Thursday, 31 January 2013

Good news on the way for cyclists

The Government made an announcement earlier this week about money for various cycle related schemes across the country.

Buried in a lot of the detail is some specific funding for South Liverpool.

Money will be going to create more secure storage for cycles at stations including Cressington, Aigburth, Hunts Cross and St Michaels.  The idea is for the storage to be the sort that closes and that you get into using a fob.

This is good news for people who want to be able to cycle for part of their journey to work, or elsewhere.  At the moment fewer than five bikes can be "parked" at Cressington so this new money could make quite a difference.

Funding for local community groups

The Liverpool Echo is promoting a Comic Relief linked scheme which gives smallish grants to local groups.

Here is the link to the story, which also tells you how to apply.

Don' forget also that the deadine for applications for the next round of grants from the Cressington Community First Fund is coming up (8 Feb).

There's a website which includes a downloadable application form, but if you have any problems downloading, please e mail me at and I'll get one to you somehow.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Garston Co op

People in Garston are worried about the future of the Co op building on St Marys Road.

The store closed on 12th January.

It wasn't everyone's favourite shop, but that location at the bottom of St Mary's road made it an important feature in Garston village.

I've been in touch with the Co op and they say they are negotiating re another business taking over the building.

They also say that there is a company being paid to keep an eye on the building and car park in the meanwhile.

I've got contact details for this company so please let me know if there are issues they need to be told about (obviously ongoing incidents are for the police!)

When we get more news about this site, I'll make sure it's posted on this blog.

Votes at 16?

There was a vote in the Commons earlier this week in favour of extending the right to vote to 16 and 17 year olds.  It wasn't the sort of vote that means legislation so nothing will change straight away.  But it's interesting that MPs are debating this and giving a view in favour.

I've been in favour of votes at 16 for ages now. We assume16 year olds are mature enough to do quite a few things, including being liable to pay tax, but we don't give them a say in the laws about those things.

This seems not only wrong but illogical.

However,  I suspect those of us in favour have quite a way to go to persuade people of this.  And oddly the people who seem most to need persuading are young people themselves.

You'd think that this would be something all 16 year olds would support.  But every time I have spoken in schools to sixth formers about this, there has been a substantial group against.  The argument is that they don't feel they know enough to vote.

I tried it out on third year undergraduates this week and the verdict about voting when under 18 was pretty much the same - they felt under 18s wouldn't know what they were doing.

Now obviously if under 18s were voting, politicians would put more effort into making sure they did know the issues, and schools would feel under more pressure to do so.

But frankly those of us in favour of this change need to do a lot more to convince the "non political" young people that this is something worth doing.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Getting more local news

I do an e mail bulletin once a month, with extra editions when there is urgent need

It mainly covers local news in L18 and L19.

If you don't already get this but want to, you can subscribe using this link

Booker Avenue update

People living on or near the Booker Avenue/Greenhill Road junction were told last year that a planning application would be in in December for building on the bit of land opposite the pub (not the former garage - the other bit).

It was a tad frustrating when that didn't happen so we've chased up what's going on.  The land itself has a fence round it now and that naturally sparked lot of questions.

The latest news from South Liverpool Housing, which is the lead organisation for the plan for homes on the site, is that a planning application should be in by February.

Obviously once it is, that will be a chance for local people to comment on the plans

As soon as its in and available, I'll blog again and put a link to the on line comment system here.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Where do the gritters go?

There's an interesting map on the City Council website that shows the gritting routes and where the grit bins are.

You can look up your own address, or you can move the map around from north to south, east to west to get a sense of the bigger picture.

The link to the map is here.

Interestingly, there are several roads I spotted that don't get gritted and yet are on bus routes or right by day centres with mini buses coming in and out.  Makes you wonder what is a priority area and what isn't!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Friday, 18 January 2013

Garston Old Road off licence update

We now have a date for the meeting that'll take a decision about the plan for an off licence at the corner of Garston Old Road and Stormont Road.

The committee (full title licensing and gambling sub committee) meets on 6th February.  Richard Oglethorpe and I received a large number of requests from local residents wanting us to represent them in opposing the proposal.  In particular people are worried about litter, noise and the potential for anti social behaviour on the park.

The paperwork for the meeting will be available about a week before it happens at this link.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Tesco update

I blogged recently about the continuing parking problems around Tesco on Holmfield Road (Aigburth Park Avenue).

There were meant to be some road markings going down and there was  a proposed "loading bay" which would hopefully mean that the delivery lorries would park there and not just anywhere.

Because doing this to the road involves a legal process there was an advertisement and there've been some objections.

This all means that a small council committee will have to discuss it and make a decision.

We expect this to be in February although the date's not fixed yet.  When I have a date I 'll post again and put a link here to the committee papers.  This is the committee I am talking about.

Greenhill Road takeaway plans

People living in the Greenhill Road and Melbreck Road areas may remember attempts some time ago to turn the greengrocers (Caffleys) into a takeaway.  In fact there were two attempts, both of which were turned down when it came to the planning permission side of things.

