Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Mayor for 'Liverpool City Region 'barking' idea..................

When the Labour Leader of Liverpool City Council, called for the “Liverpool City Region” – which includes Sefton – to have an elected mayor I knew we had to prepare for a campaign to defeat this daft notion.

A glance at the map clearly shows why this is not in Southport's best interests. 90% of our land boundary is NOT with Merseyside. Ever since the last (disastrous) local government reorganisation back in the early 70's we have been cut off from most of our natural hinterland. The communications through the narrow corridor to the south -both road and rail-have been maintained and upgraded, but to the north and east they are simply not fit for purpose. The towns are villages that surround us are in a different county and even though people in Ormskirk, Tarleton, Banks, Burcough and the like use Southport for commercial and public services there has been significant underinvestment in the infrastructure. We are like a person unable to use an arm and a leg. Because of this bureaucratic boundary our economic development  has been lopsided. Our famous shops, restaurant, seaside facilities are not easily accessed by the large population on our doorstep. It is not that those folk don't want visit us, it is just made very difficult for them because of the paucity of the road and rail system. The last thing we need is to entrench this disadvantage by having a City Region run from Liverpool .

The power bid by Liverpool City Council leader Cllr Joe Anderson comes after plans were for elected mayors were announced at the Conservative Party conference held in Birmingham in early October

At the Conservative conference, local government minister Bob Neill said that existing council leaders in the 12 largest cities outside London will automatically become city mayors with referendums held at a later date to establish whether or not the public wants to keep them.

However Liverpool’s Labour leader Anderson was reported last week as calling for any “elected mayor” to run the entire “city-region” – not just Liverpool – and for voters to be asked first.

Everyone talks about the need for politicians to be sensitive to the wishes of their electorate. Somehow this doesn't seem to apply to the wishes of people in Southport who have time and time overwhelmingly expressed the view that the town is ill served by the present local government set up. The boundary commission has been deluged with (literally) tens of thousands of representations and they are ignored. Our greatest economic need is to see those road and rail links north to Preston ( a city as close to parts of the town as Liverpool is) and east  Burscough and beyond upgraded. We wish Liverpool no harm but our interests are not served by handing over to them control of a wide range of services and expenditure. 

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