Thursday, 17 October 2013

New equipment at Carr Lane Rec

New outdoor gym equipment has arrived at Carr Lane Rec. Some little while ago the old play equipment had to be removed as it had become dangerous.
When I went to look at the four pieces of apparatus this evening I was delighted to see a family from Ranleigh Drive using it. The Mum was most impressed and her daughter energetically tried out a particularly demanding exercise routine.

An independent evaluation by Liverpool John Moores University is now completed. In summary the results are positive and suggest that “providing outdoor gym equipment is a promising approach to increasing physical activity that may reduce some of the complex barriers to taking part in exercise”.

We had a chat with the family who had moved into Ranleigh Dr seven years ago. They wanted to know if they lived ion Birkdale and we were able to reassure them. The Birkdale boundary extends down Heathfield Rd to Mill Lane. In recent times houses south of Carr Lane have been in Ainsdale Ward for local government purposes.

More Improvements in Bedford Park

My colleague Richard Hands has good reason to be smiling. Alongside the volunteers in Friends of Bedford Park he has seen the once neglected park transformed. The latest improvement is a new pavement leading to the children's play area which will improve access for Mums and Dads with push chairs and people with disabilities

Bedford Park was, as all Sandgrounders know, the original home of the now prestigious Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Good News for Guildford Road

I was delighted to see the improvements carried out by Birkdale Store which is on the Guildford Rd / Grantham Rd junction. I met the proprietor who has carried out some excellent work on his premises. I was particularly pleased o learn from him that a Post Office Local will open in the store at the end of November

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Lib Dem challenges Sainsbury development in Birkdale Village

I have written to the council demanding that the  Sainsbury  planning application for their proposed take over of two restaurants in Birkdale village should brought before the full planning committee so that local people can have their say.

To date the big supermarket has acted with a cavalier disregard for the views of local people. 

IBB said: "I have asked for this application to go to the full Planning Committee rather than being decided by Planning officers.  That will mean that residents and traders will have the opportunity to petition and address the Planning Committee."

I am well aware that the supermarket has 'boxed clever' over this issue and the key planning decision to knock the buildings together was made without their name being even mentioned. 

There are many concerns locally about the impact of this development especially on independent local traders and upon traffic congestion in the Village.

The big supermarkets are getting too big for their boots. Since they moved into the 'convenience store' market they have forced many small traders out of business and altered the character of our local shops. It is about time there was a new assessment of their dominant position in the market. They are stifling choice and variety 

I have already submitted a proposal to the local plan which would require full planning permission to be required before small units can be combined so as to provide protection for small independent traders 

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Parking at Christmas a new initiative needed

Christmas is coming  and I want to see an intiative to assist Southport retailers. I think that the council ought to off the Park and Ride 'free after three' in the run up to December 25th.

We all acknowledge that these are difficult times in retail and this is one small way that we could help.

Welcome for new opportunities for Southport school leavers

I hope Southport businesses will take up the new Traineeships programme that the Government has announced.

 To date local firms –including many small businesses -have taken on apprentices in the town.

Southport school leavers have taken up apprenticeships in record number. An  extra £20m is being made available to the government’s new Traineeships programme to support more young people into Apprenticeships

Traineeships, which began in August, provide 16 to 23-year-olds with the skills, experience and confidence to compete in the labour market – helping them secure Apprenticeships or other jobs.
Nationally more than 500 providers have pledged to take on trainees this year and so far 150 companies, both large and small, have all expressed an interest in offering placements to young people. They include household names such as BAE Systems, Siemens and Virgin Media.
Employers who are interested in getting involved can contact the National Apprenticeship Service
Traineeships last a maximum of 6 months and provide:
  • work preparation training such as interview preparation and CV writing
  • support to improve English and maths skills
  • a high-quality work experience placement (between 6 weeks and 5 months)
  • training from providers who are rated ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Good’ by Ofsted

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Another expensive disaster by Bootle Lab councillor

They keep coming-the revelations about Merseytravel under Mark Dowd's leadership. Todays iun the Daily Post:

An investigaton is underway into why £2m of Merseyside taxpayers’ money was spent on Beatles memorabilia that turned out to be worth only £300,000.
The Post can reveal that items, including a pair of John Lennon’s glasses and George Harrison’s first guitar,  bought by Merseytravel in 2008 have been revalued and found to be worth only £300,000 –  £1.7m less than the original valuation.
And the Post has learned that lawyers for the passenger transport authority – which bought the Beatles Story museum in the Capital of Culture year – had raised concerns over the valuation at the time.
They warned of a potential “conflict of interest” because the person who valued the items had previously been a fellow company director of the person selling the memorabilia.

Not a word of apology from those involved.In significant part this is down to the way Dowd ran the authority. There was no effective scrutiny. When opposition councillors raised concerns the Chief Exec authorised expensive lawyers to be retained to 'see off' criticism. The Labour Party  has been pusillanimous when dealing with this issue. Dowd still sits as a Councillor and his colleagues describe official reports as 'tawdry' For other strories -they are under the Merseytravel label