Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Garston Park Art Project - ways to join in

I went to a workshop for the Garston Park Art project this evening.  This one was with members of Friends of Garston Park and the Garston and District Historical Society to talk about how we would create the images for the artwork around the sports pitches on the park.  I was relieved to hear that actual artistic talent was not compulsory!  The community artists will help us with stencils etc once we have worked out what we want to depict.

Anyway, there are quite a few ways to get involved and we are looking for more groups to take part and take "ownership" of one or two boards that will form the finished work.

The workshops are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 6pm.  On Mondays it's White Oak Lodge on Beechwood Road.  Wednesdays is Garston Park Church and Thursdays is the Garston Urban Village Hall.

If you are part of a group that wants to join in, do come along or let me know and I will pass on your details.

ATM Campaign update

Some progress on this campaign! 

There are still some parts of Liverpool that are effectively cash deserts when it comes to cash machines that don't charge.  These are mainly in the North of the City, although there are some other parts that have problems. 

When you are on a low income, having to pay every time you draw out cash is like a tax on poverty.

Anyway, the people from Link (one of the cash machine companies) are now going to come to Liverpool and hopefully do a bit of a tour and meet some people to look at whether and how the problem can be solved in the areas where there is a real shortage.

I am not sure when exactly this will happen but its good news that it will.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Traffic problems around the new Tescos

It seems that the lorries that deliver to the new Tescos on Holmefield Road are rather larger than expected.  Annoyingly this is having a huge knock on effect not just on people using the row of shops but on people who live near that junction. This is not the good community relations the people from Tesco talked about when we saw them at licensing committee.  I will be pressing for something to be sorted at this junction - including for Tesco to be more considerate of both people using the other shops and people actually living here.

A couple of local residents took some pictures on Saturday to give an idea of the size of vehicle coming to the store in the day time.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Eyesores on St Mary's Road to go

The eyesore buildings at the bit of St Mary's Road by James Street look like they are going to get demolished.

These are the ones virtually opposite the Co op and so very very obvious to anyone shopping there or visiting Garston village.

The Council is talking about compulsorily purchasing a few on St Mary's Road and a couple just round the corner into James Street.  The decision should get taken next Friday although I am not sure how quickly the demolition would follow on.

This is good news for everyone who has worried about the appearance of this end of Garston village.

Veolia solvent treatment plant gets permission

The City Council's planning committee decided earlier this week to give permission to Veolia for a development to its King Street location treating a lot more solvents.

I objected to this, mainly because of a gas leak last year. 

Actually Veolia still need to get clearance from the Environment Agency (which is a different process) so its not all done and dusted.

You can see the minutes from the committee here.

Two Lib Dem Councillors disagreed with the decision (they are listed on the minutes as dissenting)

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

What's going on on Booker Avenue?

There are two bits of empty land on Booker Avenue where it has a junction with Greenhill Road.  One is where the old garage used to be and the other, which is grassed over, used to have an old people's home on it.

I'm often asked about what's happening with these and over the years there have been loads of suggestions, including a health centre.

Well the news for the grassed over bit is that there are plans to build flats there.  South Liverpool Housing has been given the chance to put some flats up which will be for sale under a joint ownership scheme and aimed at first time buyers. 

Richard and I are due to meet them soon to get more details but we already know we'll be asking for a proper community consultation before anything goes near the planning committee.

You may have seen some workmen on the site today.  They were doing site tests which have to be done before any plans can even be drafted.

We'll update when we can but if you have any questions please feel free to be in touch.

Tesco "climbdown"?

I blogged recently about the new Tesco on Holmefield Road wanting to get longer hours for alcohol sales.

The shop had got permission to sell beers, wines and spirits from 7 am to 10 pm seven days a week.

Residents had argued against this on the grounds of previous anti social behaviour linked to alcohol sales at the same location and I put in an objection on those grounds.  The licence went ahead following Tesco argments about local responsibility.

Then, just a few weeks later we found that having got the license Tesco had applied to make the hours longer.  Whatever you think about the rights and wrongs of a license here, this is rather sneaky  and made many residents very angry.

Well the news today is that Tesco has said it is withdrawing the application.  A representative on the site said it had been " a mistake" although given the forms that have to be filled in when you make a licensing application it's a very odd mistake.

I had actually sent my objection in earlier this week but I am pleased that Tesco has withdrawn and so won't be forcing residents to go to another committee meeting.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Fairness Commission - having your say

Some time ago Liverpool City Council set up a Fairness Commission. This followed a considerable amount of pushing from a few councillors, self included, for a Poverty Commission to look at key issues across the City in a way that the Council on its own couldn't.

The Commission got set up and has been having meetings and collecting in information.  It also asked for comments from people or organisations.  Today I had a look through the comments that had come in so far.  My first reaction was that there were hardly any of them!  This may well be to do with frankly rubbish publicity. 

There is some basic information about the Commission at this link.  There is still time to send in thoughts (although my recommendation would be to send a letter or e mail rather than use the useless on-line form)

This could be a really good and significant piece of work but it won't be if there isn't more engagement.  The commissioners need evidence and feedback if they are to do their jobs.  I was shocked today to discover that the only one of the 90 Councillors to send in any comments was me.  Hopefully some of the others will get their act together soon.

Lifting poorer people out of tax

One of the core campaigns for the Lib Dems back in 2010 was the need to lift poorer people out of tax altogether.

In the Co alition Government we've made a start on this and the tax threshold has gone up.  The stated aim is for the threshold to get to £10,000. 

We believe this threshold needs to be got to quickly rather than more gradually so we've launched a petition to help our campaigners and Parliamentarians put pressure on the Chancellor. 

