Local Life - St Helens - January 2017


St Helens' FREE local lifestyle magazine

St Helens Edition January 2017

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Green Belt grab

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A bitter pill

Few issues are as emotive as the almost

inevitable loss of Green Belt. So it is little

wonder St Helens Council’s Local Plan

process has prompted a fair amount of debate.

While few are against providing new homes and

creating jobs, when the proposal directly affects

you, it can be a bitter pill to swallow.

Part of the problem, I believe, is how the term Green

Belt is used... or in fact misused. Many people are led

to believe that it is sacred land, a vow of perpetual

greenery. In reality, Green Belt is merely a technical

term which is used for certain parcels of land during

the lifetime of a council’s Local Plan. Once that

period has expired, some land can, and does, get

re-designated, depending on a variety of factors at

the time. Ditching the term ‘Green Belt’ would rid

the process of this red herring and, in fact, make

it easier for residents to state their case. Because

simply repeating: ‘It’s Green Belt’ over and over will

cut little ice with the decision makers. On the other

hand, cold, hard, technical facts could sway them.

Make no bones about it, locals have a huge fight

on their hands to halt the Northern Powerhouse

juggernaught which is hurtling towards them. On

the flip side, planners have an equally tough job

trying to hit Government housing and job targets.

Councillors, who are the conduit, need to step up

and ensure they keep residents informed.

As a neutral, it’s clear that everyone actually wants

the same thing. But failing to agree on the means on

this most controversial of subjects could make for an

acrimonious few years.

David Sudworth, Editor


In this issue

Green Belt



32 Planning

36 Puzzle Corner

40 Class From The Past

55 Eating Out Guide

60 Test drive

62 Garden Diary





You should have



8 Local News

39 Education

50 Travel

53 Food & Drink

62 Gardening

64 Home Services

Next issue - February 2017

Advertising deadline - Tuesday, 31 January

Published - Friday, 10 February

Local Life 247 Ltd

Unit 8, Hewitt Business Park,

Winstanley Road, Orrell, WN5 7XB

Telephone: 01744 649 722


Jack’s Tracks visits



Test Drive

Kia Niro

Publisher: Chris

Sales: Clare

Editorial: David

Design: Peter, Dylan

Distribution: Sally

Accounts: Sam







Local Life is published every month and distributed into

the following edition areas on an alternate monthly


This issue is delivered to over 12,000 private homes and

businesses in Rainford, Billinge, Garswood, Moss Bank,

Haresfinch, Carr Mill and selected areas of Haydock.

The next issue is delivered to over 12,500 private homes

and businesses in Rainhill, Eccleston, Prescot, Eccleston

Park, Windle, Prescot Road and parts of Nutgrove and

Sutton Heath.


Local Life Media


Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the data in this publication is accurate, neither the publisher or its editorial contributors can accept, and hereby disclaim, any liability to any party to loss or

damage caused by errors or omissions resulting from negligence, accident or other cause. No part of this publication may be copied or reproduced without the prior written consent of Local Life 247 Ltd.


Shop plan fails again...

Neighbours are celebrating after they

saw off the latest bid to build on a

Garswood pub car park.

New River Retail have been trying to get permission

to develop a shop on the Stag Hotel site on Station

Road since 2014.

Their latest application, submitted in September,

prompted another flurry of objections from locals.

Case officer Jennifer Bolton, from St Helens Council’s

planning department, refused to grant permission

on highway safety and residential amenity grounds.

New River Retail’s first planning application for the

site was withdrawn in 2014. A further application

was submitted but then refused by the council

in 2015. Last year, they appealed to the Planning

Inspector against refusal but, again, it proved


On their latest application, Miss Bolton said: “The

proposed development would support the local

economy. However, it is not considered that these

benefits would outweigh the harm caused to

residential amenity and highway safety.”

... But nursery gets the OK

Plans to turn the old Squires Bar in Billinge into a

nursery have been given the go-ahead. As revealed

in Local Life previously, an application had been

submitted to re-use the Main Street building. It will

operate 7.30am-6pm, Monday-Friday.

Mori Lee

Prom Event!

Sat, 21st Jan, 10am - 5pm

No appointment required

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Refreshments available

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Blood sessions

Haydock folk are being encouraged to give blood

at two sessions being held in the area. The Mercure

Hotel, on Penny Lane, hosts the first session on

Thursday, January 12, from 1.35pm-3.45pm and

then from 5pm-7.15pm.

On Tuesday, March 7, the NHS team will be at

Haydock Conservative Club, Bellerophon Way, from

10.30am-12.30pm and then from 2pm-4.15pm.

There will also be donor sessions on Friday, March

24, at Rainford Village Hall, Church Road, from

1.35pm-4pm and 5.15pm-7.15pm

For more information or to book an appointment,

visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.

1940s theme fundraiser

A fundraiser for the Helen Marie Charity takes

place at St Mary’s Club, Trent Road, Billinge, on

Friday, March 24. The organisation raises money for

young children who are in hospital. The event is a

1940s-themed evening with people encouraged to

dress up in period costime. Tickets are £12, please

call 01744 734155 or 01744 756298.

Living with diabetes

People living with diabetes are being invited to a

talk at St Helens Town Hall on Wednesday, February

1. Dr Gill Hunt, a clinical psychologist at St Helens

Hospital, will discuss the emotional impact and

living with the condition. It starts at 7.30pm. Free

admission - call Diabetes UK on 0151 480 0821.




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Space in the spotlight

Community groups could help fill

empty space at Garswood Primary

Care Resource Centre.

Local Life can reveal that health chiefs at St Helens

Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are looking

at the possibility as the Billinge Road building is

currently under-used.

David McBride, associate director for primary

care, said in a report to CCG board members: “As

there is so much capacity at Garswood, if possible,

community activity could be moved into the spare


“The CCG will continue the programme of space

utilisation studies carried out by consultants

Renova to ensure that void costs of any underutilised

is minimised. It will look for opportunities of

joint working with partners like the council

(e.g. Garswood Library/Community Hub) in the

Garswood Primary Care Resource Centre (PCRC)

and the potential to develop accommodation in

borough for particular client groups.”

The report also pinpointed the need for investment

at Rainford Health Centre, which claimed that

despite its good location, is in poor condition.

Other priorities include the need to look at primary

and community services in Billinge “to ensure that

they are provided in good quality accommodation

in the future”.

Rainhill Garrick Society presents...


a mystery thriller

by Anthony Shaffer

Directed by Dave Hedges

Showing on

16th, 17th, 18th February, 2017

Performance Starts 7.30pm

Ticket prices adults £6 Concessions £5

Doors open at 7.00pm

tickets available from rainhill post office

or call

01744 813 429

or pay at the door.

