Work has started on creating a new community woodland in St.Helens, as part of one of the countrys biggest green regeneration programmes.
A team of experts from the Forestry Commission is working on a former landfill site in the south of St.Helens to give the area a green makeover.
The new Brickfields Community Woodland will include multi-purpose leisure trails, wildflower meadows and wetland habitats. The whole site, which lies between Lea Green Road and Chester Lane, is equivalent to more than 40 football pitches.
£2.1 million of funding is being provided for the Brickfields project via the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and Forestry Commission partnership programme, ‘Newlands’. A number of local partners, including Ibstock Brick Ltd, The Mersey Forest, St.Helens Council and Groundwork are also involved in the project.
A major operation has just been completed to bring 11,000 tonnes of earth onto the site so that trees can be planted in areas where there was previously no covering of soil. Small hills and other features have also been created, giving the site a more natural look.
New saplings have been planted and additional landscaping work will also create hard wearing trails and other elements such as signage and gates will be installed.
Various groups of local residents are busy helping to design four new gateway entrances for the site, with help from Oneninesixtwo Design.
20 different designs reflecting the history and community spirit of the site will be turned into a resin brick format and incorporated into clay brick kissing gates, sourced from the neighbouring Ibstock brickworks. A series of community design workshops has also been set up by The Mersey Forest.
Bob Baker of Ibstock Brick Ltd. says:
"The brick theme is being used in the site name to remind everyone of the industrial heritage of the area, including the present brickworks next door.
"The original fields were worked for clays and are now being returned to a green use - amenity woodland for the recreation and benefit of the local community."
Later this month more mature trees will be planted on parts of the site, helping to ensure it is quickly transformed into an attractive area of woodland.
A central avenue of English Oaks will be created, with some cherry trees and pine trees to provide variation as people travel from one part of the woodland to another.
When the scheme is complete, it will provide a much improved area of green space for local people and visitors to enjoy.
Simon Brown, Works Supervisor for the Forestry Commission in the North West, says:
"It’s a real pleasure watching the site changing on an almost daily basis. When we’ve finished I think local people are going to be really pleased with the results. There will be plenty of opportunities for everyone to enjoy the outdoors, whether it’s walking the dog, cycling or running.
"The project also includes a 20-year management plan so people can be confident that this new woodland will be kept in good condition."
The regeneration of the site will also benefit the local economy by helping to improve the image of the area and visually enhancing the main rail route between Manchester and Liverpool. This will help to form part of The Mersey Forest in St.Helens, which has seen the town transformed over the past ten years with the planting of over 2 million trees so far.
St.Helens Council has completed a St.Helens Town in the Forest study that identified the importance of regenerating brownfield sites, such as Brickfields, in helping to secure environmental improvement, which will enhance the image of St.Helens and help to secure direct and indirect economic benefits for the area.
Additional work is being planned for 2009, completing the transformation of the entire Brickfields site.
The plans are part of Newlands, a £59million NWDA-funded land regeneration scheme, which is rejuvenating around 900 hectares of the region's brownfield land to encourage economic growth, while creating new opportunities for leisure and recreation. Newlands, which stands for New Economic Environments Through Woodlands, is a partnership scheme involving the NWDA and the Forestry Commission.
Paul Lakin, Head of Development at the NWDA, said:
"Sustainable development is at the heart of all of the NWDA’s activities and we are delighted to support the sensitive development of Brickfields. New community woodland will not only enhance the environment for local people and visitors, but it will also raise the area’s profile as a place to invest."
Additional funding of over £300,000 from EU Objective One via The Mersey Forest Trust has been secured.
The Brickfields project has also been funded by Biffaward, a multi-million pound environment fund managed by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT), which utilises landfill tax credits donated by Biffa Waste Services.
Further information about is available at www.forestry.gov.uk/newlands
Work has started on creating a new community woodland in St.Helens, as part of one of the countrys biggest green regeneration programmes.
Scrambling over roofs and balancing on teetering ladders, birdman Brian Grace finally managed to capture what is thought to be the European Eagle Owl which recently escaped from a home in Clock Face.
Read the original story here.
