bus services running on Xmas day.  These tend to be routes going to and from hospitals.

In South Liverpool this includes the 201X which runs from Speke and Garston to the Royal and Women's Hospitals.

There are six buses going towards the hospital and five coming back.

You can find the timetable at this link.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Community event - plus Santa (!) on Beechwood Estate

Santa will be in his Grotto on the Beechwood Estate next week.

On Tuesday 18th December he'll be available at White Oak Lodge.

The Santa visit is part of an event giving people the chance to pop in and give opinions about the estate area as well as getting information and advice from different organisations.

Hot drinks and mince pies will be on offer.  We are told that Rudolph may make an appearance.

The event runs from 3pm.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Greenhill Nursery site - update

I blogged some time ago about the future of the Greenhill nursery site.

The Council had said it didn't want the land any more.

My colleague Richard Oglethorpe and I wrote to people living near the site to ask for their views about what they would like to see happen on that land.  The top suggestions (in terms of numbers) included allotments and sheltered housing of some sort.

Anyway, the Council is due to formally decide to sell the land.  The decision will be made at the Cabinet meeting next week (14th December)

You can read the report at this link.

As part of the report, six local councillors were consulted (five Labour and Lib Dem Richard Oglethorpe)

Only Richard bothered to reply and his comments, based on our survey, are in the appendix to the report.

The whole agenda for the meeting is here

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Monday, 3 December 2012

Booker Avenue site progress?

Back in March, people living near the Booker Avenue/Greenhill Road junction were given some infomation about plans for 16 flats to be built on the empty bit of land opposite the pub (not the former garage, the other bit)

The Council owns the land and the idea was that they would let South Liverpool Housing have it for a development, with planning permission coming in over the summer.

Well clearly that didn't happen, but there is some movement now.

South Liverpool Housing tell us that they plan to put a planning application in this month (December).

Once this is in, its a chance for local people to have their say on all sorts of aspects, including traffic in the area.  Planning decisions often make amendments to take into account these sorts of worries.

The application isn't in yet, but as soon as it is  I'll publish a link on this blog.

Meawhile, there'll be some more "site tests" on the land so if you live nearby you may well see this going on.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Off licence - another try on Garston Old Road.

UPDATE: The Council has now confirmed it will take objections and comments up to 23rd December.

People who live near the bit of Garston Old Road where it joins with Stormont Road may remember the battle around a year ago about whether or not that corner (with the empty shop premises) was going to be an off license.

I represented quite a few residents who were worried about alcohol being sold there.  The problems were the closeness of the park, of Clarendon College (the Montessori School) and so on.  There were worries about litter and parking and anti social behaviour more generally (we get reports every now and then of alcohol related asb in bits of the park)

Anyway, we managed to win the argument at the Council Licensing Committee but there was then an appeal to the magistrates.  I was all primed to go and speak on behalf of local people when it all stopped because the applicant had passed away.

We thought that was the end of it.

However a new application's come in to sell alcohol there from 7 am to 11 pm 7 days a week.

Richard (Oglethorpe) and I have written to people living near the site to get views and to see if they again want us to argue against this proposal.

Our worries are the same as before.

And in fact following the Council's (misguided) decision to allow 24 hour alcohol sales from the petrol station by ASDA, it could be argued that the market is already over served.

If you did get one of our letters, do please let us have your thoughts.

You might also like to write directly to the Council yourself.  The Council has a handy form which you can download from this page.

The deadline on the Council's website is given as 17th December.  The deadline on the sign outside the premises is given as 23 December.  This may be because of a delay putting the sign up but if you are commenting directly to the Council, our advice is to get your letter in before the 17th to be on the safe side.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Advance notice of Santa visits

Santa is going to be in our area quite a lot over the next few weeks.  Assisted by the Garston Rotary Club he's doing quite a tour.  Here's a link to his itinerary.

No more waiting in the rain

Good news for people who use the 80 or 80a bus to go from Garston Leisure Centre towards town.

A new bus shelter's being put up at the stop on Long Lane.

Thanks to people who helped write letters (albeit quite some time ago!)

Friday, 23 November 2012

Company of Friends

Last night I went along to a really great show which was all the better for me not knowing what to expect.

The Company of Friends is a Liverpool based drama group made up of people with learning disabilties. The members have  range of abilities and are all adults.

They were putting on a performance of Grease at the Black-E.

What a great night!

I have never seen so much enegy and enthusiasm in a production.  And actually real joy as well.

Apparently it's not really possible to learn lines so the scenes have to be ad libbed with a key "code phrase" at the beginning and the end so the actors know when to start and when to stop.  Even knowing this I am not sure I spotted the code phrases!

The performance is on again tonight.  I don't know if its sold out but there are other things coming up like the Panto.  I also learned that they are likely to be performing at the Rose Theatre, which is on the campus at Edge Hill in Ormskirk.

If you get the chance to see this group or to find out more do take the effort.  It will be well worth t.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

New homes to replace former Garston Embassy?

A planning application's come in to turn the unused building on Wellington Street, which was most recently the "Garston Embassy" as part of the cultural village project, into one and two bedroom flats.

You can have a look at the application, and make comments, at this link.

Campaign against secret courts

I signed a letter which has been published in the Times today as part of the campaign against the introduction of "secret courts".

Here is a link to the text of the letter and a full list of those who signed. 

Monday, 12 November 2012

St Mary's Road eyesore

Some time ago I reported that the the City Council had finally agreed to compulsorily purchase the eyesore buildings on the corner of James Street and St Mary's Road.

Since then nothing seems to have happened and the buildings have continued to make the road look bad (particularly when you consider tht they are opposite the Co op)

Anyway, my colleague Richard has been pressing the Council for action and updates on this.

Here is  a link to the latest Question and Answer from the most recent Town Hall meeting.

Island Road plans approved

The plans to turn the big empty eyesore building on Island Road into housing has been approved by Council Officers.

I know that residents will be delighted that finally something is going to be done to this blot on the landscape.

The building I am talking about is the one by the park at number 24.

You can see details of the decision at this link.

The bulk of the information is in the related documents section which has plans plus the case officers report and decision letter with any conditions.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Garston Old Road plans - office to houses?

A planning application's come in to turn the office building at the corner of Garston Old Road and Stormont Road into three houses.

This is the location where previously a shop and off licence was planned (and about which there was quite a bit of controversy)

Anyway, you can see the planning application details at this link.

The bulk of the detail is in the "related documents" section towards the bottom of the page.

UPDATE NOV 23: And it seems there is again an application for an off licence here also.  We'll publish details as quickly as we can.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Mather Avenue parking problem - solution nearer?

Some time ago I went to see the head of the police training college on Mather Avenue (with local residents) to talk about problems caused by selfish and inconsiderate parking by people working at or visiting the building.

The superintendent agreed to reinforce the message about considerate parking, but we realised it would take more than that.

Among the frustrations of residents was the double yellow line across the front of the building which seemed to have little point and which the police said they didn't need.

I followed up by asking the Council to look into removing it. We felt that if it wasn't there, some of the troublesome parking could be shifted away from people's houses.

Anyway, the good news is that, following all this work, a plan to make this change is now drawn up and being advertised for comments.  People directly affected should have had a letter but there'll have been wider advertising too.

There is a deadline for any comments of 22 November.  If there are no objections, it should go ahead.  If there are objections a Council committee may have to decide which means residents will have another chance to have their say.

This has been a long running bug bear for local people so let's hope it's sorted soon.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Want to get more local news?