Rainhill Village Hall, Dane Court, off Weaver Avenue, Rainhill, L35 3LU

Parking FREE After 6pm



Ali talks Tyrers

The boss of one of Rainford’s newest

businesses is giving a talk on St

Helens’ famous Tyrers department


It’s almost 12 months since Ali Tyrer took the painful

decision to close the Bridge Street store after 128

years. The mum-of-three took over the town centre

institution following her father John’s sudden death

in 2002.

Ali, who now runs Ellamora ladies and children’s

clothing boutique on Church Road, will be giving

a talk to Rainford Heritage Society on Monday,

February 20. It takes place at The Junction Pub,

News Lane, from 7.30pm. All welcome.

Prior to Ali’s talk, the society is holding another talk

from Tom Preston on

the Deeming Murders

on Monday, January

16 - same time and

location. Tickets for

the talks are £2 for

both members and


And on Friday,

January 20, there is a

quiz evening at the

Ex-Sports and Social

Club on Bushey Lane.

Tickets are £7 and it starts at 7.30pm.

For more information, call Ray Waring on 01744

885547 or email rayw91141@gmail.com


Melanie’s a winner

Congratulations to Melanie Lee, who

won tickets to see Disney on Ice’s Frozen

courtesy of Local Life.

Melanie, of Duxbury Road, Rainford went to watch

the spectacle at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. She

made the trip after she won tickets for the show in our

November Local Life competition. The other winners

were Samantha Pierce-Swift from Mill Lane, Burscough,

and Mrs Hall, from Thames Road, Culcheth.

Rmember, for more great competitions, keep reading

your copy of Local Life!

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Closing date 20th January 2017


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Hail the ale!

There’s something brewing in Rainford... The

village’s parish council is holding its second beer

festival on Friday, February 10 (6pm-10pm) and

then from noon-10pm the following day.

A vast array of local ales, plus wine and gin will be

available at the event, held at Rainford Village Hall,

Church Road.

For more information, email clerk@

rainfordparishcouncil.com or text 07410 132073.

Foodbank volunteers

Volunteers are needed in the Garswood area to

help run a foodbank service. A call has been made

for people who can manage other volunteers and

act as a go-between with the Foodbank Hub and

the central foodbank offices in St Helens. For more

information, contact Rev Helen Coffey, of Holy

Trinity, Downall Green and St Andrew’s, Garswood,

at The Rectory, Rectory Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield,

WN4 0QF, or call 01942 721962/07742 590672.

Billinge needs you

Do you have a burning passion for Billinge? A

vacancy has arisen on the parish council following

the resignation of Jacqui Sinnott-Lacey. Anyone

interested in becoming a parish councillor should

contact the clerk Tom Kelly before Monday, January

8, via tomkelly@billingeparishcouncil.gov.uk



Julie Moss 07789 387 502


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MONDAY 19.00 - 20.00 & 20.00 - 21.00

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WEDNESDAY 19.00 - 20.00

Billinge Chapel End Labour Club, Main Street.

THURSDAY 19.00 - 20.00

Lamberhead Green Working Men’s Club, Pemberton

All levels of fitness welcome £5.00 per class.

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Farmers’ Market

Greenslate Farm, on Tracks Lane, Billinge, kicks off

2017 with a Vintage Farmers’ Market on Sunday,

January 15, from 10am-2pm. The market is held on

the third Sunday of every month, and organisers

say it is packed with great local produce. Hot food

and refreshments are also available. Free entry.

Spring ball

A charity spring ball is being held at St James Social

Club, Orrell, on Saturday, February 25, in aid of

Billinge-based The Storehouse Project. Doors open

at 7pm for an evening of food, music, DJ, auction

and a raffle. For more information and ticket prices,

please contact 07816 623612.

Patients’ Choir

A group of local ladies who have battled cancer

are looking for others to join their singing group.

The Patients’ Choir is made up of people who

have either been treated at The Lilac Centre in St

Helens Hospital or at Whiston Hospital within the

last five years. They are looking for new members

to go along and join in every Monday from 6pm-

7.30pm at The Millennium Centre in St Helens.

Julie Steward, from the group, said: “We are a very

friendly, welcoming group. We chat and sing to

help with our wellbeing and share information

through our shared experience of cancer.”

If you would like to go along, just turn up or ring

Bernie Whelan on 0151 5202435.


Market in the running

Earlestown’s 700 year old market is in the running

for top accolade. It is vying to come up trumps in

the Best Large Outdoor Market category at the

Great British Market Awards. Earlestown market

manager Kevin Gavin said: “We are very proud of

Earlestown market and its rich history - it has acted

as the heartbeat of the community for centuries.”

A list of the winners is set to be released soon.

Comedy and music

An evening of comedy and music in aid of

Willowbrook Hospice is being held at Garswood

Simms Road Labour Club, Garswood Road, on

Friday, February 10. The jokes come courtesy of

Dusty Young while music is provided by vocalist

Tina Riley and the duo Crawford & Brown.

It starts at 7pm for 8pm and tickets are £8 via the

club (01942 725399), Willowbrook (01744 453798)

or Frank (01744 345073).

Olly’s a sure bet

Chart-topper Olly Murs is

coming to Haydock. The

Troublemaker star will

play at an open

air gig at Haydock

Park Racecourse on

Friday, August 11. And

the former X-Factor contestant

says he’ll be playing tracks from

his new album, 24 Hrs.

“I love a day out at the races

too so can’t wait to get in

the crowd during the day

and place a cheeky bet,” he


Tickets are £37.50 for adults or £15 for accompanied

under 18s. They are available via haydock.



Roadworks ahead

Highways bosses are warning

motorists and householders of some

delays/disruption across the area.

They have unveiled a list of roadworks taking place

during January. Among them are as follows:


January 4-March 31: Pasture Lane - reconstruction

of the retaining wall, footway and carriageway by

St Helens Council

January 8: Cross Pit Lane - carriageway works by

Virgin Media

Kings Moss

January 11-January 17: Pimbo Road - digging up

the highway to enable an electrical connection


January 20-24: Wigan Road - temporary traffic lights

due to work by Electricity North West

January 26-February 3: Junction of Main Street/

Rainford Road - works being carried out by

Electricity North West


January 18-25: Clipsley Crescent - works by

Electricity North West

Until March 31: Avondale Road - ongoing new

access works and resurfacing footway works from

Wyedale Avenue to Haydock Lane.

For more information, visit www.sthelens.gov.uk


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Barrows Farm, Carr Mill Road, Billinge, WN5 7TX

(Carr Mill Road is next to the Texaco Garage in the village)

Call in today - we’re open 7 days a week!


Tell Us Your Story!

Local Life is always

on the look out for

news stories from the

local communities

we serve. Are you

raising money for

charity? Are you

a member of a

community group

with something

to shout about?

Maybe you’ve got

an unusual talent, or have a claim to fame? If so, let

us know and you could be appearing in the next


Simply contact us on sthelensnews@locallife247.

co.uk or call us on 01942 387 720.

Write on youngsters!