The big bird, boasting a wing span of 6ft had flown to Widnes after flying from its perch a month ago.
Brian (25) who has been a falconer for more than a decade, used his skill and knowledge to trap the owl on the Dock Estate in Widnes.
He made several attempts to snare the owl, eventually catching it after it was being dive-bombed by six crows.
Brian, who is convinced that it is the same bird which has featured in the Star for several weeks, explained: "Whenever a bird is spotted around Widnes, they call me, so I went out to take a look.
"At first I tried a line with meat on it, because when it grabs it, it doesn't let go.
"But it didn't work. I climbed up the roof and got within six feet of it before it took off."
Brian successfully captured the giant predator after another attempt,
His efforts follwed a series of sightings of the owl in Widnes from readers who posted messages and sent pictures to http://www.sthelensstar.co.uk/.
The bird, which is the largest breed of owl in the world eats insects but has been known to prey on animals the size of a fox.
It has distinctive brown, grey and white markings, with large ear tufts, yellow or orange eyes with a black beak and talons.
Brian is currently checking proof of ownership before returning the bird.
St Helens Star
I am bringing you this post becayse I was fascinated by a story on Northwest Tonight on April 24th 2008, about how a play has been commissioned as part of the Liverpool '08 celebrations about one of St Helens' famous sons who played a crucial role in the development of sound in Hollywood movies.
Saints have announced the signing of New Zealand and Samoa foward Tony Puletua for next season.
Puletua, aged 28, will join from 2009 on a three-year contract.
He is currently playing for the Penrith Panthers in the NRL.
"He sees St Helens and Super League as a new challenge after 10 years at the Penrith Club in Australia."
Puletua added: "I'm really excited about joining the world famous St Helens Club.
"I'm really looking forward to the new start and new challenge in England and Saints' fans can be assured of my absolute commitment to the club's continuing success."
In a statement Saints chairman, Eamonn McManus said: "Tony will add size, athleticism and experience to our pack next year.
The forward, who will represent Samoa in the 2008 World Cup, has made more than 190 appearances for Penrith
The draw has been made for the fifth round of the Carnegie Challenge Cup.
Defending champions St Helens face a home tie against local rivals Warrington Wolves, whilst last year's beaten finalists Catalans Dragons face an away trip to Bradford Bulls.
In total there are four all engage Super League ties with the others being Harlequins RL against Leeds Rhinos and Hull KR versus Huddersfield Giants.
At least one team from either The Co-operative National League One or Two will make the Quarter Finals after Dewsbury Rams were drawn against Oldham.
Ties from the fifth round of the Carnegie Challenge Cup will be played on the weekend of 10 and 11 May.
The two televised ties will be St Helens V Warrington Wolves on Saturday 10 May (BBC 1, kick off 15:00) and Hull KR V Huddersfield Giants on Sunday 11 May (BBC 2, kick off 13:15) This year's final will be played at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 30 August.
The full draw is: Hull KR V Huddersfield Giants.
Barrow Raiders V Wakefield Wildcats.
Dewsbury Rams V Oldham.
Bradford Bulls V Catalans Dragons.
Wigan Warriors V Whitehaven.
Widnes Vikings V Hull FC.
Harlequins RL V Leeds Rhinos.
St Helens V Warrington Wolves
St Helens Star
Catalans Dragons coach Mick Potter will succeed Daniel Anderson at the helm of St Helens at the end of the season.
"Mick is a first-class coach and is improving year in year out," said Saints chief executive Tony Colquitt.
"He is exactly what we will need next season to take over a pretty difficult mantle in replacing Daniel."
Australian Potter, who has agreed a two-year deal, said it was an "honour" and "privilege" to be appointed coach of "this world famous club".
Anderson, who steered Saints to the treble in 2006, will end his reign at the end of the season in order to return home to Australia.
Potter will continue as Catalans coach for the rest of 2008.
The 44-year-old emerged as favourite to succeed Anderson after guiding the Dragons to last year's Challenge Cup final at Wembley.
They lost to Saints that day but have continued to improve under Potter, climbing to third place in the Super League table.
The French club had offered Potter a new two-year deal but he turned that down to accept the challenge at Knowsley Road.