Every month I sent out an e mail bulletin of information, news and issues relevant to L19 and L18.

Although I concentrate on the Cressington ward area, I do include things a little further afield.

If you want to start getting these e mails, you can subscribe at this link.

Cobblestone Corner decision

The Council has given approval for the empty buildings at Cobblestone Corner (off Ivy Avenue L19) to be turned into a supported living/care facility for disabled people.

Details of the decision can be found at this link

Most of the detail is in the section called Related Documents.

There are quite a few conditions being applied, one of which is about the times that work is allowed to go on on site (this is so that its not too noisy for neighbours)

It'll be good to see these buildings being used again but Richard and I will keep an eye on things to make sure that the conditions, particularly the ones about times of work, are being kept to.

You'll find the conditions in a document towards the bottom of the Related Documents section

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

New bus to Springwood

One of the grumbles about getting around South Liverpool by bus has recently been the lack of options for anyone wanting to get to Springwood .

I've had a fair few elderly people raise this as they want to visit regularly to leave flowers or tidy graves but can't afford to go backwards and forwards by taxi.

The situation appeared to worsen a little while ago when the 801 bus, that made a few journeys from Liverpool South Parkway and other starting points to Springwood was cancelled.

I've done my fair share of writing in about this as have other people.

Anyway, there appears to be some good news.  Early next month a couple of the circulars are being re routed so that there are buses to Springwood.  It's not all good news as there are some timing changes as well and the re routing means there are some roads that now won't have the bus going along them.

But for those elderly people who worried about getting to and from Springwood, this has to be a bonus

You can see the new timetables, which kick in on 4 November, at this link

Garston waste plant update (October 2012)

Regular readers of the blog may remember I have repeatedly posted about the saga of whether or not there will be a waste plant on the ABP land next to Cressington Heath.  Here is the latest update (and apologies to those for whom this is repetitive)

For several years now, I, along with Lib Dem colleauges and others,  have been fighting the prospect of a waste plant on the ABP land next to Cressington Heath estate. We believed that not only did this have the potential to cause massive problems for nearby residents, it also had the potential to cause extra traffic, including big wagons, on the already busy Aigburth and St Mary's Roads. First there was a planning application , by Jack Allen Holdings.  This was turned down.  But Jack Allen won on appeal.  However the company then decided the economics didn't stack up so they walked away from the site.

You would think this was good news but meanwhile the Council had been looking for an official waste site as part of a Merseyside wide plan.

The bad news was that the City Council decided to designate that patch of land as the official sub regional waste facility site for Liverpool . . We opposed this on the Council but were outvoted by the Labour party.  There was then another public hearing, in St Helens , on the whole scheme. I went and spoke for residents. The ruling Labour party did not turn up or send in comments. Neither did the Labour MP or any other Labour representative.

As a result of the hearing and evidence the Planning Inspector has now made a series of changes to the scheme. The bad news is that the designation still goes ahead. The good news is that it goes ahead with a provision that means that if ABP decides to do something else with that land, like a port related warehouse for example,  it can. In other words another development,may well stop the waste plant plan in its tracks.

This new situation has now been rubberstamped by the Council's Cabinet and we expect the same thing to happen in a Full Council meeting in November.
We would have preferred to get the designation thrown out. The Council however has been hell bent on the scheme so we are pleased that some progress has been made. We will still be keeping an eye on this situation and will let you know of any developments. We want to say thank you to all those residents who led, and then supported, the various campaigns on this subject over the years.

We will (that's Richard and I) still be keeping an eye on developments here to see what we can do to get the best deal for residents.

Richard has written to people living near the site to update them on the latest.

If you have any queries though, please don't hestitate to post here or e mail me at

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Pollution on Cressington Heath?

People living on Cressington Heath complained recentl about dust or particles being blown across from the ABP site.  One little boy seemed to have more asthma than before.

When I looked there was at least one big pile just across the fence that could have been the source of the problem.

Anyway, my colleague Richard raised this at the City Council's environmental committee earlier this month.

The answer he got is long so I have pasted some of it below (although full minutes are available on

(Extract from minutes begins)
Questions submitted by Councillor Richard Oglethorpe

i. Associated British Ports Site (APB).

Can the Cabinet Member please state what action is being

taken by the council to protect the health of residents in the

Cressington Heath estate who are currently experiencing

problems caused by breathing in material blown from the

Associated British Ports site?


. It was explained that the

material in question was dust from the stockpiling of gravel by

Armitts who lease land from ABP.

The gravel dust is of a size that would not be ingested i.e. too big

in particle size that would be blocked by natural body defences

i.e. ears, nose and mouth. Only particles less than 10 micron in

diameter would be a concern i.e. invisible to the naked eye and

can be easily ingested, and they would not be associated with

this type of dust.

The District Officer had a further meeting with ABP and Armitts

and agreement was reached that Armitts would monitor the

situation. ABP manager asked the complainant to contact him

directly in future if any similar incidents occurred so that a swift

response could be given. The District Officer is happy with this

approach but has asked the ABP manager to keep him in the

loop if such events occurred.

Two complaints

were received in May 2011 and October 2011 from a different

source to the most recent complaint about dust, but this was

from the other side to the ABP site in Garston.

If there is a recurrence then the service will look at some dust

monitoring for a limited period to ascertain nature of the dust and

its possible health impacts

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Day care changes- meeting 30 October

The City Council is looking at changing the service it provides to get people to and from day care services.

It's thinking of providing transport only if people can't get there on public transport, in a motability vehicle and so on.

Before any changes there are some meetings to discuss this.  People who use the service should have had a letter but I'm posting this here to remind anyone who wants to go to the relevant meeting in South Liverpool that it is next week.

The date is 30th October.  The time is 2pm and the venue is the Bridge Chapel Centre on Heath Road.

The Council says that places at the meetings are limited, so if you want to go along you need to book a place by e mailing

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Greenhill Nursery - residents' views needed

We (that's Richard Oglethorpe and I) recently got in touch with people living near the Greenhill Nursery site to find out what they thought the land should be used for.

The Council has decided it's "surplus to requirements" and  there'll be a decision in the not too distant future about what it should be used for.

We were keen that people had a chance to have their say before any report was written.

There were quite a few replies to our letter.  Local people raised some problems with the site but also made suggestions as to future use.  Allotments was the most popular, although some wanted low density housing.

We want to make sure that everyone has had a chance to give their view so we've written again with a survey and a freepost envelope.  The paper survey is important because it gives us evidence of what local people think.

We do hope you'll return your survey if you get one (even if you did not contact us previously).  If you don't get a survey but still have an opinion, please e mail me at with your comments but also letting me know where you live.

The postal surveys should have arrived by tomorrow (Thursday)

Monday, 8 October 2012

St Mary's Road off licence update - dodgy indeed.

The City Council licensing committe this morning gave permission for alcohol to be sold 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the petrol station by ASDA (the one where the road starts going down into he village)

I am very disappointed to have to report this.

However I am more disappointed in the way this was done.

Having "called" Richard and I for 11 am for our part of the meeting, the committee then decided on the day to change the order and deal with St Mary's Road first.  This is despite the Council's error in calling us for 11 and despite the fact that they knew we were coming.

All the objections were considered but frankly the council's behaviour on this issue means we were not able to add to the arguments already used.

Needless to say we are furious,mainly on residents behalf, and will be seeing what can be done to challenge the process.

