Thursday, 31 October 2013

Bankfield house site - housing going ahead

The Council's planning committee earlier this week gave permission for a housing development on the site of the former Bankfield House in Garston (corner of Banks Road and Brunswick Streeet)

The information's in these committee minutes (you'll need to scoll down quite a bit)

The digger's already on site!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Friends of Garston Park adopt the planters

I'm just back from a meeting of the Friends of Garston Park.

We're adopting some of the planters in L19 to keep them weeded and to replant.  I've come away with two lots of bulbs and some winter plants.. and we'll be following up with others.

The planters have been added to our area over a few years but some are sadly in need of some TLC.

Local shopkeepers have kindly watered them but it's time for a refresh to help them look better.

We've divided them up, taking on a couple or a few each. I've got two on Long Lane (conveniently near one of my favourite local cafes)

If you want to get involved in Friends of Garston Park and want info, drop me an e mail and I can pass your details on.  I am at

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Brodie Avenue phone mast application back

Earlier this year an application to make some changes to the phone mast opposite 192 Brodie Avenue failed because of the lack of a plan about how the nearby trees were going to be protected.

The applicants have put another plan in, with what looks like the missing information.

The form is incredibly difficult to read but it looks as if the mast will be replaced with one a bit higher and there'll be a new cabinet too.

You can now comment on line and there's a deadline in mid November.  Info is at this link.

The vast bulk of the material is in a section called Related Documents which is at the bottom of the page.

A Garston Poem

This is the poem that was written by Mike Axworthy for the Friends of Garston Park art project .  You can see it on the boards around the sports pitches.

Mike also read the poem at a recent Friends of Garston library event.

I thought blog readers might like to see it.


From Salt works to satellite dishes
Garston has changed
From rural idyll to industrial giant
Garston has changed

Like the river it stands on it flows and grows
Garston is changing
From Ireland Scotland Wales the world they came
Garston is changing

A special place to live work and play
Garston has changed
Plenty of jobs in its docks factories and railways
Garston has changed

Look at its schools church and hospital
Garston is changing
Is it regeneration or degeneration?
Garston is changing

A proud and independent people
Nothing has changed
With a strong community spirit
Nothing has changed.

Michael Axworthy.

Community Radio at ESLA

Enterprise South Liverpool Academy recently played host to two weeks of community radio.
Working with Liverpool Community Radio,other local schools and community organisations andn members, there were a series of programmes on a whole range of topics. 
I went in to take part in a programme about young people and politics.
The whole set up was really impressive and I get the impression that ESLA is keen to do it all over again.  I do hope so!

Monday, 28 October 2013

IM Marsh parking restrictions

The Council plans to make the "traffic order" around the parking restrictions by the IM Marsh campus tomorrow (29th October).  There'll be an advertisement at the back of the Liverpool Post this week and then the actual regulations are due to come into effect on a date in December.

This follows a committee decision, after quite some time of discussions, earlier this year.

You can see the material from the committee at this link.

News about new jobs

The Liverpool Post has today published an on line story about a load of jobs moving to Garston, and possibly more being created.  It's to do with the Matchworks.

You can read the story at this link

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Fund raising football match

Update:   More than £190.00 was raised at this match for the Wirral Autistic Society.

There's a fund raising football match today (27th October) to raise money in memory of the young boy who sadly died in the road accident on Speke Road earlier this week.

It's a junior team who are playing juniors versus parents.

It kicks off at 12 30 on Garston Park.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Longer hours for two local pubs?

The George and the Derby Arms, both in Garston village, have applied for some changes to their hours and other bits of their licensing conditions.

The changes aren't huge - they are basically longer hours on a Sunday, a bit more music at one of the pubs and doing breakfasts at the other.

You can see the details at this link.

The info about what they're asking for is towards the bottom of the page at the moment.  If you want to comment, the form to use is towards the top of the page (word attachment)

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Lower energy bills

A scheme to help people switch energy providers and save money is up and running on Merseyside.