Potter, a full-back with National Rugby League clubs Canterbury Bulldogs, St George and Perth Western Reds, cut his coaching teeth as an assistant to Matthew Elliot at Bradford Bulls from 1996-1998.
He joined the backroom staff of St George on his return to Australia and coached the New South Wales Under-17 squad before being head-hunted by former Great Britain coach David Waite to take on at the Dragons in February 2006.
Potter said: "I am looking forward to next season. However, my immediate commitment is to the Catalan Dragons, its players and supporters as we look to continue the good work and progression the club has achieved."
Colquitt told BBC 5 Live: "He was an all-time great in Australia, he was a great full-back.
"He brings the energy, enthusiasm and toughness he had as a player. He certainly understands players and how they play.
"We are really excited but that is for next season. This season we are focused on Daniel and the team and I am sure Mike will be focussing on the Catalans on their team and we will talk about it in October and November."
Planning permission has been secured for the development of a community health centre that regeneration chiefs hope will breathe new life into an area of St Helens town centre.
The Lowe House Primary Care Resource Centre will be built at the corner of Oxford Street and Crab Street, St Helens, housing four GP Practices and a range of community-based health and social care facilities.
It will replace St Helens PCT services and one GP practice in the existing Lingholme Health Centre as well as Albion Street Clinic.
These will include a musculoskeletal pain clinic, sexual health and family planning services, a minor surgery suite, children's audiology suite, ophthalmology suite, phlebotomy, respiratory care and a retail pharmacy unit.
Rebecca Burke-Sharples, chief executive of St Helens Primary Care Trust, said: "This building will be the jewel in the crown of the Duke Street regeneration plans. Our aim is to provide a building that meets the needs of the local community in an imaginative and practical way. Key to the success of this development is the commitment to partnership working."
St Helens Primary Care Trust said the complex, which will be built by the PCT's LIFT (Local Improvement Finance Trust) company, Renova.
It is hoped the development will provide a focal point for the ongoing regeneration of the Duke Street area of St Helens and that will enhance the main Western gateway approach into St Helens town centre.
St Helens Star
Building work could begin in September and be completed by December 2009.
St Helens MP Dave Watts has warned supermarket chain Morrisons that its local business interests could be damaged if it does not drop objections to a planning application which includes proposals for a new Saints stadium.
Watts held talks with Morrisons in Bradford where he urged the firm's property director, Roger Owen to drop their opposition for plans to build a Tesco Extra supermarket alongside a new Saints stadium at the former United Glass site, Peasley Cross.
"Mr Owen re-iterated the company's continuing concerns about the retail proposals, specifically the consistent application of retail planning policy."
Following on from last year’s inaugural event, the St.Helens Festival is back by popular demand on 5th and 6th July 2008.
The largest event in this year’s Council calendar, the Festival is being held at Sherdley Park and will open from 12 noon daily.
Spread over two days, the free Festival (which replaced the St.Helens Show) will celebrate the Borough’s rich cultural heritage and wealth of talent through a packed programme which includes music, sport, arts, culture and much more.
St.Helens Festival also gives business’ the opportunity to trade and exhibit their products in a parkland setting offering prime outdoor retail space.
The Music Pavilion will host some of the best music and bands that the region has to offer, with support from The Citadel Arts centre, St.Helens Music Net and St.Helens Musicians Collective.
The Lancashire Hotpots have been confirmed as the headline act for Sunday 6th July.
Other attractions with a ‘fun for all’ theme include a Children's World with donkey rides, inflatables, entertainers, a Main Arena with live stunt shows, a Sports Quarter, a Country and Heritage Section, Classic Cars and a fairground to name just a few.
For information about St.Helens Festival please call the events team on 01744 456360 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
WhileSt Helens fans wait with bated breath for smoke signals regarding the appointment of a new coach, chairman Eamonn McManus is remaining as cool as ever.
Despite reports that Catalans Dragons boss Mick Potter is in negotiations to take over from Daniel Anderson as Knowsley Road supremo at the end of the season, McManus is sticking rigidly to his club’s policy.
He said: “We’ve said all along that when we’ve sorted out a deal for a new coach, we’ll announce it. It’s as simple as that.