If this s the way the  Council believes it is OK to behave then heaven help us.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Want to help accountability?

Along with the new Police and Crime Commissioners (I am the Lib Dem Candidate for Merseyside) there'll be police and crime panels being set up.  These have to contain a certain number of Councillors, but other people can be co opted on.  The one being set up in Merseyside is looking for two members of the public to join.  There is an advert looking for volunteers available here.

The deadline is 15th October.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Holmleigh Nursing Home

Residents of Holmleigh Nursing Home (and their relatives) have been told that he home is to close.

The reason given is that there are structural problems with the building.

This all seems to be happening very quickly and is clearly going to be very disruptive for the elderly and in some cases very frail people living there.

(It also seems to be odd given that I saw renovation work going on there myself not that long ago)

Holmleigh is a private home but some of the residents' fees are paid by Liverpool City Council.

We've contacted the Council to find out what is going on and what is in place to help residents find somewhere else to live in what sounds like a rather short period of time.

This is not the first problem for Holmleigh. It had a couple of poor inspection reports not that long ago and I was actually invited in by a resident to see for myself what some of the problems were.

More news on Island Road

I blogged earlier about the news of plans to finally do something with the long empty building at number 24/26 Island Road.  This is the big one near the edge of the park that has not only been looking like an eyesore but has also been attracting dumping.

The good news was that South Liverpool Housing had both a plan, and the money, to turn the buildingn into four homes and bring it back into use.

A planning application has now gone in to the Council and you can find the details at this link

If you have points you want to make about the plans, you can do this either on line through the Council website or in writing. 

Please bear in mind that it can take a while for all the details to appear on the site so if they are not all there yet it's worth checking back.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Money for local groups - update

The Cressington Community First Panel has a new website which includes a link to the application form.

Cressington Community First is a fund which gets its money from the Government.

We have more than £30,000 to spend on grants for local activities.  We awarded the first lot earlier this year and are looking forward to more applications.

The link to the new website is here

Police and Crime Commissioner

This November we are having elections for the Elected Police and Crime Commissioner.  These are new roles and there'll be one of these elected in Merseyside to replace the Police Authority.

I have been selected as the Liberal Democrat Candidate in this election.

I'll be blogging about police and crime related issues here as well as about the other campaigns I'm involved in and about developments in South Liverpool.

But for those who only want to read Police and Crime Commissioner material, I'll be posting that on my linked blog which is at

Friday, 7 September 2012

Greenhill Nursery site update

People living in the Nursery Road and Long Lane area have been wondering for some time now what the Council plans to do with the former Greenhill Nursery site.

We now know that the Council says it doesn't need the land itself and is thinking about options for how it can be used.

There'll be a report leading to a decision.

Obviously its important that local people have as much say as possible at this early stage as well as when any planning application might come along.

My colleague Richard Oglethorpe has written to people living very near the site to ask for their views and he is keen to get opinions from local people (whether you got a letter or not)

This will give him a chance to influence what the Council puts in its report.

If you want to contact Richard its best to do it directly at

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Island Road - update

People living in the Island Road have asked frequently about the big empty building at number 24 and 26.  It's been boarded up and vacant for quite some time now and apart from potentially providing a dumping ground, it makes the road look bad.

Anyway, we've followed up on this recently and the owners, South Liverpool Housing, tell us they have plans to turn it into four homes. With any luck they may be on site doing work later this Autumn.

My colleague Richard has written to people living near the building to give them a bit of an update on this and when I get more news I will update here too.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

St Mary's Road alcohol sales decision - update

Richard Oglethorpe and I went along today to the Council's licensing committee to represent local people.

We planned to speak against an application to sell alcohol 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from the petrol station on the bit of St Mary's Road where it starts to go into the village.  This is the one by ASDA and also reasonably near the Garston Adventure Playground.

We had petitions signed by local residents wanting us to object for a range of reasons, including potential nuisance and likelihood of anti social behaviour.

Well I had promised to update on the decision today but we actually don't have one.

The committee decided to postpone the discussion and decision because it wanted a bit more information from the company applying (called Gat Oil).  There is a licensing law issue about when a petrol station is not a petrol station (in other words the balance between the sale of petrol and the sale of other things in the shop).  The company had provided a three months sales graph but the committee felt they needed a longer time frame to look at.

The issue here is that the company has to show that the place is in effect a convenience store based on sales ratios to get anywhere with the application.  If that is done, then there are still all the objections to go through.  (This is governed by law and apologies if it sounds vague - I am not a licensing lawyer!)

So basically Richard and I kept our powder dry and will go again on 8th October to speak up for local residents (no point in giving away all our best points!)

Richard and I were the only politicians there to represent the people in Garston.  And as the cut off date for objections has now gone it is impossible for others to suddenly decide this is important.

I have to say that given there are potentially six councillors for that patch (the petrol station being right by a ward boundary) the lack of interest shown by five of them is not impressive.

Anyway, I will update again when I have more information.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Beechwood event - 29th August

Liverpool Mutual Homes is planning an "impact day" on the Beechwood estate on 29th August.  The idea is to do some clean up work but also to provide activities for young people and to make sure residents get information about things going on locally.

In particular there should be some information about the plans to build houses for sale (shared equity) on the bit of vacant land behind part of Beechwood Gardens. (It's actually a housing association called Plus Dane that is planning to do this so they will be there as well).

If I get more concrete information (like exact start times) I'll blog again on this but if you live in that area do look out for posters and leaflets.

Have you smelled it?

People in South Liverpool have been noticing odd smells - sort of like TCP - in parts of Speke and Garston.  It's not all the time but when it's there it is noticeable.

It's possible that a particular factory is responsible and the Council's Environmental Health department is investigating after a series of reports (including from me but also from other people who live nearby)

They will be checking on the area in the next week or so but are particularly keen to be aware of when people are noticing the smell so that they can try to visit when the smell is actually there.

If you live in the area and notice the smell you can alert environmental health by either using their on line form which you will find at this link or by calling them via 0151 233 3000.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Grants for local groups - deadline looming

There's a grants scheme linked to Health and Wellbeing that could be useful for local groups looking to apply for funds.

The deadline for this next round is 23rd August so there's not a huge amount of time left

Here is the link if you want to follow it up.

24 hour alcohol sales - St Mary's Road - update.

We now know the date of the licensing committee meeting about whether or not the petrol station on Garston Way/St Mary's Road will be able to sell alcohol 24 hours a day. This is the filling station by ASDA where St Marys Road starts going down into Garston village.

The meeting is on the 5th September.  Richard Oglethorpe and I will be there on behalf of local people (thanks to those who signed the petition asking us to represent you).

Richard appears to be  the only Councillor to have sent in an objection ( which means effectively that two of the current three Cressington Councillors and all of the Speke Garston Councillors have not bothered)

Obviously at the moment we can't predict how this will turn out although we will use all the arguments about potential noise nuisance and anti social behaviour etc.  Many people have said to us that they are worried about this, particularly as there are so many houses very near this place.

Anyway, the paperwork in advance of the meeting is on the Council's website at the moment which you can find at this link.

We will update as soon as we can.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Work on Cressington Station

Merseyrail is looking to put a toilet into the station at Cressington and to do a bit of work on the pavement immediately outside the building. 

The details aren't all published yet but when they are you'll be able to find them with the planning application here

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Garston way alcohol sales?

The deadline has now gone for objections or comments on whether or not the petrol filling station at Garston Way (the bit where St Mary's Road starts going into Garston village) should be able to sell alcohol late at night and in the early hours of the morning.