You can switch as an individual, or join a joint switch in which negotiations take place on behalf of the group.

Apparently people who have never switched are most likely to benefit from this and most of us tend not to bother switching.

The information is at this link.

Buses - bizarre view of communication and consultation.

I had to laugh when I read todays letter in the Liverpool Post from Councillor Tim Moore.

Tim is attempting to say that the decision on bus lanes hasn't been rushed, is based on something, and has been communicated and consulted on.

As evidence for this he mentions two meetings with bus operators, and the ability of the public to have their say and help scutinise through two meetings at the Council.

He has got to be joking.

The decision was announced ahead of any committee meeting and was prominent in the press on 19 September.  The Transport commitee Tim says was an opportunity for people to have their say was less than a week later on a working day.  The "public" Cabinet meeting he cites was a mere two days after the committee.

If the Council had genuinely wanted a proper consultation, or even some communication before a decision, it wouldn't have worked to this timetable which looks and sounds very much like no other views were required.

It is good that there will be a scutiny group to look at the effects of the suspension but I have little doubt that this was an afterthought once opposition started being made clear.

I personally am agnostic about bus lanes.  But I believe all significant decisions should involve proper consultation and proper evidence.  In this case evidence could have been collected before any suspension rather than using the suspension as post hoc rationalisation.

As for the meetings with bus operators, both sides acknowledge they happened.  The bus people say these were meetings to tell them what was happening rather than to consult.  Without being there it's impossible to know but it will be interesting to find out what the timing of these meetings was (ie pre or post the press announcement)

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Bin service communications - do they know who they're talking to?

I had a mailing yesterday from the Council about the bin service.

It was a standard letter from the Mayor about the changes.

It explained that people with  wheelie bins would have their purple bin emptied just once a fortnight instead of once a week.  It went on to make some points about recycling and landfill.

Ok, you'd think.  It's good they're keeping people informed.

Except in my area (traditional terraces in Garston) nothing is changing.  We are not having our frequency changed and the day stays the same.

In other words the Council is telling people for whom there is no change that there is a change.

(You can imagine how many people have read the letter and thought the collections were changing for them)

Now it's true that there are enclosures and if you go on and refer to the calendar, you can work out that Canterbury Street and those nearby will have no change.

But my point is this.  If there is literally no change, why spend money writing to people?

If the Council wants to promote more recycling and composting by those in terraced properties, surely it would be better to do this as a separate project with the right messages for those people
 (which would need to major quite heavily on storage).

Instead money has been spent on, frankly, spreading confusion.

I had thought they were paying rather a lot of money to a "comms expert" at the moment.

I sincerely hope they're not as if they are they are not getting what they pay for.

New ( and free) training programme for young people.

I've just come across this information (pasted below) which sounds like a good thing for 16 to 19 year olds in Liverpool who are not in work and not quite sure what they want to do or should be doing.  The contact details are at the end. The organisation is based at STEC which is on Speke Boulevard.

Employability Solutions Ltd is currently recruiting for an exciting new programme aimed at 16 – 19 year olds.
The programme is individually tailored to meet the needs and interests of the young people will improve a young person’s employability by providing new practical skills, access to the world of work and enterprise alongside coaching and mentoring from highly skilled professionals.
During the course young people will have a unique insight into their chosen pathway and will be offered work tasters, project visits and will meet with a range of guest speakers.
The places are limited and are allocated on a first come first served basis. Access to the programme is FREE for young people who meet certain eligibility criteria. We can also provide out of pocket expenses including travel, childcare and nourishment for those that need it.
For more information or to make a referral contact Nadia on 07955028530 or email

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Beechwood area residents

I'm just back from a really good first meeting of a potential residents association.

Big thanks to those who came and particularly to the lady who took the notes and so spared us my handwriting.

Lots of great idea which we'll now be following up.

I'll e mail everyone who was there, and who sent apologies, with an update

Get news about South Liverpool

With my colleague Councillor Richard Oglethorpe, I pubish an e mail bulletin roughly once a fortnight with news and information about South Liverpool.

