Happy New Year… to a Dying Town Divided

By on Friday, January 13, 2012

Steeple of Prescot Parish ChurchYour editor is back on British soil, having been living away for a couple of years. Prescot has always remained in my heart, however, hence starting this website as a way to disseminate news and views about the town.

I return to a town that has been on its last legs for years, and its decline appears only to be accelerating. Prescot Leisure Centre no longer exists. It will be replaced with a nice-enough pitch-side facility, but it will not be of the size or scope to  replace the town’s only civic centre. Scotchbarn Baths is waiting to be demolished, too, as all leisure services, including a swimming pool, are relocated to Huyton. I’ve heard the new Culture and Leisure Park is impressive, and I don’t doubt it — but again, a central facility serving the whole of Knowsley can’t replace a local leisure and civic centre for Prescot.

Prescot Museum will be downgraded later this spring, too, vacating the beautiful Georgian townhouse it now occupies on Church Street and taking up space in the Prescot Centre, which it will share with the relocated library and the council One Stop Shop.

Wetherspoons has arrived on Eccleston Street. Is that a good thing? I drank in there, and I was happy to see the old Kwiksave transformed into a vibrant place whose decor reflected a bit of Prescot’s heritage and history.

Meanwhile, both Knowsley Council and Prescot Town Council have seen great change. The Lib Dems have mostly been unseated, undoubtedly due in large part to Nick Clegg’s coalition with the Conservatives. (Can’t say I blame the electorate, either.) Now the animosity between local Labour and Liberal Democrats has reached record heights, with news that Merseyside Police, at the instigation of local Labour councillors, have launched a fraud investigation into the now-unemployed Prescot Leisure Centre management, including former Town Clerk Geoff Pollitt.

Council leader Robert Arnall (Lab) said he was “extremely concerned by the management of Prescot Town Council under the previous leadership of the Liberal Democrats” and commissioned a review as soon as he was elected. Cllr Ian Smith (Lib Dem) described it all as a “Labour conspiracy” by a council “just looking for someone to blame.”

As a new year begins, death and division further diminish a town already in decline. Prescot is, as I’ve written before, a neglected treasure. In 2012, in the absence of local government that really cares, the only thing to save the town is me and you. Cameron’s “Big Society” may simply be a clever way to make dwindling investment look good, but it does at least reveal a truth — that we can’t rely on the people in charge. Fellow Prescotians, it’s up to us to do something.

Floreat Prescotia!

6 Comments

  1. Jacquie Kernick

    Friday, January 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    You tell it like it is. I am dismayed to read of the fraud investigation…first I have heard of it. I sincerely hope these allegations are totally unfounded, disproved and laid to rest.

    Somehow (?) people of Prescot/Whiston need to restore pride in their areas and that is a big task….how exactly is this going to happen? Many locals pass comments about the state of Prescot but it’s the feeling of powerlessness to tackle the demise that is so hard to turn around. How many locals really care? That’s the crunch issue 🙁

    Good article…nice to see you back in the area.

  2. Harry Doward

    Monday, January 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Too much political bickering from the Liberals turning the local Prescot issues into political ones.
    Knowsley Council take our money and spend it Huyton and Kirkby, it really is that simple so if the townsfolk are happy to have next to no facilities in Prescot and new parking charges then more fool them. New people moving into Prescot is great but they really don;t care about the town’s heritage or history so unless the ‘locals’ stand up there ain;t going to be a Prescot in the next 10 years.
    Get out of Knowsley and align with St Helens to form South Lancashire or similar, incorporate Whiston, Rainhill, Rainford etc if they want in but unless something changes v soon the town will be beyond repair.
    Town Council Fraud eh, seems the Labour Councillors know their own tricks best !!