Richard Oglethorpe and I have sent in objections and a large number of residents have sent in objections and comments too.

We don't know yet when the licensing committee is likely to make a decision on this but I will post updates when I have more news.

Meanwhile, thanks to the people who signed our petition on the issue. The licensing section will by now know about the strength of local feeling.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Cobblestone corner - new development?

Cobblestone corner is a little cul de sac off Ivy Avenue in Garston.  Ivy Avenue itself is off Garston Old Road.

A few years ago Cobblestone corner was basically some student accommodation buildings round a yard.

Since then it's changed with family houses along one side and empty properties along the other.

A developer has just sent in  plan to create "supported living" homes in part of the "corner".

The idea is that these would be for people with disabilities.

The full details of the plan aren't published yet, but when they are you will be able to see them at this link.

When I have more information on this I will blog again, but if you are a local resident who might want to comment it's worth you checking the link over the next couple of weeks so you have the detail you need.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

ATM Campaign update

I've blogged before about my campaigning for more fee free cash machines (ATMs that don't charge you to get your own money) in Liverpool (and elsewhere for that matter)

Back in May, as a result I suspect of some of the media coverage, the people from LINK came up to Liverpool to discuss things but also to have a look around the various areas which were local cash deserts. There were quite a few of these and many were in areas of deprivation, making the problem not just annoying but a real tax on poverty.

Anyway, the good news is that another tiny step foward is being taken in that the visit has now been written up and is on the agenda for a Council committee next week (Wednesday's finance committee).

So hopefully this will mean the problem gets highlighted again and some action gets taken.

Its not a problem the Council can solve on its own (although it does own buildings that in some cases would be great ATM locations) but the Council can help create situations which make it more likely that fee free cash machines will be put in.

One of the cash machines in Cressington that charges takes £1 80 for each withdrawal.  If you think about someone taking cash once a week that mounts up considerably.  And even if you only pay the price once, that's £1 80 that you could spend on something like bread and milk, or orange juice, or cereal.

So what on the face of it sounds like a small issue can actually be a big problem if you are cash poor and at a time when many people are strugging surely this is a problem we ought to crack.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Getting news about the local area

I post regularly with news about Garston, Cressington, Grassendale, Allerton, Mossley Hill and the wider area.

But I send out e mail bulletins too.

If you want to subscribe to them, you can do that using this link.

Honouring a Garson hero - one step nearer

I had an e mail the other day from someone moving to Garston . He told me he had reserved a  house on Harold Newgass Drive.

It was great to have evidence that the day when we honour (again) this particular Garston hero is nearer.

I've blogged before about the work to do more to recognise Lt Newgass and about his bravery in Garston Under the Bridge during the war.

We managed to persuade the Council to recommend a new street being named after him.  And when the extension to Kings Lynn Drive is finished, there it will be - Harold Newgass Drive.

There's a while to go yet.  Some of the building is at a very early stage.  But it was great to have someone mention the street that way.

When I know about ceremonies etc, I will make sure I blog about it here as I know there is loads of interest in the history of the area.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Money for your group?

There's money on offer for environmental projects in Merseyside.  It's from a Waste Disposal Authority fund.  You need to be doing something that reduces waste in some way or other.

The next bit of this fund has just opened for applications with a closing date at the end of August.

After that there's another one specifically aimed at schools.

Anyway, if you have a group that does environmental stuff it's worth a look.

You can find the link at this web address:

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Liverpool's elected mayor - were we conned?

My colleague, and now leader of the Lib Dem group on the City Council, Cllr Richard Kemp, is calling on the Mayor of Liverpool to "come clean" about what was or wasn't promised around the whole issue of whether or not Liverpool should have an elected mayor. 

Richard will be raising this at a City Council meeting next week.

I am pasting below some info about what we think on the topic and what we are saying.

"Councillor Richard Kemp, Leader of the Lib Dem Group on Liverpool City Council is demanding that the Elected Mayor, Joe Anderson, publish the details of the deal he made with the Government when he decided to deny electors a referendum on whether the City should have an elected mayor.

Back in February 2012 the then Council Leader, Cllr Anderson announced that the City would get a £130m boost to its economy if it moved to an elected mayor. But, now it’s clear that other Cities who didn’t go for the mayoral model have received similar amounts of money, in Manchester’s case considerably more money for their citizens.

‘The Council sold the citizens of Liverpool’s right to vote for £130 million and now it seems we would have got more if we hadn’t got a mayor thrust on us’. Said Councillor Richard Kemp.

‘The whole saga has been cloaked in secrecy’. The Mayor has already failed in his pledge made in July 2010 to be open in all his dealings and publish the work which he undertakes with the City Region Cabinet’.

‘I’m now calling for an end to this whole sorry mess and challenging the Mayor to show the residents and his fellow councillors that he’s got nothing to hide’. "

The language we use

I am writing what I hope will be a series of short articles on various topics around politics and local democracy.

I've managed to get one of them published on one of the Post and Echo blogs.

You can find a link to it here.

Monday, 2 July 2012

CAB - temporary closure of Garston building

The CAB in Garston village is temporarily closed (the building that is not the service) for some work on the building.  This CAB is actually merged with the one in Toxteth so while the Garston building is closed you can still get face to face advice from the Toxteth building.  Obviously the phone service and on line stuff is not affected.  The change starts today (2 July) and runs to early September.  There are lots of notices up in the windows of the Garston building with the various times of the advice sessions.

Waste plant hearing update two (June 2012)

The hearing into the choice of waste sites across Merseyside (including the Stalbridge one) is now finished.  I spoke on the last day of actual hearings and the Inspector then had a couple of days to visit some of the sites.

I was the only politician, from any party, to turn up and say anything about the Garston proposal.

We now have a bit of a wait.  The Inspectors report should be out around October.  I will blog again on this when I have any updates or when there is more news available.

This, not particularly flattering, pictures is me outside St Helens Town Hall just before the days session started.  I am publishing this as bizarrely a senior Labour Councillor earlier denied the very existence of the hearing!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Funds for your group

OK it's a long way away but the next deadline for applications for the Cressington Community First fund is 21st September.

We are setting up a new website but until that happens you can find the details, including the priorities for the fund and info about ward boundaries at

There are also Community First funds covering other parts of the City (not all) including Speke Garston and St Michaels so if your group isn't covered by Cressington you may well be covered by one of the others.

Waste plant hearing

I am just back from speaking at the final public hearing into the waste plant site at Garston Dock (Stalbridge).  This is not into any planning application but instead into the decision to designate Stalbridge as the official sub regional waste site for Liverpool.  The hearing was into the whole Merseyside (and Halton) plan which included the Liverpool site and several others. (If you want more history to this there are quite a few posts on this blog earlier with the background!)

The reason for being against the designation is that it effectively directs would be waste plant operators to Garston.

All the councils, including Liverpool, had done a joint statement about the plan and the site choices. 

Actually I thought the argument around the Garston site was pretty weak in the document and ignored lots of factors.  (It also claimed full elected member support which is particularly annoying to those of us who seem to have spent the last year or so objecting at meetings to this!)