“There may be other clubs involved and we don’t wish to prejudice anybody’s position.
“I don’t see any point in making an announcement before matters are done and dusted.”
Potter himself has been a little more forthcoming having admitted he has spoken to St Helens and is now “weighing up his options”.
It is understood he has been offered a two-year extension to his current deal by the Dragons but the lure of silverware may well tempt him to cross the channel.
Despite picking up the wooden spoon in his first season at the Dragons, the former St George fullback has since impressed many observers by guiding the French side to an historic Wembley final last year and to a club record winning run this term.
In the meantime, current boss Anderson has been preparing his men for Sunday’s Carnegie Challenge Cup fourth round tie against London Skolars at Knowsley Road.
The National League Two minnows shouldn’t provide too big a hurdle for Anderson’s men eventhough they look set to be below full strength.
Paul Wellens is expected to be on the sidelines for up to three weeks after picking up a quadricep injury. Matt Gidley will deputise at fullback.
Hooker James Roby will be rested after taking on a heavy workload this season but his mentor Keiron Cunningham returns to action after a long injury lay-off.
Anderson has chosen to leave out loose-forward Paul Sculthorpe with an eye on next Friday’s crunch Super League match at Warrington Wolves and scrum-half Sean Long is also out.
The body of 29-year-old Stephen Vaughan was discovered on a path off Wagon Lane in Haydock by a passer-by at about 0800 GST on Tuesday morning.
Police are trying to trace anyone who saw him in the 24 hours before he was found dead.
His death is being described as unexplained and tests are being carried out to determine how he died.
Anyone with information should contact police.
St Helens' hopes of appointing Mick Potter as a replacement coach for Daniel Anderson could be thwarted by Catalans Dragons.
Potter, 43, is St Helens' top target to replace Anderson, who is returning to Australia for family reasons at the end of the season after four glory years in charge.
Potter has led Catalans, the Perpignan-based club, to their best run of six unbeaten matches as they have climbed to third place in the Engage Super League. He also steered Catalans to a Carnegie Challenge Cup final last year, when they were beaten by St Helens, and the French club have made rapid strides since he succeeded Steve Deakin, who is now at Oldham, two years ago.
Potter is out of contract at the end of the season and has also been linked with a move to National Rugby League strugglers Canterbury Bulldogs in Australia.
The quietly-spoken and deep-thinking Potter has the credentials to make him an obvious choice for St Helens.
However, Catalans have now offered the former full-back a new contract and their chairman, Bernard Guasch, is confident they can persuade him to stay in the south of France.
Guasch, whose side visit Featherstone Rovers in the Challenge Cup fourth round on Sunday, said: "We expect Mick to re-sign within the next week. We have made him an offer, there is still a lot of work to be done in Perpignan and I believe Mick will stay another two years.
"His first choice would be to return to Australia, because he has two children in Sydney, but the offers he is likely to receive I think mean he will stay with us."
Ian Millward, the North Queensland Cowboys assistant coach, could be set for a surprise return to his old club, Leigh, but any move to St Helens can be ruled out.
The Super League hopefuls are looking for a new coach after the resignation of Darren Shaw last week.
Millward, who took charge at St Helens and Wigan after leaving Leigh, would prefer a move to a Super League outfit but an approach from his first club in this country could be tempting.
Hull are linked with a move for Tony Puletua, the New Zealand Test forward who will be allowed to leave Penrith Panthers despite having 18 months of his contract to run.
Clint Newton, man of the match in Hull Kingston Rovers' 20-18 victory over Bradford Bulls on Sunday, has been ordered to appear before the Rugby Football League disciplinary committee tonight charged with making a dangerous tackle.
Former Saints full back Steve Prescott completed the Flora London Marathon in just over four and a half hours.
The 34-year-old, who was diagnosed with the rare cancer Pseudomyxoma Peritonei 18 months ago, battled through cramp for the final third of the race.
He was running to raise funds and awareness for Christie Hospital, where he is being treated, and the RL Benevolent fund, but also to inspire other people like himself fighting cancer.