  3. GeoffC

    Sunday, January 29, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    An interesting article. Prescot still has a number of high points that make our historic town special. They include, but not exclusively so, the Watch Museum and Prescot Cables Football Club. Although I am certainly biased about the latter I firmly believe that they both give Prescot an individual sense of character whilst providing insight into the Towns history and how it arrived at its present state. I do not know the real reason that the Museum is being relocated but it is most likely due to a need to save money and a justification based upon numbers of visitors. Often a certain degree of apathy amongst the majority of local residents inevitably means that features such as the museum and the football club become forgotten and any threat to their existence is of little interest to all but a small number of interested and community minded individuals. From personal experience it is very difficult to attract new helpers to organisations such as Cables, a club run exclusively by a small number of dedicated volunteers. The majority of supporters who attend the matches hope or expect that there will be someone else, other than themselves who will step forward to keep things going. However the same people would also be shocked if they should turn up at the club to find that it had closed due to a lack of personnel to run the place. Whilst it is probably too late to do anything about the Museum and Library, for the time being Prescot Cables is still maintaining its position as the highest level of football played in the borough and the fourth biggest team within a Liverpool postcode after LFC, EFC, and Marine FC. Nevertheless Cables survival relies upon upon the best efforts of a very small number with little assistance from the Council. However, we continue to fight on, having recently appointed a new manager with expectations of achieving league success and with plans in place for a 2nd successful Beer Festival on 2nd and 3rd March. I would suggest that residents of Prescot do need to think about what they can do to assist and support, not just with Cables but also with other volunteer run schemes in and around the area. It will be of no use to complain when these facilities are taken away or fall by the wayside. We are all busy in this modern world but the majority of people could forgo a few hours in front of the TV to help maintain our local features. I can guarantee that when you do so, you are rewarded with a great feeling of having done something worthwhile.

    • Harry Doward

      Friday, February 3, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      Hi Geoff,
      Just be careful KMBC don’t sell valerie park from under your noses! or get you to change the name from Prescot Cables to Knowsley United!!!

  4. Stephen Nulty

    Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks for the interesting post.

    As GeoffC says, it’s down to the residents and those with an interest in the great old town to get up and do something about it.

    Keep an eye open for local events and get involved, tell your family and friends and spread the good word.

    My own interest in the history of Prescot flourishes, and I have now added a second Newsletter to my website at http://www.prescot-rollofhonour.info so why not have a glance and let me know what you think.

    I have also transcribed the complete census of Prescot in 1901 and am happy to send anybody a copy free of charge – just drop me an email via my website.

    I’m currently working through the 1911 census, but that’s some way from completion.

    Keep up the good work

  5. DazM

    Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    This is a very interesting article, I do however disagree with the point no one from outside Prescot cares, I myself have only been a citizen of Prescot for two years after moving from Kent to Liverpool 7 years ago only to marry a girl from here. I was married in Prescot and as mentioned have lived here for two years, I absolutely love this place i have been shown some of the heritage and history from cables to clocks, This town is where I hope to spend the rest of my years and have my children grow up. This is a very passionate place and that is rare these days, it is required a few people step up to the plate in order to help save all the historic values this pretty little town holds. The only way to do this is to reach the passionate sides of people such as in the post above. I have recently finished University and am pushing to be a coach, helping out as much as time and money allows, I help coach one of the Cables children’s teams and would be willing to help out more. I have posted on the Cables website about running football fun days in order to raise funds in the summer whilst their season has finished. which was greeted respectfully by a number of fans. I would offer to help run these fun days voluntarily as i do with the Prescot Cables F.C children’s team and also Everton in the Community initiatives. The passion of this little town has got to me, maybe it just needs to be spread more in other ways, create more activities for young people in order to stop them drinking on graveyards, things such as after school projects which could be run in the new leisure facility in Prescot, there is ways and means but no people power. this is the way forward. people need to tart speaking up and it is necessary for them to have a leader who has (Prescot and the people of it)as their main priority. Now tell me people from outside Prescot are not passionate, its time to teach them the history and make them fall in love with this place. everyone who moves here makes freinds here so why cant the friends educate them, its our kids who will either grow up here or move away due to lack of anything so why would we not want to change peoples perceptions, as for the Football club, I come from a place called the isle of sheppey where we had a team called sheppey utd and i grew up watching them, eventually they moved off the island to sittingbourne to ground share where they played for a few years before folding. It really was a sad time for me and i would hate to see it happen to another community interest club, which brings me to my next point, why is PCFC fans all old people why is it not attractive to youngsters, there is a problem to work out, as not only is it relying on funding from a very few older gentleman, but what happens when they die out, i have been to a few matches and if i was in charge their the very first thing i would do would be to make valerie park more appealing to younger support. these are issues that need addressing. am i right in saying there are people from around prescot who dont even know that valerie park exists?? these are a few simple insights from an outsiders point of view, i truly hope they are tended too because if PCFC is skint now what happens when the fans they currently have are no longer with us, the club will fold and that is simple as that, we need to be attracting youngsters, dad and lad tickets, showcasing the players in events and fun days, make the cub interesting again. the last time i attended valerie park half the supporters were inside the clubhouse watching the scores come up, bearing in mind they paid £7 to get in they still didn’t watch the match on display outside.

    I am sorry for this rant, but as mentioned it does seem to be everyone moaning about it and no one doing anything about it.

    its time to do something? I have stated the issues but how do we solve them, how do we get our voice heard, what is the next step?….YOU

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