Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Dragon Boating & Help for Hero's

I had the great pleasure of joining Councillor Fred Weavers and colleagues on Satruday 24th July rowing a dragon boat.  The event, organised by Fred, was to raise money for the charity Help for Hero's.  I joined the boat crewed by the Mayor Maureen Fearn, Councillors Tony Robertson, Mike Booth and Haydn Preece together with other friends and colleagues.  I have to say it was great fun and much easier than I had thought.  Both Maureen and myself were, however, a little disappointed that the boat itself didn't include a dragons head !

Well done to all!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

A message from the Home Watch Team

In the last 24hrs the Home Watch Team have been contacted re cold calling telephone calls in the Sefton area.

Several Southport and Formby residents have contacted Sefton Crime Prevention officers and Southport Homewatch to report that they had received 'cold calling' telephone calls from a company offering PC support services.

One of the recipients of these calls had a second call from them and was provided with the following information.

Company   :   Risk Tec Support (or similar)
Tel Number   :01614083331  (goes to answer phone)

We have also been contact by Sefton residents who have received 'cold calling' from an unknown company conducting 'Home Security Surveys' ?.

The callers asked for personal information, i.e. age of the occupants, the type of house they live in etc.

We have not, at the time of sending this message, been able to contact either company and little information, other than above, is known about them.

Therefore if you receive such telephone calls be careful as to what personal information you disclose to them or to any financial commitment you may enter into.

For more information about this message, please contact  :-
Kevin Kehoe on 0151 777 3458
or Margaret Jepson 0151 777 3419

For all other none urgent police enquires please ring
0151 709 6010  (Merseyside Police Main Switch Board)

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Bus Shelter to be re-installed at Albany Road Stop

The Cambridge Ward Team are delighted to report that the bus shelter, which was recently removed from Albany Road, is set to be returned as a matter of urgency. Residents called the Lib Dem team to express concern that the shelter had been removed and not replaced by a new one.  As residents are very aware, this is a particularly exposed area which because of its location, just off the Promenade, gets the wind straight off the coast.

Bus stops and bus shelters are not, however, the responsibility of the Council instead they are managed by Merseytravel.  As a result, Councillor Sue McGuire contacted Merseytravel and explained in detail why a bus shelter was needed at this particular location. This action, together with calls from some residents, has prompted Merseytravel to reconsider their decision and look to replace the missing shelter.

Sue received the following email reply in response to her request for the shelter to be replaced.

Hi Sue

Yes, we have received several enquiries about the removal of this shelter!!

I’ll try and explain the reasoning as simply as I can. I hope it’s not too withering!

The existing shelter was of obsolete design and in very poor condition

Merseytravel, in partnership with our shelter contractor have a set budget for the replacement(within the 5 borough’s) of such shelters (Abacus Shelters)

There are more shelters of this type than the budget covers

There are no longer the parts available for continued maintenance of such shelters and a list was drawn up of the most dilapidated shelters

Albany Road was highlighted as being in very poor condition and an assessment was made on the frequency of bus services utilising the stop, the recorded boarding figures and maintenance history of the bus stop

The boarding figures fell way short of the usual level used when assessing a location for the provision of a shelter

Therefore, as the shelter was ‘beyond repair’, the location then did not justify the expense of a brand new bus shelter as other locations scored much higher on the priority list, given the limited budget for replacement of this type of shelter and subsequently the decision was taken to remove the structure

That’s the background. However, since the removal we have received several comments which have highlighted the dismay felt by public transport users in this area. We regret the fact that there was no pre-warning of the removal, which could have been placed at the bus stop prior to the event.

Given the groundswell of opinion on the shelter and that it is obviously a vital cog for those that support public transport in this area, we have taken the decision to source a replacement shelter as soon as possible. It may not be a brand new one but will certainly be from our most recent range of shelters. Sourcing the appropriate shelter for the configuration of the pavement may take a few weeks but we will now make the necessary arrangements to reinstate a shelter as soon as possible.

It would be most helpful if you can pass this on to any residents, passengers in the area who have highlighted this issue. I trust this clarifies our position but should you have any further queries please do not hesitate in contacting me.


Asset Management
Tel No 0151-330-1862
Fax No 0151-330-1222

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Give a Cold Shoulder on Energy Callers

Press release from Sefton Trading Standards

Fed up consumers in Sefton who say 'no' to receiving cold calls have won assurances from energy firms that they will no longer be bothered on the doorstep. 

Following campaigning by energy watchdog Consumer Focus and the Trading Standards Institute, the big six energy companies are now committed to respecting the wishes of people who live in recognised 'no cold calling zones' or display signs saying 'no' to cold callers. 

Research by the energy regulator Ofgem in 2008 revealed that just under half of customers who switched supplier in response to a direct sales approach ended up on a worse deal. This prompted the introduction of new protection around energy sales so that when consumers sign up to a new deal on the doorstep they must receive a price comparison to prove the deal being offered is better than their existing one.

If consumers still receive cold calls at their door from energy suppliers despite clearly displaying a sign requesting not to do so, they should complain directly to the energy firm and contact Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.

Home Watch comments "After looking on the website
the following companies were identified as signing up to the agreement not to visit properties where "NO COLD CALLING" stickers are displayed. Home Watch has a supply of NO COLD CALLING  stickers for members to display on their doors or windows to avoid uninvited callers."