I argued that now that Jack Allen had walked away the fact of their planning permission was less relevant.  I argued that to persist with designating Stalbridge would have several negative effects on Garston in general and the Cressington Heath and Grange estates in particular, that public opinion was still very much against this and that it was hard to see the point given the fact that Jack Allen walked away and no one else has filled that particular gap. (This last argument is about deliverability - the idea is to come up with sites that will happen and the evidence in this case is the other way)

Associated British Ports has come to an agreement with the Council which effectively says that they are OK if the land is designated as long as that doesn't actually stop them doing something else with the site.  At first I thought this was very bad news but I now realise this actually undercuts the argment for designation so I made that argument too.

I am providing a copy of the petition I collected (thanks to those who signed) as part of my evidence.

We now have quite a long wait as the Inspector will need to do a report.  I will post again with the timescales etc.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Yep.. the weeds are back.

The City Council's environment cabinet member has admitted the weedspraying programme so far has been less than good.  Well in some parts of the City we are yet again seeing waist high or higher weeds that have either been missed or ignored.

Richard and I are keen to flag up areas where the spraying either hasn't worked or hasn't happened.  Do let us know if your street needs some attention. You can e mail me at or Richard at

The picture shows weeds in the Long Lane area of Garston.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Friends of Garston Park - pictures

Friends of Garston Park now has a Flickr Photostream which includes pictures from the Fun Day this year and from previous events.  We are still adding to it but do have a look.  You will find it at this link

Garston Old Road - update on what's going on - 22 June

I regularly get queries about what's going to happen to the site near the end of Garston Old Road (the old municipal waste transfer station).  There was a planning application in some time ago for some sheltered/extra care housing but its out of time now.

Anyway, this morning I had a chat with the owner of the site, who wants to develop it, and his architect and Cllr Richard Oglethorpe. Richard and I had been pressing for this meet up for a while as the lack of news for local people was causing anxiety. The idea is to put in another planning application for sheltered/extra care housing but one which can be built in stages.  I am not sure how quickly this will happen but I get a strong feeling that this application will be in sooner rather than later. 

Nobody likes seeing this site unused and becoming a potential or actual problem for the area and Richard and I certainly want to see something there that benefits our area.  As soon as we have details of an application going in, we'll let people know about it and will publish the link so that everyone can see what's being suggested. 

We also discussed ways of acknowledging or celebrating the particular history of the remaining building and the site (not the waste history the other stuff).

There've been quite a few complaints about the state of the site or use of the site while it's been empty and it has been cleared up over the last week or so which hopefully will make it slighly easier on the eye for people living in Garston Old Road and Ivy Avenue.

Anyway, as I said, once we have more news we will post again.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Garston Fun Day

I've just got back from the Garston Fun Day which again this year took place on Garston Park.

I was helping on the Friends of Garston Park stall and not only did we manage to sell out on the tombola, we sold loads of plants too, as well as managing to talk to people about the work we do to protect and improve the park.

I took some photographs and will post any decent ones both on here and on the separate Friends of Garston Park blog.

Despite the rather threatening weather, it was great to see all the organisations' stalls doing so well and to see the skateboard campaign there with their equipment (I didn't have a go myself being prone to tripping over!)

Well done to the local churches for once again organising the event and big thanks also to Lord Mayor Sharon Sullivan for visiting and talking to all the stallholders.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Getting news about this area

I produce an e mail bulletin, which goes out roughly once a month, with news and information about Cressington ward and the wider area.

If you want to subscribe to it, please use this link or use the link in the side panel of this blog.

I am also always keen for bits of news to include, so if you have an event (say a church fete or a school open day) that could do with a mention, do let me know by e mailing

Friends of Garston Park - can you help?

Friends of Garston Park will be running a stall at the Garston Fun Day this weekend (16th June).  As part of this we will have a tombola.  It's an important part of our efforts to raise money for activities to improve and protect our park.

If you have any unwanted things that could be prizes on the tombola, do let us have them.  Obviously there is not a  lot of time as we need to get all the tickets stuck on, but if things can be dropped off at 80 Long Lane before Saturday that would be great.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Mather Avenue parking - progress made

Some months ago I went with some local residents to see the head of the police academy on Mather Avenue.  The problem was parking.  Visitors to the building were not always using the car park but were parking on Mather Avenue causing problems for residents there. 

As part of trying to get a solution, I agreed to speak to the Council traffic and highways people about any changes that could be made to free up some space not outside people's homes.  And it seems that there is a solution which will do just this.

Richard and I have written to the people living nearest the police academy to update them and the Council will probably do a bit of a consultation too.

Good news then for those who have been having problems with the parking here.

When any consultation is over and we have the exact details to publish, we will put them on this blog too.

Money for your local group

The Cressington Community First fund has money to give out to local groups or initiatives.  The Fund is cash from the Government which is to be spend on things going on in Cressington.  Decisions on what to fund are made by a panel of local people - who either live in the ward, work there, represent it or have a connection with it.  There is an organisation on the panel too - the Citizens Advice Bureau.

The deadline for applications for the first bit of money is fast approaching - 22 June.

There is a website for the scheme  which has information about the process and the priorities.

Do have a look if you are doing something in Cressington ward that you think could benefit from some help.

Garston Old Road - whats going on?

There is a bit of vacant land towards the end of Garston Old Road.  It used to be a waste transfer station but a few years ago a developer got planning permission to build sheltered housing/extra care housing. 

There were a few disagreements about parking and building height but on the whole the scheme was welcomed because it meant a bit of land that had been acting as an eyesore and potential environmental problems would be used.

Well sadly nothing happened.  Nothing was built and the land has been used for various bits of storage which hasn't pleased people living in that bit of Garston Old Road or the nearby Ivy Avenue.

And getting information about progress proved very tricky.

We have had a bit of a breakthrough though as we now have at least some information.

The planning permission has lapsed.  You get three years and if you don't do anything you need to apply again.  The developer is going to put new plans in, perhaps ones that can be done in two phases rather than all at once.  When there is anything ready we will post information on the blog.

And complaints about the use of the site to date have led to the Council saying it must be cleaned up.  It should be cleared by the end of this week.

Of course that doesn't answer the longer term question of when something will be built.  Richard and I will be speaking to the developer and are keen to hear about what he envisages doing.  Obviously we want to see something there that benefits the local residents and the community.  We will keep people informed so watch this space!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Arts festival at St Mary's Church

St Mary's Church, on St Mary's Road in Garston is holding an Olympic Flower and Arts Festival later this month.

Running from 21st June through to June 24th, the event includes exhibitions by the South Liverpool Arts Group, the Garston Historical Society and the Merseyside Woodturners Assocation.

The times are 10 am to 6 on 21st, 22nd and 23rd and 2pm to 4pm on the 24th.

On the 21st there is also a performance by the Liverpool Harmonic Gospel Choir at 7 30.

Litter picking in Garston

On Saturday just gone I joined in the annual "litter picking" event in Garston.

Despite the rain, a group of us picked up litter on Garston Park and in the Long Lane and Woolton Road areas.

This was made a bit easier by the breakfast provided by Long Lane Church.

Well done to everyone who helped organise the event.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Bus boost news

Earlier this year I organised a petition about the 80 and 80a bus services. 

The issue was that in the evenings and on Sundays, the service wasn't very frequent and actually only gave people the option of going to the airport (when some people wanted to go to other bits of Speke like Morrisons)

I went to see Arriva managers about it.  As someone who uses the bus service all the time I know just how annoying the Sunday service has been.

Anyway, the good news is that we now have more frequent evening service (every 20 mins instead of every half hour) both in the evenings and on a Sunday AND the route has been extended so that when the 80 is not running, the 80a will go on to parts of Speke after the airport.  It will finish up at Morrisons.