It's mainly L19 and L18 although we do sometimes report about a wider area.

If you want to start getting the bulletin, you can subscribe at this link.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Beechwood residents

Thanks to everyone who's been in touch re the first meeting of the potential new residents association.

You should have had a letter or an e mail by now if you were in touch.  If you haven't heard  anything back however, drop me an e mail at

I'm looking forward to meeting (or re meeting!) everyone.

New plans for former Bankfield House site.

Liverpool's planning committee is next week to decide on whether or not to give the go ahead to a new set of plans for the former Bankfield House site.

The site, on the corner of Banks Road and Brunswick Street has been vacant for a while now.

A few years ago, plans for housing did go through, but the company involved is no longer trading so nothing happened.

These new plans are still for housing, but it'll be mainly social housing for rent rather than for purchase (although a few will be shared ownership)

The committee's report, with some of the background, is available at this link.

The link also includes the other items at the meeting, which is 29th October.

You'll see from the report that the local councillors covering Banks Road didn't bother to comment on the plans.  This is sadly very common in Speke/Garston and makes you wonder whether councillors see it as their jobs to have a view on local developments.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Garston Library events - will you be at the next one?

The Friends of Garston Library held another successful evening as part of a season of literary events.

The picture shows local author Mike Axworthy talking about local history books and his love of local history.

Friends of Garston Library secretary, Michelle Knox, is "in the chair"

I love being Chair of the Friends as there's so much we can do.

Our next event is on 21 November at the library with the theme of poetry.

We do have some guest speakers but we want your poems too.  So if you are a budding poet, do let us have a copy. 

Well be asking some people to read out their work

If  you've got a poem to send in, please e mail it to us at

But even if you are not a poet, you're welcome to come and listen to the others.

The event starts at six with a drink and takes place at Garston Library on Bowden Road. It's completely free.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Bus lanes suspended from Monday

I've blogged before about the Council's plan to suspend all the bus lanes in Liverpool.

It starts on Monday and you may see people out and about this weekend removing signs or covering up lines.

The Mayor says this is to deal with congestion.  He claimed there was lots of evidence of lanes causing problems.

He seems to have back pedalled a bit now and is saying that this is in fact a trial with people having the next six months to send their views in.

The Council website does not, as yet, have a link for people to do this.  When it appears though,I'll make sure I put it on the blog.

Frankly to suspend the lot without proper evidence strikes me as a pretty dangerous and ill thought out thing to do.  Surely lanes could have been reviewed in groups.

I was cycling along Childwall Valley Road the other day - in a bus lane.  If you live in Netherley or Belle Vale and commute by public transport, this is your only option (no trains here).  I wonder how much slower that bus journey (from a deprived area in to where the jobs are) will be.  Its certainly not going to be faster for those without a car.  And the cyclists?  Well if that bus lane becomes a busy jostling mix of cars and buses we can take a risk or be on the pavement. And no amount of press releases about "sustainable transport plans" will make a difference.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

New houses - Garston Park Church grounds?

A planning application's come in for the church hall at Garston Park Church to be demolished and for a small number of houses to be built there.

You can see the details and comment on plans at this link.

The comment deadline's in early November

Bonfire night events

There are some big organised bonfire night events in Merseyside this year.

Here's a link to a list of some of them.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Bin service changes - update

People  all over Liverpool are this week being told their bins will only be emptied once a fortnight (purple bins).

It doesn't affect everyone but it does affect  a large proportion of households.

At the same time the Council's come up with a new policy on bin collections which has been a lot less publicised than the collection frequency.

You can read the whole document at this link but  the key points are:

* bins are supposed to be out by 6 45 am and back in by 8pm on collection day (good luck checking up on that one!)

