November 15, 2011

 

Bill Esterson

 

The Environment Agency has announced proposals to scale back its flood defence management in Sefton after its government funding was slashed by the Tories and Lib Dems. As a result, homes throughout Formby, Hightown, Crosby, Thornton, Lydiate, Maghull, Aintree Village, Melling and parts of West Lancs could be at greater risk of flooding. My website has a link to an e-petition on the government’s website. Please add your name to the formal e-petition to force the government into a u-turn. If we can get 100,000 names, the government must discuss this issue in parliament. The address is www.bill.esterson.org.uk

 
By us all adding our voices to the campaign we may be able to push the government into seeing sense and reinstating the vital flood defence funding.
 
The Tory-Lib Dem government has proven it is "off the rails" after they confirmed that they will not be giving the greenlight to improving disabled access to Formby Train Station.
 
I took the call for improved disabled access to Parliament the Formby Action Team received growing numbers of complaints from Formby people wanting a lift at the station.
 
In the House of Commons, I asked a question about Formby Station. I said: "Elderly and disabled constituents of mine would like to access the rail network but are prevented from doing so by the poor station facilities. Merseytravel has had a budget cut of two thirds, which has caused delays to the installation of a lift at Formby station, to give one example. That lift is vital if elderly and disabled people are to be able to travel on the rail network at all. Will the Minister consider reversing that cut?"
 
Transport Minister Theresa Villiers wrote to me to explain why, according to the Tory-Lib Dem government, Formby doesn't need any disabled access improvements.
 
The Minister wrote: "Formby does of course have step-free access into the ticket office although passengers do then have to access the platforms via the public road. Although not ideal, this represents better access than the stations included in the main Access for All programme."
 
Ms Villiers has clearly never been to Formby to see for herself how difficult it can be for disabled passengers at the station. She says 'although not ideal' passengers have access to the ticket office from the public road. She’s not kidding. The ticket office is at the top of the bridge over the railway which means a steep hill and a long walk to the platform. The minister’s answer is clearly not acceptable and the many people who have complained about disabled access to Formby Train Station do not think this is good enough either. I will continue to make the case for disabled access improvements in Parliament.
 
My family and I were part of a crowd of up to 5,000 people who enjoyed  the fireworks display organised by Maghull Town. This year's display had been under threat after Sefton Council announced it was no longer able to fund the event after the Tory-Lib Dem government slashed the authority's funding. Maghull Town Council's controlling Labour group immediately sprang into action to find alternative sources of funding to save the popular annual community event. The Town Council paid for the event this year but are looking for sponsors for future years.
 
Can I thank the staff at Maghull Town Council for organising the event, the volunteers from St John Ambulance who kindly came along, Maghull Neighbourhood Police team for their advice and assistance during the display and the leader of the Town Council, Cllr Maurice Byrne and his Labour colleagues on the council who came along to steward during the event.
 
Although the fireworks display had been at risk because of the cuts, the people of Maghull came together to make this a fantastic community event.
 
Sainsbury’s have recently been meeting residents, traders and shoppers in Crosby to discuss alternative plans for the development of Crosby Village. I met Sainsbury’s and told them that most people in Crosby see Sainsbury’s as a key part of the success of Crosby but there is also a balance to be struck between Sainsbury’s and the rest of the community. Hopefully a compromise can be agreed, which suits Sainsbury’s and also everyone who lives, works and shops in Crosby.