School children in St Helens are being invited to

enter a writing competition. Entries must be about

a superhero and cannot be more than 500 words

long. The superhero can be one from a cartoon or

film - or even a made up one. Simply choose from

one of the six story starters found on the entry

form and tell the judges what happens next. Comic

and graphic novel style drawings can be used to

compliment your story, but it isn’t essential.

First prize is a £35 book token and £75 worth of

books for your school library. Second prize is a £25

book token and £60 worth of books for your school

library. And third prize is a £15 book token and £40

worth of books for your school library. Call in to any

Library in St Helens to collect your entry form for

full details. The deadline for entries is Saturday.

February 18, and they can be returned to any St

Helens Library, the Schools Library Service, or by

emailing karenthornburn@sthelens.gov.uk.


Home-Start training

A training course for new Home-Start St Helens

volunteers commences soon. The group is a family

support charity with a 30 year track record. As well

as needing home visiting volunteers, the group is

also keen to strengthen its Board of Trustees.

Charities get £10k boost

Four charities shared a £10,000 funding boost

courtesy of environmentally-concious residents.

During the last 12 months, St Helens Recycling

Rewards members have been voting for their

favourite local charity. Willowbrook Hospice won the

top prize of £5,000; the Steve Prescott Foundation

won £3,000 and Honey Rose Foundation and The

Hope Centre, were both awarded £1,000 each.

All volunteers attend a preparation course and are

DBS checked. They are then linked with a family.

Staff continue to support the volunteers who

generally give around three hours of their time each


The next training course for volunteers begins on

Tuesday, January 17, but further courses will run

later in the year. Attendance is one day a week,

10am to 2.30pm, for eight weeks

If you are interested, call 01744 737400, email

VolunteeratHomeStartStHelens@outlook.com or

visit www.home-start.org.uk/home-start-st-helens

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Mary’s memorable day

She’s leaving Billinge after

20 years, but this local

got a send-off she’ll never


Mary May left Beacon Road just

before Christmas to settle in

Southport with husband of 43 years,


She sold her house with Orrell estate

agents Borron Shaw, and entered

a prize raffle to win a £500 holiday

voucher courtesy of Marken Travel.

Luck was on Mary’s side so she and Bob are now

planning to put the voucher towards a cruise.

She received her prize from St Helens players Kyle

Amor and Matty Smith. Also pictured are Ste Tickle

and Ste Ball, from Borron Shaw, and Carla Hesketh,

from Marken Travel.



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The Green Belt


The Northern Powerhouse has arrived, but at what price for local

communities? David Sudworth investigates...

George Osborne may have left front line politics, but his legacy lives on.

Across Rainford, Billinge, Garswood, Haydock, Pewfall, Moss Bank and many

other parts of St Helens, vast swathes of open space could be sacrificed

for new homes and factories. Other Merseyside councils - now referred to by

bureaucrats as ‘Liverpool City Region ‘ - are doing the same. Neighbouring Wigan,

which comes under Greater Manchester, is also considering releasing land.

This is the former Chancellor’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ come to life at a local level.

For its supporters, it is an opportunity to create new jobs, and ease the pressure on

housing. For its detractors, it’s a developers’ charter to tear

up precious Green Belt.

Over the next three pages, Local Life looks at the

earmarked sites, and also reveals the parcels of

land which may be developed further into the



Rainford: 1,100 homes

Proposed sites for housing over

the next 30 years are:

St Helens

Lords Fold (55 homes)

Land south of Higher Lane/east

of Rookery Lane (174 homes)

Land east of Higher Lane/south

of Muncaster Drive/at White

House Lane (206 homes)


Land south of Bushey Lane / Red

Delph Farm, Red Delph Lane (151


Land south of Higher Lane and

west of Mill Lane (415 homes)

Land south of Rookery Lane and

east of Pasture Lane (138 homes)


In addition, land to the west

of Sandwash Close is to be

allocated for employment land

- in effect an extension to the

existing industrial estate




Moss Bank: 75 homes

Two parcels of land could be

developed in Moss Bank. Open

space just off the East Lancs Road at

Moss Bank Farm, Moss Bank Road,

and land at Martindale Road would

deliver 50 homes and 25 homes

respectively. The developments

would be staggered over the next

30 years, with the Moss Bank Farm

site due to be taken out of Green

Belt within the next Local Plan

period (2018-2033) while Martindale

Road would be safeguarded for

development between 2034-2048.


Windle: 977 homes



Almost 1,000 new homes could be built on this

stretch of land facing onto the East Lancs Road

within the next 30 years. Planners believe that

over half the homes could be in place by 2033.








Billinge: 163 homes

Land at Ash Grove Farm, Beacon

Road, is being touted as a

possible residential development.

According to St Helens Council,

it was the only parcel of land put

forward by landowners in the

area. It stretches from Beacon

Road and borders on residential

areas including Main Street, Ash

Grove Crescent, Stuart Wells

Avenue, Maple Close, Larch Close,

Elm Drive and Roby Well Way.

If passed, it could be built on

between 2018 and 2033. Locals

have formed a Save Billinge Village

group to fight the proposals.

Planners are holding a public



drop-in session on Wednesday,

January 11, from 2pm-6.30pm at

Billinge Library, Main Street.





Haydock: Industrial hub


Meanwhile, in Wigan....

In a separate plan, Wigan Council is planning to

release Green Belt at Bryn for large-scale industrial

development. A further site just north of the M58/

M6 interchange at Orrell has also been indentified.


Multiple sites are planned around

an area which is being primed as

the industrial hub. At Haydock

Island, there could be some largescale

commercial development on

the north east and north west sides

of the island, as well as 520 homes

nearby off Vista Road and Lodge

Lane. There here are 120 homes

planned for land south of the former

Central Works, on Bellerophon Way,

and a further 85 on land south of

Station Road.

In Pewfall, there is a large-scale

land allocation for industry and 500

homes south of the A580.


Rush for Rainford

Rainford landowners inundated St

Helens Council with bids to release

their sites from Green Belt.

Local Life can reveal that over 30 parcels of land

were put forward for consideration but most

were discounted. Six sites for housing and one for

employment use did make it into the final cut.

Village councillors Allan Jones, Rob Reynolds and

Linda Mussell said: “Landowners Rainford have

been quick to offer their land up for sale to any

potential builder. If all this had been taken up then

about 70% of Rainford’s green and pleasant land

would have been destroyed. While we are pleased

that not a lot of Green Belt will be lost in phase one,

we are still not happy about the suggestions being

made. “

St Helens Council says it needs to release Green Belt

around Garswood, Rainford and Billinge to ensure

it has a the mandatory five year supply of houses.

Privately, politicians and planners admit to one

uncomfortable truth about house building - that

developers prefer green field sites. They say it’s

because not only are the clean up costs, compared

to contaminated brownfield sites, practically zero,

they also tend to be located in better off areas,

where they can command a higher price tag. Also, a

few years ago, funding was available to developers

to help clean up brownfield sites - but that funding

has now disappeared.