I hope this will make a difference to those many people who raised this with me.  I used the new service myself the other day and it really did make getting around the Brodie Avenue a lot easier.

Big thanks to those who signed the petition and who raised the issue with me in the first place.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Cressington Community First Panel - apply now!

The Cressington Communiy First panel is now asking organisations and initiatives in the ward to get in touch if they want to apply for funding.

The priorities for funding, and information about the Cressington ward boundaries, are on the website at

Saturday, 12 May 2012

ATM Campaign - big development next week

This Monday, the people from LINK (the organisation involved in providing cash machines) are in Liverpool.

They are meeting representatives from the Council, but they're also doing a tour of bits of Liverpool where there are few or no fee-free ATMs to see if locations can be found to fill the gaps.

Cash machines that charge are a major problem in areas where they are the only source of cash.  If you are already short of money and then have to pay to get hold of the little you have, this is effectively a tax on poverty.

I've been working on this issue for more than a year now and I am very pleased indeed that this progress has finally been made.

(I was pretty persistent with the Council to sort out this meeting once the LINK representatives were in touch with me)

Sadly I won't be able to join them as the election result removed me from the Council.  But if new locations are found I will know that I have played a key role in helping people keep more of their own money.

If I get more news about the outcomes from the visit and meetings, I will post about it here.

Problems with truancy watch?

I was contacted this morning by a mum in South Liverpool who's worried about something that happened to her little boy.

Apparently he was approached, on the way into school, by people working for Truancy Watch.  He wasn't late and the letter sent to his mum has made her angry and worried.

This may of course be a one off mistake.  But it strikes me that approaching children on the way into school in the morning is probably not the best way to spot truants!

Don't get me wrong.  Truancy is a problem and its vital that youngsters don't miss school because of the way one lesson builds on another.

But it also strikes me that there are plenty of places in Liverpool where children bunking off are often found, and the way into school isn't one of them!

I am going to get some questions asked about this but, in order to see if its a one off I thought I would try to see if other parents have had similar experiences.  If you have, please let me know by e mailing me at

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Election result 2012

This week (May 3rd) saw the mayoral and local elections in Liverpool.

Sadly I lost the election in Cressington by 127 votes.

You still have a Lib Dem Councillor for the area in Richard Oglethorpe and I will still be posting about campaigns and local news here.

Thank you so much to all those who supported me.  I have been really very touched indeed by some of the messages I have received.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Crafty Corner official opening

Today was the official opening for Crafty Corner.. an initiative of a group of women in the Cressington area.

It's a former shop which they are turning into a base for art activities, cup cake making/decoration etc.

They also want to use it as a venue for organisations that provide a service to the community to come and run surgeries and answer questions.

The launch was great.. cakes and champagne.. and the Lord Mayor.

Crafty Corner is on Garston Old Road at the end of the parade of shops including the florists and the coffee shop.

It is due to open for business next week.  I am sure it will be a fantastic addition to what's on offer in our area.

You can follow crafty corner on Twitter at  @craftycorner.

Shelter campaign re rogue landlords

The other day I went to visit the Shelter Campaign base in Liverpool.  Shelter had taken over an empty shop in the City Centre for a few days to highlight a campaign on rogue landlords. 

It's a really imaginative way to raise the issues and I was really impressed by what they were doing.

They were asking people to sign a card with a statement or thoughts on the issue, which I did.

The picture shows me adding my card to the others from other councillors etc in Liverpool.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Getting news about South Liverpool

I publish an e mail bulletin roughly once a month with news about Cressington ward and the wider South Liverpool area.

If you don't already get it, but would like to, you can subscribe using this link

New restaurant for Garston Village

The new Indian restaurant in Garston village - the Spice Brasserie - is now open.  It's on the corner just before you go under the bridge.

I had a meal in there the other day and the food was rather good.

I do hope they make a go of it as we need more  things like this in the village.

Police parking (update April 22)

Earlier this month I went, with some residents and someone representing Cllr Flo Clucas, to meet the head of the police academy on Mather Avenue.

There is a parking problem linked to the academy and residents are having problems parking and getting on and off their property.

Anyway, the meeting went well and we are following up several ways of making things easier.

If we can get the double yellow lines removed from the front of the building, which the police don't seem that bothered about, it should ease the problem for people living nearby.

I'll blog again when I have an update but meanwhile if this problem affects you and you haven't already been in touch, please feel free to contact me at

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Waste plant site update (April 2012)

June this year sees another lot of hearings into the whole issue of the waste site near Cressington Heath.

The City Council designated this site (Stalbridge Dock) as the official sub regional site for Liverpool for a waste plant of some sort.  This was as part of a wider Merseyside Plan. (Anyone who knows the area will know that this designation was in the face of opposition from people who actually lived in the area)

The wider Merseyside Plan, including all the various choices of site, now goes to a hearing with an Inspector from the Planning Inspectorate to check out things.

The hearing starts in mid June but by the looks of it the sessions on individual site choices won't be until the end of the month.

I sent in objections to Stalbridge, as did the land owners ABP, and so I have been asked if I want to speak at the hearing (which obviously I do). I was the only local Councillor or representative to bother to do this.

The hearing organisers have drawn up some questions about the Stalbridge site for the hearing to explore.  These include whether in fact the site is deliverable given the fact that Jack Allen walked away and the land owners are not keen. Obviously if the site is "undeliverable" this throws the choice of Stalbridge into doubt and maybe the City Council will have to think again.

I'll blog again when the exact dates and times are confirmed.  The hearing is in St Helens.

Monday, 16 April 2012

You can't vote if you are not on the roll.

The deadline for getting onto the electoral roll, or for getting a postal vote, for the local and Mayoral elections this May is Wednesday this week.

If you are not on the roll, but want to be, you need to sign a form and get it back to the electoral services section of the Council by 5pm.

You can download an electoral registration form, and a postal voting form, from the Electoral Commission website which you can find here.

New planning application - Cressington Heath development

Redrow Homes have put in a planning application for more houses (and some flats) on the Cressington Heath Development.

You can see the details on the Council's planning explorer section here.

The detail of the application is actually in the section called "Related Documents".

Friday, 13 April 2012

Harold Newgass Drive

Plans to name a road after Garston hero Harold Newgass are now all sorted.  In about six months time we should have a ceremony to mark the naming of Harold Newgass Drive.

I'll blog again when I have all the details but this is great news and a result of an initiative originally suggested by a local man and pursued by myself and colleagues in Council.

Crafty Corner - opening soon

I blogged earlier about a group of parents in Cressington who'd got together to set up in their own premises.

Well Crafty Corner, their initiative on Garston Old Road has an official opening ceremony later this month.

Its at the end of a parade of shops (hence corner) and its going to include art and pottery (hence crafty).

The whole thing sounds great and I'm really looking forward to seeing it get going

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Friends of the Earth campaign on Bees

Friends of the Earth are starting a campaign about bees.  There has been a fall off in the bee population and given we need bees to pollinate plants (including food!) this is a potential problem

Anyway, the link to the first bit of the campaign is here

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Garston Park art project - taking shape.

Last night I joined members of Friends of Garston Park and the Garston family history group to work on the project to produce art for the outside of the sports pitches on the park. 

We spent time working on the Garston skyline aspect of the art.  We've been picking particular buildings, past and present, that we think should be represented on the mural.  We now have a set of photographs and some thoughts about the different sizes and the order they need to come in. The next step is to start the actual painting.