If you agree that the poorest of working people should be taken out of tax, do please sign.

You'll find the link here

Meeting with Liverpool Mutual Homes

Richard and I are off to meet managers from Liverpool Mutual Homes tomorrow to discuss issues affecting people in our area.  Thanks to those who have been in touch with me to suggest items to raise.

Lib Dem Deputy Leader in South Liverpool

Last week, Simon Hughes MP, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats joined us for some doorknocking in  L19.  As you can see from the picture it was a tad on the windy side!  We got a warm welcome from people in Cressington Heath though.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

What's going on on Long Lane?

Some time ago I managed to get some planters donated to help brighten up the area near the Garston cenotaph. The planters were for Long Lane and they've sat empty for a while on the grassed area in the middle .

Enterprise Liverpool, who let us have the planters, have now also let us have some soil.  The planters will soon actually have plants in them (with help from the wonderful people at local charity Rotters).  This should help this bit of our area look better and brighter.

This work is part of a bigger initiative to improve the Cenotaph area.  We've already done a community clean up and I am hoping to be able to talk about other activities soon.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Tesco on Holmefield Road - call for extra alcohol hours

You may remember that recently Tesco, which is opening up on Holmefield Road where the old SPAR was, applied for a licence to sell alcohol.  There was some worry about this because of the anti social behaviour linked with alcohol sales there before.  But  the license was given for sales from 7 am to 10pm  Monday to Sunday.

I've recently heard that, having got the licence, Tesco is now applying for an amendment to it to extend the hours to a 6am start and 11pm finish.  This may be innocent but I have to say it strikes me as somewhat sneaky, coming so soon after the committee decision.

Anyway, local people are entitled to send in comments and objections with a deadline of March 7th. 

The City Council has produced a handy form to help people writing in about licensing applications.  You can find it here (need to scroll down a bit)

Roadworks on Speke Boulevard

There's going to be some work going on on grass verges and the central reservation on Speke Boulevard starting next week.  It'll mean traffic delays while it's going on.

Here's the list of where and when it'll be taking place

22/02/12 - central res from Morrison’s to Woodend Ave.
23/02/12 - Woodend to Speke Hall Rd.
28/02/12 - Speakhall Rd to B&Q roundabout
29/02/12 - B&Q roundabout to Banks Rd
01/03/12 - Banks Rd to Horrocks Ave.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Friends of Garston Park AGM - this week.

The Friends of Garston Park are having their AGM this Friday, followed by an ordinary meeting.  Do come along if you want to get involved, or just find out more.  We are meeting at Long Lane Church at 6 30, Friday 17th February.

We have meetings on the third Friday of every month (well we do take a break for Xmas!).

We are always looking for people to join in so do pop along.

If you are interested but can't come on Friday, drop me an e mail ( and I will make sure the Chairman gets it.

Veolia planning application - King Street

The agenda for the planning committee next week (21st February) is now published.  It includes the decision on the Veolia application to increase processing of solvents at King Street in Garston.

I sent in an objection to this, mainly because of the problems caused by a gas escape in the past.

The committee is being recommended to give permission.

You can read the agenda, and the report details, here

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Garston Park Art Project - next steps

Last year the Friends of Garston Park and the Garston Grassendale Detatched Youth project kicked off the Great Garston Art Project.

It's a scheme to improve the appearance of the walls around the sports pitches on Garston Park with a community based mural.

The idea is to reflect the Garston sky line as well as aspects of health and wellbeing.

At the launch meeting we talked about workshops to get the art started.  We now have dates for the first three (each of which will have a community artist there)

The dates and times are

Mon 20th February at White Oak Lodge on Beechwood Road
Wednesday 22nd February at Garston Park Church (right by the park)
Thursday 23rd February at Garston Urban Village Hall on Banks Road

All at 6pm.

Do come along if you want to get involved, or just find out more.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The trees on Brocklebank Lane

Brocklebank Lane, just off Mather Avenue, has lost three of its trees this week. 

I had a call from a lady worried about why the trees were suddenly being cut down.

It seems that vandalism (in other words people setting fires at the base of the trees) has meant the trunk is not strong enough to support the tree properly in each case and so they've had to come down because they are dangerous.  What a shame.

I'm posting this here partly so that there is an explanation out as to why this is happening.

King Street Garston waste planning application

Some time ago the Council started letting people know about an application by Veolia to increase the processing of solvents at its plant on King Street in Garston. 

I've now heard that the planning committee will be considering this and making a decision on 21st February.

The agenda and paperwork isn't published yet, but when it is you can find it here.

South Liverpool Skatepark Campaign

I had a really good meeting this week with the guys from the South Liverpool Campaign for a Skatepark (and BMX track).  They are a group of (mainly) teenagers and I sat down with six of them to work out how I can help them.  They've done quite a bit of research already and have some impressive people on their side.

Their aim is to create somewhere in the Garston area, or nearby, where people can skateboard or ride BMX bikes that's designed for that purpose.  There's support from people who want to skate.. but also from those who complain about skateboarding in more open public places like the pavement!

Anyway, we had a talk about some things they could do to advance their case and I promised to help them with things like getting the petition presented and talking to decision makers.

I was really impressed with their watch this space!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Flytipping/litter on railway land

I've just had an e mail from Network Rail to say the flytipping has been cleared from that bit of railway land near Hartington Road.  ( I would normally go and look before reporting this but suspect the mayoral debate is going to keep me busy today)  NR is responsible in law for keeping the land it owns clear of dumping and there are a few other places in the area I have now reported in through their helpline.  Let me know if there's any near you that's bugging you so I can chase it up.