Rainford Action Group is opposing the plans in the

village. Their next meeting is on Sunday, January

15, from 7.45pm in the village hall, Church Road.

Why the battle for Haydock and Pewfall matters...

The St Helens Local Plan is inextricably linked to

the creation of a directly elected Mayor for the

Liverpool City Region. Elections for this take place

in May - and regeneration bosses are salivating at

the possibilities touted by the Liverpool Superport,

which is undergoing a £1billion-plus investment.

This is why St Helens Council has earmarked land

off the East Lancs Road at Pewfall/Haydock for

new warehouses and factories. However, there is a

fierce battle going on in this area, not just between

residents and the council, but also developers who

are keen to get the spade in the ground of their

respective sites.

A planning application was submitted last year

for the Pewfall site,. This drew huge protests from

locals who set up the Residents Against The Florida

Farm Development

(RAFFD). That site has

now been included in

the draft Local Plan.

However, Town Hall

insiders expect it will

be a long, drawn out

fight. One source

told Local Life: “If it is

rejected, the applicants

could appeal. And even if the council approves it,

they may have to send it to the Secretary of State..

And then there are other landowners in the area

who may object, in an effort to promote their own

site. It could end up in the courts through a Judicial

Review, and that could take years.”

The consultation on the first draft of the Local Plan ends at noon on Monday, January 30. Copies are available

in local libraries or by visiting www.sthelens.gov.uk/localplan



Planning Matters


22 Coalville Road: Retrospective application for the

retention of a rear conservatory and conversion/

extension to existing garage (ref: P/2016/0908/

HHFP) A decision is due soon.


25 Coultshead Avenue: Flat to pitched roof on

existing front and rear dormers along with flat to

pitched roof on existing porch and rear extension.

(ref: P/2016/0912/HHFP). A decision is due soon.

1 Hollin Hey Close: Erection of first floor side

extension (ref: P/2016/0860/HHFP). A decision is

due soon.


10 Langholm Road: Single storey rear extension

along with extension and part conversion of

existing garage (ref: P/2016/0865/HHFP).


Van Sales North West , Haydock Lane: Erection

of a showroom/offices (ref: P/2016/0890/FUL). A

decision is due soon.

Haydock Medical Centre, Woodside Road:

Extension of opening hours (ref: P/2016/0869/S73).

A decision is due soon.

Moss Bank

Land to the north of Club Street: Erection of one

dwelling along with landscaping and associated

works. (ref: P/2016/0897/FUL). A decision is due


For more information on these plans, visit


Manufacture ~ InstallatIon ~ servIce ~ repaIr

Call Us Today For A Free Quotation

Tel Number 01744 25038 / 07976 317846 / 07976 317688

Hertford House, Hertford Street, St Helens, WA9 1BF




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Class from the past

This month’s Class from the Past is from St Aidan’s

Primary, London Fields, Billinge, and is believed to

have been taken in the early 1970s.

Maybe you can spot a familiar face? Remember, if

you have a photo you’d be willing to share, email


Puzzle solutions



Nursery is ‘outstanding’

Children, staff and parents at Crank Nursery are

celebrating after being rated ‘outstanding’ by

Ofsted. Inspectors hailed the Crank Hill setting’s

management team as “truly inspirational” and the

partnerships with parents as “tremendous.”

Inspector Karen Cox said in her report: “All children

thrive in this stimulating and wholly inclusive

environment. They develop their concentration,

manage their self-care needs and show an excellent

‘can do’ attitude.”

WE OFFEr HigH quality cHildcarE FOr BaBiEs,

tOddlErs and PrE-scHOOl cHildrEn.

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Wake up you beggars, it’s


David Sudworth talks naked presenting, alcoholism and village life

with one of Britain’s most enduring entertainers...

Mention Keith Chegwin’s name and you’ll

invariably get a reaction.

Some will burst into the theme tune

from Cheggers Plays Pop, which ran on BBC One from

1978-1986. Others will mention his calamatous

decision to host a nude gameshow, Naked Jungle,

wearing nothing apart from a hat. And younger

folk may even remember his hillariously selfdeprecating

performances alongside fellow

Scouser Les Dennis and ex-EastEnders actor Shaun

Williamson in Ricky Gervais’s sitcoms, Extras and

Life’s Too Short.

Oh, and there was the confession on Big

Brother about his battle with alcoholism.

It’s almost as if Cheggers goes out of his way

to invite scrutiny.

“No, it’s nothing like that. In fact, I’d always

said no to doing Big Brother but the money

was good so I thought I may as well do a

show which buys me a house!” he laughs.

We meet during a break in panto

rehearsals. Having completed a one

month stint just before Christmas, he

now has another coming up in Easter, with

dates in the north pencilled in.

“I love doing panto. I feed off the audience

and it gives you a chance to show people the

things they don’t always get to see from you,

like tap dancing or singing.


“I mean, I’ve been offered I’m A Celebrity, Get Me

Out Of Here... so many times but I’ve turned it down

because the money’s rubbish and it would also

mean I couldn’t do panto because they’re at the

same time of year.

“Learning the lines isn’t difficult because I was given

some great advice by the late, great Roy Kinnear,

who came from Wigan, who told me it was all about

listening to your fellow actors.”

Born in Walton Hospital on January 17, 1957, Keith

grew up in Bootle with his twin brother Jeff and

their older sister, the radio DJ Janice Long.

When he was 10, his parents Margaret and Colin

moved out to Rainford. Although his mum died

in 2015, his dad is still there. For Keith, the village

is a home from home: “When they moved there, I

was at stage school but obviously I used to come

home for holidays, Christmas and so on. It’s a lovely

place, and no-one ever bothers you. In most places,

people will come up to you in the street, saying:

‘How’s it going Cheggers?’ or they’ll want a selfie

with you, which is great. But in Rainford, you’re just

one of the locals, which is also great,”

Keith had been sent to stage school having gained

his first taste of the limelight during a family holiday

in Rhyl: “There was a talent show on, and the

announcer asked if anyone wanted to try out. That’s

when I just ran straight up the aisle to the stage, and

all I could hear was my mum, Margaret, shouting:

‘Come back here you stupid bugger’.

Keith and brother Jeff

“I got up and sang It’s A Wonderful World. Not long

afterwards I was approached by a guy from Preston

who wanted me to join a group called the Happy

Wanderers Concert Party, which toured pubs and

clubs in the north.”

Keith got a slot on Junior Showtime, a TV programme

for young talent, and was immediately spotted by

June Collins, who turned out to be the mother of

Genesis star Phil Collins. June wanted Keith to go

to London to audition for a part in the stage show

Mame with Hollywood legend Ginger Rogers.

