Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Southport Libdem Conference Morning Coffee and Afternoon Tea

Morning coffee at The Atkinson in a café run as a social enterprise by the charity Autism Initiatives called A Great Little  Place is recommended .This venue is part of the Atkinson Art Gallery/Museum/Theatre/Library complex on Lord St next to the Town Hall. There is lots going on there during the conference, check out their
calendar of events

 Caron Lindsay rather jumped the gun by mentioning Afternoon Tea when she was reporting the most read Libdem blogs last week. Now is the moment:

Southport is fortunate to have a goodly number of independent tea room. We do, of course have some chain operating as well. My advice is to check out the former. Let us start with Lillibets Tearoom (and here I am reviewing their pastries and not their politics.) I have to say, in my opinion, it is the best. It is situated on Lord Street. If you walk up to Lord St from the conference along Neville St turn left into Lord Street, five minutes walk) As they say on their website 'Our signature pâtisserie is entirely handmade on the premises using the finest, fresh ingredients which we mostly import from France to ensure the highest quality and authenticity. Our delectable pâtisserie is made daily (and the range changes seasonally as it does in France!) and can tempt you from our display cabinet in the tea rooms. We use free range eggs which come from ‘Happy Hens’, juicy Madagascan vanilla pods and always oodles of fresh seasonal fruit from our local Grocers in Birkdale village.'

all photos from Lillibets
Westminster Tea Rooms  also on Lord Street, this time turn left onto Lord Street from Neville Street. Finally the Nostalgia Tea Room also on Lord St on the way to the Westminster. The big hotels also serve afternoon Tea and I have heard good things about Vincent Hotel

Southport's biggest employer and the impact of 750 people working in a residential area

John Pugh and I outside Smedley Hydro
Over the years there have been complaints about parking in the roads around Smedley. A little background will assist in understanding the issue. This Government facility which includes the staff with the Home Office and NHS digital is Southport's biggest single employer. There are about 750 staff overwhelmingly drawn from the local area.  There are only 245 car parking spaces. It is not difficult to see why residents close to the facility feel they have a problem.

The issue was raised at the public Forum in Southport Town Hall and so it was John and I arranged to meet folk at Smedley to discuss the issue. In fairness the number of complaints I have received has significantly diminished over the years, a judicial application of yellow paint has helped as have the approach of the Smedley staff. As a generalisation I would say that the difficult manoeuvre of managing the disruption when 750 staff turn up to work in the heart of a residential area has been broadly achieved. There are, and will continue to be, incidents when that co-existence is not as successful as all would wish.

Since my last engagement with this issue Smedley have introduced a 1 mile rule that precludes anyone living in that distance from having a car parking space. And so it is that it is not unusual to see folk walking to work and some cycling. Smedley have introduced a drying room and a shower facility and the council have funded an extra cycle shed. I enquired about the take up of the Bike2WorkScheme but this being the Civil Service they didn't have figures, it was dealt with by another department. I intend to follow up this point. As the photo shows I cycled there as I live close by (I'm the one who forgot to take his cycle clips off).They have a car share scheme but in truth the numbers taking that up, although welcome, are not significant.

Smedley also have flexible working pattern which reduces the 'rush hour impact' and the night shift is only about 40 people.

I suspect that this is one of those issues that require eternal vigilance. A less concerned team at Smedley could easily result in local chaos

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Birkdale flooding

'Arty' photo by SJS
Residents have been reporting problems with drainage. I have reported several sites to the council where the situation is significantly worse than is usually experienced after a downpour. These include outside Tesco's on Liverpool Rd, Halsall Rd and Hartley Cres where this photo was taken.

The gullies have been cleared but the problems persist suggesting that some more significant is the at fault. I am pleased to see workmen at the Tesco site but I am still awaiting confirmation of when the other sites will be dealt with.

The incidents of flooding are on the increase as we experience more extreme weather events. This is happening right across the globe. Scientists are convinced that many of these are events are a consequence of man made climate change. 

Humans are increasingly influencing the climate and the earth's temperature by burning fossil fuels, cutting down rainforests and farming livestock.
This adds enormous amounts of greenhouse gases to those naturally occurring in the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect and global warming.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Lib Dem Southport Conference, places to go for food, drink and visit for interest starting with breakfast

The tide comes in at Southport surrounding the longest iron pier in Britain 

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice The Lib Dem Conference is coming to Southport in March so I thought it might be helpful to if I did a guide to our town. In later posts I will go into more detail about some of the things that should be part of any visit to the town like the British Lawnmower Museum, excellent bookshops like my favourite Broadhurst's , the best places for afternoon tea (top choice Lillibet's), pubs and breweries, restaurants, Southport shrimps ,fish and chip shops, our brilliant municipal gardens, RSPB nature reserve, and will even do some research about our championship golf courses. And if you take a walk at twilight along the sand dunes at Birkdale you make hear the Natterjack toads.

Close by to Southport you can see the Red Squirrels at Freshfield, or visit the Wildfowl andWetlands Trust Nature Reserve at Martin Mere  or the Anther Place- Gormley's statues on Crosby Beach.

Oh, and did you know that Southport provided the inspiration and template for the tree line boulevards for Paris? Louis Napoleon lived in the town when he was in exile in 1846. Check it out  and in a Guardian Leader and in the Southport Visiter

And we have a bust of Dan Dare from the Eagle comic which was created in Southport

We'll start with breakfast...If you are self catering or have a room only deal you may be looking for breakfast. I suggestion would be Tapper's in Union St opposite the Guest House pub-more of which later