There'll also be painted boards representing what various groups do.  The Family History Group plan seems very well advanced. 

There are two other workshops each week as well as work going on in a local school.  It'll be great when all the art is put together later this year.

If you want more information about the project, or want to join in, please let me know so I can pass your details on to one of the organisers.

Cressington mums group

Earlier this week I visited what will be the new location for an enterprising group of parents in Cressington ward.

The group of mothers are turning an empty shop premised on Garston Old Road into a location for pottery, art and other activities.  They want to become a bit of a hub so that parents can drop in and make friends, take part in things and get advice.

The whole thing sounds fantastic and the location (just along from the coffee shop and florists) is a great place to be.

They are planning several things, including an opening ceremony and some hanging basket making.  I am really impressed with the drive and enthusiasm involved.  I'll blog again when I have more news so watch this space!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Liberal Democrat Mayoral Manifesto

Richard Kemp, the Liberal Democrat Candidate for Elected Mayor of Liverpool, has published his manifesto as part of the campaign.

The election for mayor takes place on the same day as the local elections - May 3rd.

Here is a link to Richard's manifesto which you will also find on

Hosted by and published by A Makinson promoting R Kemp(liberal democrat) at 509 Smithdown Road, L15 5AE

Sunday, 1 April 2012

ATM Campaign update (April 2012)

I've blogged before about the campaign to end "cash deserts"in Liverpool.  These are areas in which there are no ATMs (cash machines) apart from ones that charge.  This in effect means you are taxed on getting your own money and in deprived areas its a real tax on poverty.

Anyway, as a result of the campaign, the people from Link (who provide a lot of the machines) are coming up in May to look at areas of shortage and to see if any decent locations can be found.

The statistics show that most of these areas are in North Liverpool, but I expect there are other bits of the City with problems too. It's important to be aware of all of these before the visit.

If there is an area you know about that could do with some attention, please let me know.

Garston Park art project - workshops this week (start 2 April)

The Garston Park art project workshops continue this week with activities at White Oak Lodge, Garston Park Church and the Garston Urban Village Hall.

The project involves groups and individuals helping generate ideas and artwork for boards which will be hung around the walls of the sports pitches on the park.

If you want to know more, or your group wants to get involved, do come along to one of the sessions.

On Monday evening the artists are at White Oak Lodge.  Wednesday sees activities at Garston Park Church and Thursday involves work at the Garston Urban Village Hall.  The workshops start at 6pm

You don't need to be a skilled artist as we have community artists there to help.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Police parking

I have had some complaints from people living near the police training college on Mather Avenue about parking.

It's not illegal parking they are talking about but parking that is causing problems for them and their neighbours.

As part of trying to sort this out I am meeting the head of the police training college on Monday next week.

If you live in that area and have any incidents you want me to mention, or any suggestions of how the training college can perhaps help make things better, please let me know.  I am at

Funds for groups in Cressington ward

The Cressington Community First Panel is now set up. 

That means we will soon be able to start asking local groups to apply for funds. 

The money is from the Government through something called the Office of Civil Society.  The scheme is administered by the Community Development Foundation and here in Cressington it will be run by a panel of local people and a local organisation (in our case the South Liverpool CAB).

The Cressington Panel has a separate website ( and we will soon be publishing details of the priorities for funding, how to apply and who we are.

The money is "matched funding" which means the organisation applying also has to be putting something in.  But because this is about encouraging involvement and volunteering, volunteer time counts for this as do things like Gifts in Kind.  In other words it is not all about having a sum of money to start with.

I have been leading the set up of the Cressington panel so I am delighted that we will be ready to go any day now.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Booker Avenue flats

I went along this evening to the open day organised by South Liverpool Housing so that people could see initial plans for the new shared ownership flats at the junction of Booker Avenue and Greenhill Road. 

When I got there about 25 people had already been in to find out more or make comments.

Once we have some more concrete information I will post it here.

As Councillor for the area my concern is making sure that what happens on this plot of land fits in with the area and is of benefit, not just for people buying flats but for others living locally.

We all want to see that land used and the designs I saw today look pretty impressive.... so watch this space.

New Library Hours

Some of the Library opening hours are changing from the beginning of April this year.

Here are the details of the ones nearest to us in this bit of South Liverpool

Garston Library  9 to 5 Monday to Saturday

Allerton Library 10 to 6 Monday to Wednesday, closed on Thursday, 10 to 6 on Friday and 10 to 4 on Saturday
Speke 9 to 5  Monday to Friday

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Booker Avenue update

I blogged earlier about potential home building at the junction of Booker Avenue and Greenhill Road.  This is the grassed bit, not the bit that used to be a petrol station.

Anyway, South Liverpool Housing, the organisation that plans to do the building, is having an open day so residents can get information. SLH is very keen to get people's views as obviously there are two groups interested.. those who might want to live there and those that already do live in the area!

This takes place on Wednesday 28th March from 3 to 7pm at the Bridge Chapel Centre on Heath Road.

There is an e mail for people wanting to get more information which is

Friday, 23 March 2012

Election imprint

There are rules about published stuff during election periods (and we are in the run up).  So to be on the safe side here is the stuff I need to make sure is on this blog (its also in the side panel)

Hosted by Published by R Oglethorpe promoting P Keaveney (Liberal Democrat) all at 509 Smithdown Road, L15.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

E mail bulletins about South Liverpool

I produce e mail bulletins roughly once a month with news about Cressington and the wider South Liverpool area.

You can subscribe to these by using this link.

Grants for heating and insulation.

The Governments Warm Front Scheme is designed to provide money to help people keep their homes warm.

It's focused on private homes (whether owned or rented) and people on certain benefits.

Letters are going out to people in parts of Garston about this but there is no need to wait for a letter before finding out more or applying.

The link to the information is

or here

Monday, 19 March 2012

Garston waste plant site update (March 2012)

There's going to be another Public Inquiry into the plans for a waste plant in Garston.

The City Council designated the Stalbridge Dock site last year but as it is part of a bigger plan the Planning Inspectorate will organise a hearing.

This is now provisionally set for mid June.

I am planning to go along to speak up for people in Garston.

Liverpool City Council may well be there arguing against the people in Garston.

I will blog again on this when I have more details/

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Cenotaph and Long Lane - brightening up our area

Yesterday I joined children from Garston C of E School as well as representatives from Rotters Community Composting and others to complete part of our initiative to brighten up part of our area.

Last year I got a group together to look at what we could do to improve the bit of Garston by the Cenotaph and the end of Long Lane.  We came up with some ideas and started with a community litter pick.

I managed to get some planters donated, which were then followed by some soil.  We found some money for plants Rotters worked hard to plan a fantastic planting day.

We now have bright flowers in the planters which greet people as they start at the end of Long Lane.  They look great.

We were also joined by a team from Community Payback who painted the benches and railings around the Cenotaph (these were pretty shabby looking).  It was great this morning to see how this relatively simple piece of work makes things look better.

I will post some more pictures in another post. A big thank you to everyone who helped make a difference here.

Garston Fun Day

Plans are underway now for the next Garston Fun Day (which takes place on Garston Park).

The date - 16th June.  The time 11 till 2.

This is the third of these annual events.  The last two were great.

There's a meeting in April for groups wanting to be involved.  If you group was involved last time you should have had an e mail.  If you haven't been involved before but want to, do let me know and I can pass your details on to the organisers.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Garston's sport relief mile

Garston will be playing host to a Sport Relief Mile later this month.