“I was very young at the time but I remember

getting a letter from her, thanking me for being in

the show. To be honest, all I remember about her

was this old lady coming into the theatre dressed

all in white and then leaving a few hours later filthy!”

By the early 1970s, Keith had notched up a string of

notable acting performances, including in Roman

Polanski’s Macbeth and a role in a Peter Sellers

film. He also appeared in the pilot episode of Open

All Hours as well as The Liver Birds, Z-Cars and The

Adventures of Black Beauty. Oddly enough, before

he got his big break in a presenting role, most

people would have recognised him from a Pepsi TV


A young Cheggers at stage school

“I also modelled underpants for a Freeman’s

catalogue and was in a group called Kenny which

had a top 20 hit with a song entitled Bump,” he



However, Keith had an ambition to move away

from acting towards presenting, and duly wrote to

the BBC: “I offered them myself as presenting some

Michael Parkinson-type chat show. They declined

but said that if I was ever in the area, I should call

in. So within two hours of receiving that message, I

was there. When the man who wrote the letter saw

me, he said if he put that on all rejection letters and

had never expected someone to take him up on the

offer! I was asked whether I’d had any presenting

experience and, because at stage school I learned

how to lie, I said ‘yes’. Soon, I was fronting a show!

“Back then, we had a producer called Roger Gayle,

who went on to be an MP. About 10 minutes before

we went on, he took me to one side and said: ‘Tell

me the truth, have you really had any presenting

experience? Because if you do, I can help you, but if

you lie, I’ll make sure you never get a job in TV again.’

So I confessed and he gave me a 10 minute crash

course in presenting!”

“Think nothing of being

drunk by midday”

It must have proved effective because Keith was

soon making a name for himself alongside Noel

Edmonds, John Craven and Maggie Philbin (who

he would later marry) on Multi Coloured Swap Shop,

and later on his own Cheggers Plays Pop.

However, in the late 1980s, with his career

seemingly on the wane, Keith turned to drink. He

later revealed the full extent of his battle while on

Big Brother, saying: “A drunk comes down in the

morning and says ‘I’ve got a dreadful hangover,

an alcoholic comes in in the morning and says

‘Morning, nothing happened last night, did it?’ And

then you try and fill in the gaps.

Promoting Multi-Coloured Swap Shop

do all day, so you get talking. I stopped drinking

25 years ago but still class myself as a recovering

alcoholic, but I’m not holier than thou about it.

“Back in the 1970s and 1980s, drink was everywhere.

When you were trying to promote a show, it was

never going to be easy to get journalists to attend

a 9am press conference, so it would be labelled a

‘champagne reception’ and all of a sudden, they’d

be there,” he laughs.

“So you’d think nothing of starting drinking by

10am and being drunk by midday. In fact, if you

didn’t drink, you were a bit of a party pooper, but

it’s totally different now. I loved a drink and had

some great times while drinking. There’s no point

denying it.”

In the 1990s, Keith was a familiar face on breakfast

TV, first on Channel 4 where his catchphrase was:

“I hid it everywhere. I’d do all the tricks, I hid it in suit

pockets, guttering and down the back of the sofa, in

the car... everywhere.”

Speaking about his decision to open up, he said:

“The thing is, on Big Brother, there’s not a lot to

Keith’s parents Margaret, Colin with sister Janet

with Sir Paul McCartney


“Wake up you beggars, it’s Cheggers!” and then

on GMTV where he’d arrived at an unsuspecting

competition entrant’s home with a cheque for

£10,000: “That was really, really funny because it

was all live. One time, we gave this woman a cheque

and, on live TV, she said to me: ‘Hey Keith, you won’t

tell them I’ve been done for shoplifting?’ Another

time, we had a guy jumping up and down like a

kangaroo until he realised that, by being so active

on live TV, he’d just lost his incapacity benefits!”

“I thought it was a

wind-up at first”

Of course, Keith rarely gets through an interview

without the Naked Jungle episode being mentioned

- when he fronted a one-off gameshow completely

in the nude: “I honestly didn’t think people would

watch it because it was on late at night. It got

tonnes of complaints. It doesn’t bother me now but

at the time it did me a lot of damage, so I regret it.”

However, he says his favourite job by far has been

working with Ricky Gervais, who asked Keith to star

in an episode of Extras: “At first, I thought it was Jon

Culshaw, the impressionist, doing a wind-up so I

called him back and it was actually Ricky. He said

he was doing this series and he’d got three people

in mind; Sandra Bullock, Liam Neeson and Keith

Chegwin. It was fabulous but he is awful to work

Cheggers with Local Life editor David Sudworth

with because all he does is just laugh. There was one

take which was only 30 seconds on screen but took

four hours to shoot because of all the laughing.”

This led to a spin-off, Life’s Too Short, which saw

Keith, Les Dennis and Shaun WIlliamson play “bitter

and twisted” versions of themselves.

He may now be celebrating his 50th year in

showbiz, but Cheggers says he’s now as busy as

ever: “I’m booked up well into 2018 and, to be

honest, there’s a lot of things which I turn down. I’ve

never actually been that ambitious, that’s why I got

rid of my agent. People are amazed that I handle my

own stuff and my mobile number is out there, but

why not? This isn’t a hard job, is it? You hear some

actors moaning but I’d say to them, if you think this

is hard, go and dig the roads, then you’ll see...”




The hills are alive...

Julie Andrews found the landscape of Austria

so exhilarating, it became the lead song from

The Sound of Music.

50 years on and the hills are still alive with much

more than just a few tunes. For unspoilt valleys, the

Niederau and Oberau areas in western Austria are


Billinge-based Marken Travel has teamed up with

Inghams to offer an experience of a lifetime in this

beautiful part of Europe.

Niederau and Oberau are superb areas for walking,

with miles of marked trails through lovely, rolling

hills - and there’s also free use of all lifts!

Wildschonau, meaning ‘wild and beautiful’, is one

of the most glorious valleys in the Tyrol, with a

special, rural character, rustic mountain alms and

the spectacular Kundl Gorge to explore at the end

of the valley. Picturesque Niedera houses a pretty

church, friendly cafes and the central Markbachjoch

gondola. Further into the valley, fairytale Oberau

comprises of a magnificent church, a handful of

shops and some fine, old buildings. Wherever you

stay, a regular bus serves the whole valley, enabling

you to make the most of this scenic region.

Speaking of lodgings, the fine Hotel Tirolerhof, in

Oberau, enjoys lovely meadow and hillside views.

It’s a family-run hotel, with Martin Erharter and so

assuring you of a warm, Austrian welcome. Facilities

include lounge and bar, restaurant, cafe and terrace,


free guided walks (with resort

card), free packed lunches at

selected hotel and an Inghams

representative based in the


small indoor pool, sauna and steam room, horsedrawn

buggy rides (pay locally), lift and free wi-fi.

Single rooms have a shower and there’s no single

supplement payable. All rooms have a balcony, TV,

radio, telephone and hairdryer.