* if your bin is damaged or stolen you may have to pay for a replacement (there's an element of discretion here but it would be wrong to assume it's all going to be free)

* if your bin is "too heavy" or the lid won't go down, the binmen won't take it  Instead there'll be a sticker or a note to say its not been collected because of this.  It's then up to you to reduce the load before the next collection .  Given the move to once a fortnight, it's not clear exactly where anyone will put this waste in the meantime.

* you can get an extra bin if you have special circumstances.  It sounds like these are very limited.  (Interestingly a resident in South Liverpool with very special circumstances phoned about the problems fortnightly collections would cause them and instead of being told about this potential option was told to buy a composter.  A bit of consistency would be nice)

Some of the things in the policy make sense, but if the Council thinks its a good idea to not empty very full bins on the assumption that the refuse will disappear over the next fortnight it is very, very  wrong.  Flytipping anyone???

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Update on school expansion proposals

Fuller details about proposals to expand Gilmour Infants and Gilmour Junior schools are now available at this link

This web section will also tell you what consultation is taking place and how to comment.

Cycling in Liverpool

If you a cyclist, or potential cyclist, in Liverpool there's a chance this month to give your views.

The City Council is drawing up a new "cycling strategy" and it's looking for views on the draft by 28 October.

The link to the document (its nearly 50 pages but it really is a quick read) is at this web address

The draft was written in the summer so there are no mentions of the suspension of bus lanes but that doesn't mean you can't comment on the implications of that decision for cyclists if you want to.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Campaign to Save the Meadowlands - update 10 October

I've blogged previously about the Labour City Council's persistent desire to sell off this piece of land at Sefton Park and the campaign to stop that happening.

Tomorrow (11th October) sees the next stage with the Council's Cabinet meeting to make a decision in the light of the more than 1,200 objections sent in and the Regeneration Committee's support for the sale.

However the campaign to Save Sefton Park Meadows has also moved on with an attempt to get the piece of land given Grade 1 listed status.  This could put a spoke in the wheel of the rush to sale.

I'll update again when I have more news.

Two local schools to expand?

The Council's going through the process to decide whether two schools in L19 - Gilmour Infants and Gilmour Juniors - should expand.

Gilmour Infants is very popular and there are always disappointed parents  every year.  On the other hand  some argue that it's popular because it's small!

Anyway the first  official thing has happened with the publication of this notice.

There'll be consultations with staff, governors and parents etc and the Council's Cabinet will discuss in January 2014.

I'll blog again when more details area available, but I know there is keen local interest in these schools

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Event at Garston Park Church this weekend

Garston Park Church is holding a "Harvest of Hobbies" this weekend.

Taking place on Saturday 12 October, the event is an exhibition of all sorts of arts and crafts produced by members of the Church.  There'll be work there also by people from organisations that use the church.

The "Harvest" runs from 10 to 12 30 and there'll be refreshments available too.

Garston Park Church (old name Island Road Methodist Church) is in that bit of Garston where Garston Old Road meets up with Island Road and other roads.  It's not actually on Island Road though!

Friday, 4 October 2013

South Liverpool skatepark - another step closer.

There's a meeting for people to have their say/share their views about the proposed South Liverpool skatepark later this month.

I've blogged previously about this.  Basically a very determined group of young people got together to research, campaign and lobby to get the funds for a skatepark in South Liverpool and to look for a location.

Loads of work has been done, with help from Brendan Burton at Merseyside Youth Association, and it really feels as if it's nearly there now.

The group have organised a meeting, open to anyone with views about what sort of a skatepark it should be, on 22 October.  It's at 6pm at the Speke Community Centre (the commy)

There's a link to the facebook page here.

So the Meadowlands is in Sefton Park then

One of the issues around the Labour Council's desire to sell off the Meadowlands has been whether or not it is actually part of Sefton Park.

Those who want to save it, with the back up of some historic maps, argue that it is and so shouldn't be solved.

The Mayor has tended to say that it isn't.

But does he really believe that?