At the time residents were worried about things like litter and  noise, although another worry was that particular junction, which has several roads meeting at a little roundabout.

Well, if you live near there you'll know that Caffleys is now closed and the shop is empty.  There is however another application in to change it into a takeaway.

The rough details are that this would be serving from 12 30 to 9pm.

I've already spoken to quite a few local people who are concerned again about this.

Up to now it hasn't been possible to object to the Council because the official period hadn't started.  Well now it has.  So if you want to find out more, or comment on line, you can do it at this link.

The deadline is 7th February.

Richard Oglethorpe and I have written to update local people on the current situation.  When I have details about any planning committee meetings to do with this, I will make sure I post the details on this blog.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Clothes Exchange - Long Lane

Today I visited the Clothes Exchange, which is an initiative set up by volunteers at Long Lane Church.

The idea is that good quality clothes are donated, and taken, to help people who may be struggling financially and to help avoid things being thrown away. Obviously clothes can be an expense and some families do find themselves in a situation where there just isn't the cash to buy.

I'll be writing in more detail about this shortly but for now the key details are

Wednesday mornings in term time.  10 am to 11 30.  Long Lane Church.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

New fund for projects getting people involved in Sport

Sport England has today launched a new fund which is aimed at helping organisations with projects that will involve more people in Sport.

This runs alongside other schemes, like the small grants fund.

You can find out more at this link.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Citizenship ceremony

After a break of quite a few months, I was delighted yesterday to have the chance to speak at one of Liverpool's Citizenship Ceremonies.

These events are the final culmination of the process people go through to become citizens of the UK.

Liverpool's registry office does these on behalf of the Home Office.  People get their actual citizenship certificates at the events.

The organisers try to have a "dignitary" speaking at each event and handing over the certificates.  Yesterday it was me.

I used to make a parallel between being an opposition leader and issues of free speech.  Obviously I couldn't do that yesterday but made some parallels between University graduation and citizenship graduation both being the start of something and not the end.

As ever it was great to see so many happy people and I hope I am "on" again soon.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Talking Tesco again

Tesco (Holmfield Road at junction with Aigburth Hall Avenue) parking problems are still apparent sadly.

The other day I noticed that the junction was completely parked up with cars literally on the corners.

What's more the delivery lorries are still not stopping in a sensible place.  A local resident took this picture which clearly shows one of the lorries in the middle of the road.

We had hoped that various visits and discussions would have eased these problems but it seems not.

I am following this up and will blog again shortly.

Funds on offer for local groups - Cressington ward

The next deadline for applying to the Cressington Community First fund is 8th February.

The fund is a pot of Government money which is given to initiatives in Cressington ward.

There is a website which includes application details and information about priorities.  It also explains where the actual ward boundaries are

You can find the website at this link

If you struggle to down load a form, please let me know and I will e mail you.  In this case I will obviously need an e mail address for you.  I am at

The fund is chaired by Cllr Richard Oglethorpe.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Rotters Community Composting - job opportunity

Local environmental charity Rotters is looking for someone to work on a part time and freelance basis as an education officer.

It's a two day a week post during the school term time and the aim is to start in February this year witha contract running through to July.

Whoever gets the job will be working with primary and secondary schools focusing on education around recycling and composting.

Rotters are looking for someone with some educational experience but knowledge of environmental education is not essential.

If you are interested, the closing date is Friday 25th January at 12 noon.

Rotters can be contacted at or 0151 448 1532.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Mather Avenue could look better soon.

The parade of shops on Mather Avenue by the junction with Heath Road has been a bit of a local blight.  The empty shop front there has helped to make it all look more run down than it needs to.

Well it seems there could be good news on the way.  There's a plan to use that empty shop to join on to the cafe so that theres a cafe and a deli in the two units.

A planning application went in and it's been agreed today (9th) by Council officials.

This is great for those who have been pressing for some action on that parade (although litter and cleansing problems still remain)

Information about the proposal is at this link.  Please bear in mind that the vast majority of the information is in the relevant documents section - link towards the bottom of the page.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Honouring a Garston hero - Harold Newgass Drive.


Lt Harold Newgass was a Garston hero who helped prevent an explosion during the war when a bomb threatened to destroy the gas holder, and the nearby houses.

Some time ago I, and some Lib Dem colleagues, started trying to get his contribution marked in a public way.  There already was a plaque in a local church, and there had been meetings discussing the events, but we thought that something on the library wall, or a street naming, would be a good idea.

I spoke to Lt Newgass' daughter to get permission from the family to go ahead and we managed to get agreement for a street on the Cressington Heath estate named after the hero

The street isn't complete yet, but it's great to see this sign which shows that we are nearly there.  In fact a few houses are occupied so the address exists!

Hopefully there will be a bi of a ceremony when the actual street sign arrives so I am sure I will blog again about this.  I took some photographs today and it was great to be able to send them to Lt Newgass' daughter and other people who've been keen on this recognition.