By going with Marken Travel and Inghams, you will

benefit from a package of savings which includes a

free excursion to Salzburg, free use of all lifts in the

Wildschonau and Alpbach Valley (with resort card),

The resort card is free to all

guests from May 13, 2017, is

provided by your hotel upon

arrival and gives you free use

of the tennis courts, entrance

to the outdoor swimming

pool, entrance to the silver mine and museums, free

children’s activity programme (Monday-Friday) and

discounted rates on many other attractions.

If, however, you want a bit of hustle and bustle, the

delights of Austria’s capital city, Vienna, await.

The capital of Austria is known for its history, from

the Gothic St Stephen’s Cathedral to the art nouveau

splendour of the Secession. By day, you can enjoy

a walk around the Ringstrasse, the circular road

Marken Travel & Inghams


Hotel Tirolerhoff – Oberau

3* hotel - 7 nights half board

Indoor pool

No single room supplements

Free resort card (worth $60)

Free excursion to Salzburg

Free guided walks

Free packed lunches

Great flight times

Call Marken Travel today for more details

Just £693 on 26/8/17 (other dates available)

Independent Travel Specialist

200 Main Street, Billinge, WN5 7PE Telephone: 01744 893291 www.markentravel.co.uk


Explore Austria

Presentation night by

Wednesday 11th January at 6.30pm


01744 893 291

to confirm your place

that will take you past many of Vienna’s attractions.

St Stephen’s 343 steps seem daunting at first, but

reach the summit and you will be rewarded with

spectacular views. You could also follow in the

footsteps of Orson Welles, who starred in the film

The Third Man, and take a ride in one of the ornate

gondola carriages of the giant Ferris wheel at the

Prater, another of the city’s most famous landmarks.

But don’t be fooled into thinking there aren’t other

attractions to enjoy. It’s truly an historic old town

filled with a vibrant modern atmosphere. To enjoy

this, head to head into the ‘Inner Stadt’, the historic

old town. And treat yourself to an einspanner,

Viennese coffee topped with cream, and a slice of

sachertorte, chocolate cake with apricot jam, at the

iconic Cafe Central.

Vienna boasts one of the world’s most famous

culinary traditions. A diverse yet delectably

harmonious range of dishes reflects the city’s mix

of nationalities and food cultures through the

Austria Checklist

Language: Austrian German

Currency: Euro

Time difference: +1hour

Cost of a beer: €3.50

Cappuccino : €3

3 Course meal: €25

centuries, and inspires visitors from all over the

globe. Why not try the iconic Wiener Schnitzel,

which is deep fried breaded veal and said to have

been a staple of Austrian cuisine for almost 200


Whether you’re a seasoned visitor, or are looking to

explore the country for the first time, Marken and

Inghams can help you unlock the delights of Austria.

Going on

your Hols?

Manchester & Liverpool airports

Comfortable & clean vehicles

Can seat up to 16

Billinge Mini Travel

Established 1990

01744 894 533

Incorporating H&I Travel 01744 609691

Owned & Operated by Brian Scott


Food & Drink

You should have fun!

By Gemma Dunn

He’s been branded one of the trailblazers

of new British cooking, but at the heart of

Glynn Purnell’s success is his refusal to take

himself too seriously. If he’s not cracking jokes and

reeling off witty anecdotes, the ‘Yummy Brummie’

is referring to himself as the Roger Federer of

Birmingham’s imploding culinary scene.

“I’m always going to be remembered as something

that broke the mould; the one who was awarded

the first ever Michelin star in Birmingham [which

happened in 2005, while he was head chef at

Jessica’s in Edgbaston],” says the forward-thinker. “It’s important as a chef to have your own

“I’m still in the mix, so I like to see myself as a Roger personality, but then to be able to put that

Federer: I won’t be No 1 all of the time, but it’s great,” personality onto the page makes you different,”

the 41-year-old adds, chuckling. “Competition is reasons Purnell, who credits his publishers with


giving him the creative freedom to put out a book

that “sounds as if I’m talking to you”.

And having achieved his childhood goal - “I never

had any interest in passing GCSEs because I knew I “When I stop running restaurants, and when I stop

was going to be a chef” - it seems Purnell has plenty doing what I’m doing, I want people to look back

to smile about.

and go, ‘Oh look, that’s a Glynn Purnell dish’, or

when they come to the restaurant and eat a dish,

His latest venture is the brilliantly-titled cookbook

they know they’re not going to get that anywhere

Rib Ticklers & Choux-Ins, a follow-up to 2014’s

else in the world.

Cracking Yolks & Pig Tales, and a tome he says was

inspired by the more down-to-earth dishes served “It’s important to keep hold of your personality,”

at his bistro, or “takeaway food at home”.

he continues. “I’ve been cooking in Michelinstar

restaurants nearly all of my career, and chefs

Written with trademark wit, chapters range from

always want to perceive themselves as being a bit

‘This little piggy went to market’ to ‘A moment on

aggressive. I’ve moved on from that.

the lips’. It’s infused with brunch, fish, meat and

knockout dessert recipes, and peppered with “I don’t need to push my chest out and act like

yarns about perfecting his skills some sort of big grumpy chef that throws plates at

through years of reading women’s people, because times have changed. For me, food

magazines at the dentist, and why is fun; you should have fun.

he has such a vendetta against “Some chefs should smile a bit more - it wouldn’t


kill them!”

Rib Ticklers & Choux-Ins by Glynn Purnell, photography by Peter Cassidy, is published by Kyle Books, priced £19.99.


Sweet spicy sticky ribs

Serves 7


2tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

4 cloves

1/2 cinnamon stick

1tsp black onion seeds

1tsp ground ginger

1 rack of pork belly ribs, cut into individual ribs

150g caster sugar

50ml white wine vinegar

50ml dark soy sauce

1tbsp (large) tomato ketchup

2 medium-hot chillies, roughly chopped

1tbsp chopped coriander

Squeeze of lime juice


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.

Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened

but only lightly coloured.

Add the cloves, cinnamon, onion seeds and ginger

to the pan and then add the ribs. Cover all the

ingredients with two litres of cold water (or enough

to cover the ribs), then simmer for 30-40 minutes

until the meat is tender. Drain the ribs (you can

reserve the cooking liquid to make a sauce for

another dish).

Heat a large frying pan, add the sugar, vinegar and

soy sauce and boil the mixture until reduced to a

thick consistency.

Add the ketchup to the pan, then stir in the ribs,

coating well with the glaze. Add the chillies,

coriander and a squeeze of lime juice, then serve.

The ribs can be served with egg noodles or jasmine


A little tip - instead of ribs, buy pork belly on the

bone. That way you get free ribs and probably the

best part of the pig.


Eating out


The Star Inn

A handsome old pub in Rainford

serving fresh home cooked food

and a wide selection of cask ales in

a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Food served Wednesday to Sunday.