St Helens Star
St Helens MP Dave Watts is to meet Morrisons' chief executive Marc Bolland in a bid to convince the retail giant to drop their objections to plans for Saints new stadium.
The supermarket, which has two store in St Helens, is opposed to the scheme because of the involvement of their rivals Tesco, who will have a giant retail complex built into the new ground.
Mr Watts' meeting assumes greater importance after it was announced a date has finally been set to hear the planning application for the proposed stadium.
The news follows weeks of increasingly fevered protests by fans concerned plans for the new stadium could be shelved.
And on Tuesday Saints coach Daniel Anderson warned the club could be forced out of the borough if they did not get a new ground.
Saints announced last Thursday (April 3) plans for the stadium would heard on May 20.
Mr Watts, Labour MP for St Helens North, defended the length of time taken to bring the proposal to the planning stage.
He said: "I don't want to have a go at the coach because I understand that he just wants what is best for the team and wants a world class stadium for the fans - but I think if he had been talking to his chairman (Eamonn McManus) then he would have known more about what is going on.
"It is a complicated process. There are four separate applications and each one has to follow due process. If that doesn't happen then opponents will simply challenge it in the courts."If we take shortcuts then Morrisons could challenge it in the courts. I'm meeting Morrisons' chief executive to see if I can persuade him to drop his company's objection to the application."
St Helens creative design agency PalfreyGreer says the new brand it has designed for its home town is proving a great success.
The agency, working with St Helens Council economic development team, created Brand New St Helens to showcase the town as a “vibrant, regional location of choice at the heart of the North West”.
The project aims to highlight St Helens’s regeneration, encourage investment, promote local pride and challenge perceptions of the borough.
PalfreyGreer’s design features a St Helens logo in red and white. The logo features on signs throughout the borough, including five “boundary markers” at key points in the town displaying information on forthcoming events.
A central website for St Helens has also been created at www. theheartofthenorthwest.com, linking to other sites promoting St Helens’s location, investment opportunities and visitor attractions.
ŠJohn Whaling, economic development manager at St Helens Council, said: “PalfreyGreer is a great example of the creative talent we have here in St Helens.
“We have undergone an exciting transformation and the place branding initiative reinforces the many changes that have taken place by renewing our image and showcasing our assets.”
The websites include one urging people to be POSH – Proud of St Helens. It lists reasons why town residents should hold their heads high, ranging from the borough’s success at attracting new businesses to internationally known St Helens icons such as Johnny Vegas and St Helens Rugby League Club.
PalfreyGreer director Stephen Palfrey said: “The brief was to create something striking and vibrant to reflect the changing face of St Helens and convey the notion of a dynamic, modern borough.
Š“This has been a really exciting project to work on because of the forward-thinking way in which St Helens Council has approached its place branding and the way that we have worked in close partnership together to create Brand New St Helens.
“For a local authority, what they have achieved has been very innovative indeed.”
Liverpool Daily Post
A Giant European Eagle Owl has escaped from a home in St Helens and residents are being asked to keep their pets indoors!
The intimidating-looking bird of prey, which was being kept at a house on Burnage Avenue, Clock Face, was reported missing to St Helens police last week.
The largest breed of owl in the world, the European Eagle Owl is typically around three-feet tall and has a wingspan more than a metre wide.
A protected species, it has distinctive brown, grey and white markings, with large ear tufts, yellow or orange eyes and a black beak and talons, although if you manage to get that close you will have probably already realise what it is!
Found in Northern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, it can make nests in a variety of habitats, but usually uses a rock ledge or cave as a base.
At night, the European Eagle Owl is active, flying swiftly and noiselessly while scanning the ground for prey. It will eat insects, small birds, small reptiles, fish, and small mammals like cats.
Most often, European Eagle Owls prey on animals smaller than rabbits, but they can kill prey the size of foxes and have been known to attack other birds of prey.
The birds, which are rare, but are not in danger of extinction, can growl or even bark if they feel threatened.
If you've spotted a giant European Eagle Owl swooping near you, please contact your local police station.
With thanks to St Helens Star
The BBC Merseyside News website carries a full story about the death of Carr Mill resident Margaret Briers, along with an e-fit of her suspected assailant.