Contact details of energy companies who have agreed not to call on
premises that display the stickers are as follows:

British Gas
Tel: 0845 048 0707
Write to:
British Gas
PO Box 3055
BN21 9FE
Text phone: 18001 0800 072 8626

EDF Energy
Tel: 0800 092 9292
Write to:
EDF Energy
Freepost 3814

Tel: 0845 070 4856
Write to:
Customer Relations,
PO Box 97, Peterlee, SR8 9AP.
or visit
If the complaint is not resolved by the
supplier to your satisfaction, you may take
your complaint to the energy supply
ombudsman, details of how to do this can
be found on the energy supply ombudsman

Tel: 0800 0150987
Write to:
Residential Sales Quality Team
Newstead Court, Little Oak Drive
Annesley, Nottingham
NG15 0DR

Tel: 0800 117 116
Atlantic Electric and Gas
Scottish Hydro Electric
Southern Electric and Gas
SWALEC Electric and Gas
Write to:
Head of Customer Service
Grampian House
200 Dunkeld Road

Scottish Power
Tel: 0141 568 4673
Fax: 0141 568 2189
Email: energysurecompliance@

For more information about this message, please contact  :-
Kevin Kehoe on 0151 777 3458
or Home Watch Margaret Jepson 0151 777 3419

For all other none urgent police enquires please ring
0151 709 6010  (Merseyside Policed Main Switch Board)

Monday, 19 July 2010

From Crosby to Austria - the Iron Men spread

I often walk on the beach at Crosby and am always amazed by the impact of Anthony Gormley's Iron Men in "Another Place".  When they first arrived in 2005 concerns were raised by residents but five years later I think we should celebrate the statues especially since they are only one of five installations worldwide. 

So I was delighted when the Observer gave details of our own Crosby men in a recent article on the new iron men installation within the Austrian Alps.

Anthony Gormley recently said "We've covered the urban condition, the endlessness of the sea and the chaos of the mountains.  That'll do. 

Full details of the new installation within the Austrian Alps 
can be found here.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Samphire in Southport

I was on the beach this week and one thing that struck me was the site of Samphire growing so abundantly on the beach near to the Pier.  In fact, I believe, Southport has become a bit of a destination in terms of Samphire harvesters who are taking to our shores in droves armed with sharp knives and black plastic bags.

Samphire is an edible plant that grows on the edge of salt marshes and beaches click here for More information on Samphire. Samphire is now back in vogue as a very health addition to the diet and I believe it is very popular in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.

But I have a person interest in Samphire or as we usually call it Sampi.  It was the basis for my first entrepreneurial adventure.

My Mum and Dad loved the stuff and so it was an annual event to trek to the very edges of the salt marsh with my father to harvest the Sampi. But one year when I was about 10, I had an idea on the long march to Sampi plains.  Why not harvest extra and then sell it to the old folks so that's what we did.

Any good business enterprise needs staff so I rounded up some friends and convinced my father of the benefit of a second trip out on the salt marsh. Now you have to understand getting out to the edge of the salt march was a job in itself since the salt marsh is made up of lots of gullies many of which need to vaulted over but such was my belief that I would make a million - not so bad on the way out but coming back was a bit more challenging when loaded with the bags of Sampi but I urged everyone on with tales of the fortune we would make. So home we came and set into production - washing, boiling and bagging the plant.  Then off we went to market - like the old fashion hawkers plying our trade down the highways and bye-ways of the villages.  At 50p a bag we were soon sold out.

Well I didn't make a million but for a first business venture I didn't too bad as I was able to afford getting all my workers a lolly ice for their effort.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Library Opens in new (temporary) location

Yesterday the new temporary library in Southport Town Centre was opened at the Southport Visiter Offices on Tulketh Street. I was delighted that Jean Alexander, who had been a key supporter of the temporary library campaign was there with the Mayor Maureen Fearn to cut the ribbon.

The opening follows several months of campaigning in rain and shine by the Liberal Democrats to ensure that Southport residents weren't left high and dry with no library facilities whilst the old Atkinson Library undergoes a complete refurbishment as part of the Cultural Centre.

Andrew Edwards, Group Editor of the Southport Visiter spoke at the opening to welcome the library into what was until recently the location of the news desks for the journalists. Thanks must go to the Southport Visiter staff who have worked with the Council to ensure that this new temporary site is ready to go as a library.

I was surprised when I walked in at just how much like a library it looks - the Children's section is great and also now includes 2 computers which were not available in the Atkinson Library.  The Teens section has been moved away from the children's section which I think is a really good idea and placed next to the IT section.  I am also pleased to report that there are the same number of PC's available to the public as before.  During the event I spoke to library staff who also explained that they had changed the way the shelves were filled with books to show book covers as well book spines to entice readers to try new authors.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Job Done !

Don't you just love it when things happen like they are supposed to?

I know Sefton Council gets knocked by many residents for many things; bins not collected, state of the roads, street cleaning etc. and I too have been known to have a go.  So that's why I thought it was important to post a story which shows that the Council do get some things right.

Yesterday, a resident called to complain about some abusive graffiti on his garden wall which I duly reported to the Environmental team.  Imagine my delight when today the graffit team called me to tell me they had cleaned the graffiti off in less than 24 hours from the first call being made.  This was topped only by a call from the resident to say how pleased he was that the problem had been resolved.

So to coin a phrase "they did what it said on the tin"

If you know of an area that has graffiti, whether offensive or not, please let the Lib Dem team know.