01744 882 639

11 Church Rd, Rainford

WA11 8PX


Plantation Restaurant

From wholesome breakfasts and

a delicious lunchtime menu to

traditional Lancastrian afternoon

teas, the Plantation Restaurant at

Warbreck Garden Centre is the

place to go.

01695 722960

Lyelake Lane, Lathom, L40 6JW




£30 + VAT

Call 01744 649722


A family run Italian restaurant

situated on the Rainford By-pass at

Bickerstaffe. Being just off the slip

road of the M58 makes this an ideal

location for meeting friends and

business lunches.

01695 720800

54 Rainford Road, Bickerstaffe,

Ormskirk L39 0HF


Rigby’s Coffee Shop

Enjoy a trip out to Pimbo Garden

Centre and tuck into a wide

selection of delicious home cooked,

locally sourced, food served seven

days a week at Rigby’s Coffee Shop.

01695 622601

Pimbo Garden Centre, 32 Pimbo

Lane, Up Holland, WN8 9QQ


Delph Tavern

Award-winning CAMRA freehouse

with a fast growing reputation for

excellent quality food at reasonable

prices. Traditional British classics

served, plus some exotic surprises

too. Food served Wed-Sun only.

01695 622239

Tontine, Orrell, WN5 8UJ



In a perfect setting, Houghwood’s

restaurant has panoramic views

across the golf course and over to

the Welsh hills. A modern British

menu is served Wednesday to

Sunday. 5 star food hygiene rating.

01744 894754

Crank Road, St Helens, WA11 8RL


The Stocks Tavern

Warmest and friendliest of

welcomes with award winning chef

Mike Heap, who uses only the finest,

freshest, local ingredients to ensure

you leave completely satisfied.

01257 462874

16, Alder Lane, Parbold,




sponsored by


by David Sudworth

If you want to raise someone’s blood pressure in

Hale, tell them they live in Merseyside.

The temptation is obvious, given that it is perched

on the side of the Mersey, and also at the end of

Liverpool John Lennon Airport runway.

But not only is this geographical pigeonholing

patently untrue (pub bore alert number one:

Merseyside hasn’t existed since 1986 when the old

Merseyside County Council was abolished) but Hale

is in fact part of the Halton Council area, which

has come under Cheshire since 1974. Only for local

government purposes you understand, because (bore

alert number 2) technically Hale remains part of the

County Palatine of Lancashire. Also, don’t confuse it

with the other Hale, which is near Altrincham and has

always been part of Cheshire.

Flummoxed? Don’t be, because none of it really

matters when you are enjoying this splendid five mile


We start our walk from the car park at Hale Park

(postcode L24 4EA). Having parked up, we head

back out of the car park onto High Street and take

a right heading in to Church End. Here, we get a

first glimpse of some truly beautiful old houses

with thatched roofs. On the day we visited, the air

was wintery and crisp. Against the clear, blue sky

backdrop, we saw the odd chimney pot bellowing

out plumes of smoke. A sight sure to warm the

cockles of even the coldest walker.

A little further on, we happen upon an imposing

statue of John Middleton, formerly of this parish,

who by some accounts grew to a staggering 9ft 3ins


tall. Little wonder he was

hired as a bodyguard to

the Sheriff of Lancashire.

Once past the statue, we

take a left into Within

Way from where you’re

soon enjoying open

views towards Widnes

and Runcorn - the railway

bridge stands proudly

to the left alongside

an endless parade of

factories. By contrast, on

our side of the Mersey,

there is nothing apart

from green fields and

some winter broccoli

crops for company.

History enthusiasts will enjoy knowing that this

was the point where the first Mersey crossing was

situated by way of a ford, which is a mile long.

During the Civil War in 1644, troops crossed with

their horses and there were skirmishes to take

control of what was a major crossing point. As

late as the 19th century, a local vicar used to take

his horse-drawn buggy across. However, pollution

was becoming a big problem, and this led to the

construction of the Transporter Bridge in 1905. This

was replaced in 1961 by the Silver Jubilee Bridge,

which remains in use to this day.

As an interesting aside, ‘Mersey’ is derived from the

Old English words ‘Mæres’ meaning boundary or

border, and ‘Ea’ meaning river.

With the history lesson now over, we follow the

route all the way down to the bottom, where it

continues to the river as a footpath. When you reach

the river go right and continue along the path. After

a short while Hale Head Lighthouse will come into

view. Built in 1906, it was decommissioned in 1958

and is now a private residence.

You’ll go straight through the gates passing the

lighthouse as you cross Lighthouse Road and on

along the river bank. Shortly after this you go over a

wooden footbridge that crosses Lady Pool, a brook

that runs out from Hale Park. The path continues for

a good while, passing Icehouse Plantation, before

you eventually reach a house, where the path goes

down some steps to the left. This then crosses




another brook, before steps

take you back to the top of

the river bank. Keep going

along the river until the path

emerges onto a new tarmac


At this point we go right

and the path soon emerges

onto Dungeon Road, right

again the boundary fence

to Liverpool John Lennon

Airport. Here you get some

good views of planes taking

off or landing. We managed

to hang around long enough

to see a private plane jet off

to a destination unknown,

followed shortly afterwards

by an easyJet 12.15pm service

to Barcelona. Plan your route

carefully if you want to see

this, as sometimes there can

be an hour’s gap in between


Carr Lane

Ramsbrook Lane

Town Lane


High Street


John Middleton ‘Childe of Hale’ Statue

Church End


L24 4AF

Within Way



Church Road

Lady Pool


Lighthouse Road

Hale Head


Just before you reach the

yellow post that support the

airports landing lights, you

take a right into Bailey’s Lane.

Follow this until it emerges

on Hale Road, a smart route

with some very grand homes

with thatched roofs. Continue

to go right and follow it back

into the village and then take

a right back in to the car park.

Having done these walks for a

few years now, I can honestly

say this was possibly the most

interesting and enjoyable.

There’s just something about

the river, its vastness, which

creates a sense of calmness,

even with the slow chug of

industry in the background.

Hale Road

Bailey’s Lane

Dungeon Lane


Hale Cliff


John Lennon


Oglet Lane



A tall story

The Mersey is synonymous with Liverpool but

it is more than just a reference point for the Liver

Buildings, the Albert Dock and so on.

Also, from this vantage point, there’s no chance of

overhearing the cringingly obvious warblings of

Gerry & The Pacemakers as the Birkenhead Ferry

comes in to dock. And for that, we should all be


Please ensure you wear appropriate clothing and

footwear while walking. While every care has been

taken to ensure that the walk is accurate, neither the

publisher or its editorial contributors can accept, and

hereby disclaim, any liability to any party to loss or

damage caused by errors or omissions resulting from

negligence, accident or other cause.

John Middleton was born in 1578 in

Hale and, according to folklore, is one

of the tallest men in history.