Police have named a man found in a pond in Bold.
Mark Lyon's body was discovered by a passer-by last Wednesday night (April 2) in water off Gorsey Lane.
Mr Lyon, 47, from Parr, had been reported missing six months ago.However, post mortem tests over the weekend to determine the cause of death proved inconclusive. Further tests are to be carried out, a spokesman for Merseyside Police said.
His parents reported him missing from home on October 8. Since his disappearance his worried family and Merseyside Police have issued appeals for his safe return.
Investigations are continuing but his death is not being treated as suspicious.A police spokesman said:
"We are not treating Mr Lyon's death as suspicious but we are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding his demise.
"We are piecing together what happened during his lengthy disappearance in order to discover how he died."
St Helens expect to name their new coach within the next month. The Super League club will lose Daniel Anderson when he returns to Australia at the end of the season and are thought to be well down the road in discussions with the Catalan Dragons' Mick Potter.
"We have genuinely not made a decision yet," the club's chief executive, Tony Colquitt, said. "There are a couple of names we're talking to, but we've got to respect confidentiality."
One complication is that Potter, like Anderson, is a contender for the Canterbury Bulldogs job which will be vacated at the end of the season by Steve Folkes.
Meanwhile, Saints have warned their local council that they could be forced to leave the town and play at Bolton's Reebok Stadium if they do not get permission to build a new stadium.
Saints' Test forward, Maurie Fa'asavalu, faces a possible suspension tonight after being sent off for running in and striking Castleford's Craig Huby.
Warrington are in double jeopardy at the same disciplinary hearing. Ben Westwood was sent off for a reckless high tackle at Wakefield on Sunday, while Adrian Morley has been cited for a careless high tackle in the same match. Wigan's Michael McIlorum faces a similar charge.
Hull are waiting for a specialist's report on what they fear is a serious neck injury to their half-back, Richard Horne. The Great Britain internationalwas thought to have suffered an arm injury against Bradford on Friday, but the problem has been localised to his neck. The club hope that Adam Dykes will recover from a neck injury of his own in time for Friday night's game at Castleford.
Hull's second-rower, Danny Tickle, has agreed a new two-year contract.
Darren Shaw resigned as football manager at Leigh yesterday, the day after their surprise defeat by Featherstone in the Northern Rail Cup.
Five engage Super League clubs are on the trail of Australia captain Darren Lockyer, including Hull Kingston Rovers.
The Brisbane Broncos and Queensland skipper, 31, is out of contract at the end of 2009 and in the past has spoken about the possibility of ending his career in England.
Lockyer’s manager George Mimis confirmed that "five or six" clubs had approached him about signing the Test and Origin star from 2010 onwards.
"Each year there’s interest," Mimis told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"This year, at least five clubs, maybe six, would be interested."
Hull KR are one of the clubs, although Mimis refused to divulge the others.
He said he had already had some "tentative" discussions with Lockyer about "what life might look like" after his contract with the Broncos expired.
"Super League would feature as one of the discussion points," Mimis said.
"It’s a possibility. He’s enjoyed the time he’s had, football-wise, over there.
"He’s enjoyed travelling there on a couple of occasions socially as well. He doesn’t dislike the whole environment."
Chris Power (42) of Rainford has become one of the UK’s elite health and safety consultants by joining 4See Risk Management, the UK’s leading nationally operating health, safety and environmental consultancy. Chris joins from the management consultancy, Sysco where he provided health, safety and environmental training, and NVQ assessments to clients. In his new role Chris will give advice and training to client companies on all matters relating to health safety and environmental compliance.
Chris originally from Whiston, has lived in Merseyside for most of his life. He has been married to his South African wife for 18 years, and the couple have three children.
Motorists driving through St Helens will face traffic diversions over the next 10 weeks while work is carried out on a new car park in the town.
Birchley Street will be closed except for access from Birchley Street Car Park to Clifton Street junction.
The road will be completely closed from Clifton Street junction to Standish Street junction from Thursday onwards.
Diverted traffic will be routed via Standish Street, College Street, Corporation Street and Birchley Street.
The work is expected to be completed by the middle of June