It takes place on Garston Park on 24th March, starting at 11 am.

There's no need to register in advance.  Just turn up on the day.  The starting point will be the Long Lane side of the park near the Lifestyles gym.

Congrats to Andrew Colmer for sorting it all out.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Speeding in L19 - action

One of the most common complaints we get as Councillors in Cressington ward is about speeding or dangerous traffic.

We have asked for speed checks on quite a few roads in the area.  Among those they've taken place in is South Mossley Hill Road, Aigburth Hall Road, Aigburth Road, St Mary's Road and Darby Road.

There were some checks this weekend just gone on Aigburth Road and Darby Road.

On Aigburth /Road 9 people got penalty notices for speeding.

On Darby Road there was one incident of speeding but nine of people using mobile phones while driving along.

While I was knocking on doors in Kintore Road this week I also discovered that parts of the area have become a motorcycle racing track so I have raised this with the police too.

Progress on honouring a Garston hero

Some time ago I, and some other Lib Dems, suggested to the City Council that we find an extra way of honouring Harold Newgass.

He was involved in dealing with a bomb that had got into the Garston Gas holders  during the war ( if it had exploded it might have been good bye to much of that area including my house I imagine)

Anyway, there is a plaque in St Mary's Church but several people felt we ought to do more.

We now have the chance to name a new street after him.

To do this I had to make sure we had permission from a relative.  With help from the Garston and District Historical Society I was able to speak to his daughter who was charming and very much in support.  Her sister was too.

So as long as there are no problems we could soon have a street in Garston named after Harold Newgass.

I'll blog again on this when I have any timescales, but I have this evening been looking at a plan of where the new street is.

Tescos traffic chaos continues.

More reports from residents about traffic and parking chaos around the new Tescos on Holmefield Road.

Along with Lib Dem Councillors Richard Oglethorpe and Tina Gould I met traffic officers and PCSOs last week to discuss what would help make the situation better.

I had earlier contacted Tesco and suggested they pay for some H markings and some bollards and the Council officers were following this up.  (H markings help prevent people parking across drives and so can potentially ease some of the problems)

However this won't be sorted until Tesco acts more like a good neighbour and less like someone who can do what he wants, when he wants.

These pictures are from a local resident who took them when a particularly large lorry (way larger than anything claimed when we met Tesco) was blocking the road.

Speeding on Seddon Road

I have had quite a few complaints from residents about speeding on Seddon Road in Garston. 

I have raised this with the police but also put down a motion about this to the City Council to try to get some action that way also. Hopefully the relevant Cabinet member will reply with some action.
Speeding on Seddon Road, L19 by Councillor Paula Keaveney

Residents on Seddon Road in Garston report frequent speeding along this road. The road is residential and includes several pensioners houses.

Residents believe that a speed indicator device at some point on this road could prevent some of the speeding.

Council requests the Cabinet member for regeneration and transport to consult with the relevant ward councillors and actively pursue measures that could make this road safer.

Cycling manifesto needed for Liverpool?

One of the motions I put in to Liverpool City Council, which sadly won't be debated tomorrow at Full Council, was one calling on the City to support the Times newspaper campaign to make the roads safer for cyclists.

As a cyclist I have had a few near misses and its always been because drivers either haven't spotted me or are a bit on the impatient side.

Anyway Liverpool Confidential has reported on my call (although I don't agree with everything written in their article). You can find it here

You can find my motion, which I am reliably informed will eventually be replied to by the City's cabinet member for regeneration, here  (You will need to scroll down quite a lot)

Monday, 12 March 2012

Brodie Avenue mast

I was alarmed today to discover vans and another vehicle on the central reservation on Brodie Avenue by the phone mast near Booker Avenue.

With no notice a whole load of people had turned up, parked on the grass and started work on the mast and cabinets.

I went along to talk to the workmen and it turns out they were doing some maintenance and upgrading.

They also told me however that the Council had known for three weeks that this was taking place.

Why then could the council not be bothered to tell local residents or Councillors?

I have complained about this . Frankly if the Council can't be bothered to communicate then it shouldn't be surprised at the flak about incidents like this.

Community Panel

The Cressington ward community panel is now set up!

We have more than 30,000 pounds to spend on community initiatives in our area.

I have put together a group of local residents and representatives, including the South Liverpool CAB and together we will develop a plan and look to fund local activities.

We are not ready to take applications just yet but I will let you know when we are ready.

This is really good news for our area and I look forward to using this money to boost the good things going on in L19 and L18.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

City Council budget meeting

The Liberal Democrats tried to change the City Council budget tonight.  We were outvoted so our suggestion didn't go ahead.

What we wanted to do was make three cuts.

The first - to abolish a special fund that only the Council Leader gets to spend (three quarters of a million pounds)

The second - to abolish City Magazine - a glossy publication that costs more than one hundred thousand pounds

The third - to reduce the allowances paid to senior councillors.

Taken together this would have found 1.1 million pounds a year over three years to spend on street cleansing and pothole repairs.

Labour, who have the majority on the Council, voted against us but I strongly believe that our suggestion would have meant cleaner streets and safer roads.

The whole amendment text, including some introductory stuff about Council Tax, is pasted below.

Maybe next time people see a pile of litter they may want to reflect on how this money would have helped clear it.

a)       Council Tax Freeze
This Council welcomes the decision to  accept the money from Central Government in order to freeze the City Council element of the Council tax this year.  Council believes that this was the right decision to make.
Council believes that it would be beneficial if Central Government were to continue this additional funding in future years so that the option to again freeze Council Tax could be pursued.  Council therefore requests the Chief Executive to write to  Ministers to seek to arrange an all party delegation to discuss the continuation of this additional funding to freeze Council Tax for future years.
b.  Balance of Savings
Council  welcomes the fact that more than 80 percent of the savings made this year fall into the category defined by the Interim Director of Finance as  "not directly affecting residents".  Council regrets the anxiety that was caused in many parts of the City by the trailing of particular proposed cuts.
c) Pothole repair and road maintenance
Council notes the grant of 1.1 million pounds by the Coalition Government for extra road repairs in Liverpool. This followed damage caused by a severe winter.
Council  however notes that the budget for dealing with potholes and road maintenance is over stretched and that road and pavement repair issues are a  signficant cause of complaint by residents across the City.  Council further notes that not repairing roads  and pavements now can cause extra needed expenditure in future years and so early repair is always preferable.
Council also  notes that the street cleansing budget is also over stretched and the quality of street cleansing is also a significant cause of complaint by residents across the City.
Council therefore resolves to put an extra  £1.1 million  into the budget line (s) for pothole treatment, road repairs and streeet cleansing for the next three years,  ( 2012/13 ; 2013/14; 2014/15) meaning a total of £3.3 million overall.   Council believes that this money should be split equally between cleansing and road repairs if possible.
This money is to be shared fairly across the City so that no part of the City is overly advantaged or disadvantaged.
This money is to be found for the next three years by adopting the following measures
i.  cancellation of the City Leader's Fund  - £750,000
ii.  cancellation of City Magazine  - £111,000
iii. the reduction of the amount of money paid in Special Responsibility Allowances to Councillors by - £239,000 . This is a reduction in the total available and will obviously involve some adjustments to individual payments.
As these items are all "in the base" of the budget these savings mean a saving each year.
Council believes work should be done as a matter or urgency on the Capital Programme  to look at a long term solution to  underfunding for highways and streetlights.