A towering man, he is believed to have been

between 7ft 9ins and 9ft 3ins tall – official records

don’t exist to confirm one way or the other. It is said

that when King James I learnt about the ‘Childe of

Hale’s’ great height, he invited him to his court to

fight the King’s wrestler. Middleton won and was

given £20, a massive amount at that time. He is

also said to have been recruited as a bodyguard

for Gilbert Ireland, the landlord and Sheriff of

Lancashire who was also a member of Brasenose

College Boat Club.

Middleton died in 1623, aged 45, and is buried in

St Mary’s churchyard. A portrait of Middleton hangs

in Brasenose College and the rowing team’s first VIII

sometimes wear Middleton’s colours; red, purple

and gold. A blue plaque denoting Middleton’s

home in Hale adorns a whitewashed cottage on

Church End, just a stone’s throw from his statue.

Thinking of

taking a break?

With Barking Mad, your dog will

be individually cared for by one

of our local, carefully selected

families in their home.

For more information call Andrea Gupta

01942 316472



No time to visit tHe groomers?

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Covering areas WN3,4,5 & WA9,10,11,12

Call Phil 07840 741 713 or visit;




Test drive



by Tim Barnes-Clay

Hybrid vehicles are in vogue these days – or so it appears. Will this technology

take over the conventional power plants we know one day? I don’t have the

psychic wherewithal to tell you. But a lot of automakers seem to be following

this trend – and now it’s Kia’s turn.

The all-new Kia Niro hybrid is propelled by an orthodox 1.6-litre GDi petrol engine,

paired up with a 32kW electric motor. There’s also a lithium-ion polymer battery

where energy is saved. This layout is like with the one in Toyota’s Prius, and manages

an official combined mpg of up to 74.3mpg, alongside CO2 emissions starting from


The Niro is larger than its relative, the Cee’d, yet more pocket-sized than its other

relation – the attractive and admired Sportage. The all-new Kia Niro is the South

Korean car company’s first attempt at a hybrid crossover type of vehicle, but you

wouldn’t know.

Sure, there are copied elements, such as white plastic adornments inside the cabin,

especially around the inner door handles. These are, undoubtedly, inspired by

Toyota, but you can let Kia off because every car manufacturer ‘makes use of’ ideas.

It’s a fashion thing and, by its very nature, fashion is all about making certain you’re

‘down with the kids’ on the hottest style.

The new Kia Niro’s body is rectangular, but it’s not at all disagreeable. The Niro has

a simple, fetching form, that has hints of Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) about it. At


the front, the Sportage’s genetic material comes

through – most markedly around the headlights.

What’s more, the rump of the all-new Niro is easyon-the-eye,

with a conventional tailgate decorated

with touches of silver trim.

The all-new Kia Niro will seat four-adults

comfortably, or five at a squeeze. The load area

is a decent size – certainly large enough for a

regular sized family’s needs. The steering wheel

is pleasingly thick to grasp and the switchgear

and dials are intuitive and clear to use. The only

difference between the Niro and a conventionally

powered car is an energy flow meter replacing

the rev counter. There’s also a drivetrain pictorial

showing the energy stream between the Kia Niro’s

engine, battery and wheels.

On start-up, the all-new Kia Niro sounds like it’s not

turned on. That’s because, as with all hybrids, the

engine under the bonnet doesn’t cut in instantly.

Instead of any tick-over sounds, you hear a chime,

signifying that the Niro is running. It’s not long

before the 105PS petrol powered unit makes its

presence known, though.

On the road, the Niro delivers even-tempered

performance, thanks to a six-cog automatic

gearbox. And, while the Kia Niro is no out and out

performer, the additional power the petrol engine

receives from the electric motor is appreciable.

The all-new Kia Niro also feels planted and deals

with the straights contentedly. It’s only on more

blemished B-road surfaces that the Niro’s firm

suspension results in a bit of jitteriness. The Kia Niro

has to have a stiff set-up, though, to cope with the

extra heft of the hybrid assembly. Luckily, there’s a

Max speed: 101 mph

0-62 mph: 11.1 secs

Combined mpg: 64.2

Fast facts

Engine layout: 1580cc 4-cylinder petrol + 32kW

electric motor

Max. power (PS): 141 (combined engine + electric)

CO2: 101 g/km

Price: £26,995

silver lining to every cloud and this firmness means

that body lean is hardly noticeable in corners.

The all-new Kia Niro hybrid comes in four levels of

trim, categorised ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’ and ‘First Edition’. All are

well-appointed with driver assistance, comfort, and

connectivity features. Every Kia Niro has a lane-keep

assist system, hill-start assist control, cruise control

and a speed limiter. The new car also comes factoryfitted

with support smartphone connectivity, music

streaming and a DAB radio.

Save £££’s

Pick Up &

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01942 820 378



It wasn’t raining

when Noah built

the ark!

by Angie Barker

Award Winner

Isaw this caption outside a Methodist church

recently and I thought what a brilliant way to

illustrate the concept of planning ahead. And

when it comes to our gardens, planning ahead

is a necessity if you want a truly seasonal garden

with year round interest and colour and this is

particularly true of the winter months. Winter can

be a drawn out, dreary affair so injecting some

colour and structure into our gardens can really lift

the spirits at this time of year. Some excellent plants

for the winter garden include:

Buxus sempervirens or Box. Fantastic evergreen

structure. If you are worried about Box Blight (a

fungal disease which is becoming more prevalent)

then Euonymus japonicus ‘Jean Hugues’ is an

excellent substitute.

Daphnes are brilliant for providing winter flowers

which are scented. Two of the best are Daphne

odora ‘Aureomarginata’ and Daphne bholua

‘Jacqueline Postill’.

Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’. Bright lime

green and yellow leaves cover this small shrub

throughout the year and when the temperatures

fall, they turn pink.

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Kleine Fontane’ is a tall grass

which keeps its structure all winter and looks

stunning with a sprinkling of frost.

Sarcococca confusa -a small evergreen shrub with

amazing scent in winter which will knock your socks

off and is also really useful for a dark, shady corner.

Christmas or Lenten Roses (Hellebores) are lovely

small perennials which although don’t offer much

in the way of colour and structure throughout the

year, really come into their own in January and

February. Helleborous x hybridus provide some of

the best colours.

So if you think your garden lacks interest at this time

of year, start planning now for next winter and take

a trip to the garden centre. Bypass the sale of left

over Christmas decorations and head outside for

the plants. As for Hubby, well he is busy planning

too. He wants to know when is the best time to

open that vintage bottle of wine I bought him for


Happy New Year everyone.

Angie is a qualified

award-winning garden

designer who will

plan your garden to

your needs from start

to finish, supplying

reputable contractors

and the ideal plants.

Call Angie now for your free consultation!

Angie Barker Dip GD

(Inst GD) BA (Hons)

Garden Design For All Seasons

Tel: 01942 522 405

Mob: 07857 008 383

Award Winner



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