The Liverpool Echo this morning has a report of the "debate" at the Council's regeneration committee last night.  (The committee's majority Labour members supported the sell off)

The Echo quotes the Mayor as saying this (to the objectors)

"Sefton Park isn’t yours, it belongs to the whole city."

Now that's certainly true.  These big parks are "owned" by all of us whether we live immediately next door or in another part of the City.

But the Mayor's point is ONLY relevant if the piece of land in question is actually part of Sefton Park.  If it isn't, the ownership or otherwise of the park is immaterial.

Now to be fair to the Mayor he did also pursue his claim that the land is not part of the park.

In other words he did a bit of an in out  "hoke koke"

But surely he wouldn't talk about ownership unless a part of him really believed the Meadowlands was a part of Sefton Park.  Hmmmmmm.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Help the Garston cat rescue

The Garston cat rescue, which takes in and looks after unwanted or stray cats, is holding a fundraising event to raise money for its work.  The organisation does mainly care for cats but has been looking after a few dogs also.

The event is on 18th October.  Here are the details:

Woolton Village Club, 23 Allerton Road (next to the Raj Indian Restaurant), Woolton Village, L25 7RA

Music by local band Cat Sundies

Buffet, Fun Quiz, Great Raffle Prizes, Late Bar 

7.30pm - midnight

Tickets £5.  Can pay on the door, or order from Pam on 421 0305 / 07956 658 805
Nancy and the volunteers put loads of work and love into looking after the cat and they desparately need funds so do please support the event if you can.

Meadowlands decision (part two)

The final bit of the Council's decision on whether to sell off the land at Sefton Park will be made in just over a week's time on 11th October.

Its one of the items on the Cabinet meeting agenda for that morning.

There's a link to the agenda at this link

Meadowlands press release

I'm posting below a press release from my Lib Dem colleague Cllr Pat Moloney about tonight's meeting about the Mayor's plan to sell off a bit of Sefton Park land.

The Lib Dems are only allowed one official voting place on the committee that meets tonight so Pat will be our representative.  Other Lib Dems will be there though along with many of those who have been fighting the mayor's proposals. Frankly the vote tonight will depend if Labour Councillors decide to go along with the Mayor or support the objectors.

We will oppose the sale of the Meadows in Sefton Park

Today at a special meeting of the Regeneration Select Committee meeting, councillors will decide the fate of the Meadowlands in Park Avenue, Liverpool 18.

Despite heavy opposition the Mayor and his Administration have continued with their plans to flog the land for housing. 

Councillor Pat Moloney, the Liberal Democrat who will be attending the select committee meeting, said "it’s blatantly obvious by the high number of written objections to the loss of this land that it is valuable as green space.  The Mayor has made his views on the Meadowlands perfectly clear but we will be supporting the many campaigners who have worked tirelessly to protect this land and we will be voting against the sale."

This will be considered at a Special meeting of the Regeneration Select Committee on Thursday 3 October, 5pm at Liverpool Town Hall.  The report can be found at Item 2 here:

Meadowlands decision (part one) tonight

Tonight (3rd) the Council's regeneration select committee meets for "pre decision scrutiny" of the Mayor's plan to sell off land at Sefton Park.

It is open to members of the public and starts at 5pm at the Town Hall on Dale Street.

Despite more than 1,200 individual objections and a petition, the mayor looks set to ignore the public and press ahead.

Tonight is a chance, albeit a small one, to ask him to think again.  That however will depend on the mainly Labour Councillors deciding people's views are important and standing up to the Mayor.

Lib Dems have opposed this sale and continue to do so.  So do people from many other political backgrounds.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Does your organisation need a computer?

There are some free PCs available for voluntary organisations in Liverpool.

They were used by the City Council but aren't needed now.  They are working and loaded with relevant software and so could be a great bonus for a charity or faith group that can put them to use.

There's no maintenance package with them, so organisations getting one would need to deal with anything like this themselves.  Even so though this sounds like a bargain.

If you want to find out more and apply for a free computer (or more than one) for your organisation you can find out more at this link.  The deadline is the end of October.