Village Trees Latest Report

Formby Parish Council has received and published a copy of the latest Arboriculturalist's report on the state of the Horse Chestnut trees threatened with felling by Sefton Council.

To download and view the report use the link posted on the Parish Council Facebook page:

I have to confess to a little confusion regarding the outcome. The consultant is clear both of the trees concerned are not a risk to the public at the moment, each tree is;

currently structurally at a point where there is no risk to the general public.

Good news on first reading but, he also notes the trees are diseased, they exhibit signs of Bleeding Horse Canker. He writes;

Horse Chestnut Outside Boots Chemist
There is some exudate and minor superficial bark cracking associated with Bleeding Canker in several locations.


Horse Chestnut Tree Outside Cassidy’s shop
There is Bleeding Canker present, evident by brown staining and exudate.

Horse Chestnut Disease
Source: Wikimedia Commons

In a later section of the report, there is a section that describes the nature and history of the Bleeding Canker infection in this country;

Until recently, the disease was considered to be uncommon and had only been reported from the south of England (Strouts and Winter, 2000).
Reports from 2003 indicate it has spread as far north as Glasgow.
Trees of all ages have been found with the disease, but the impact is most striking on large, mature trees. 

And he concludes this section with the following paragraph;


Removal of an infected tree by felling to grounding level, grinding to remove the stump and disposal of all infected arisings, preferably by burning.

I've added screengrabs of extracts from the report below, but I recommend you read the full report for yourself. You may also find the Forest Research website a useful and additional resource, the relevant page is here:

Note Forest Research is;

Great Britain’s principal organisation for forestry and tree-related research (

Their advice on the management of diseased trees and eventual disposal of them is quite sobering and demanding in the care needed to avoid the further transmission of the disease.

They also add this disappointing comment;

Our surveys and research reveal that where owners have replaced mature diseased trees with young horse chestnuts, some of the replanted trees have shown signs of infection within a few years. We therefore do not recommend replanting with the same species.

Formby may eventually have to accept that the sight of Horse Chestnut trees in our village will be a thing of the past.

Let's hope the disease does not infect other Horse Chestnut trees in the rest of Formby. Whatever the case, it's incumbent on both Sefton and Formby Parish Councils to look ahead and perhaps see this issue as an opportunity to renew the village and find opportunities to plant more trees throughout Formby.

Formby Parish Council first knew of this issue in 2011 (See: Village Trees Statement, seven years have now passed, is this the final point of no return?)

In summary, the trees are considered structurally safe at the moment, in the view of the Formby Parish Council Consultant, but his report confirms they are diseased and according to all the experts will need felling eventually.

In the meantime, they are likely to be a source for the spread of the disease because of the Chapel Lane location, lots of traffic movement and the unwitting transmission of the disease by conker collectors.

If you've taken one and planted it in your garden, you might want to uproot it.




Time to Solve the Holiday Traffic Crisis? Part Two.

The chaos continues, the moment the sun comes out or it's a weekend/bank holiday Formby descends into traffic chaos. The social media are full of reports today about the traffic congestion BUT in-action still rules it seems.

Traffic Jam at Fresfield StationDid you know you can write directly to your local Councillors or any of your other elected representatives? You can find the contact details on their websites.

Here's my letter to my local Sefton Councillors written and published on 31 May 2016. I've repeated these comments over and over again face to face to local Councillors and the National Trust and I'm still waiting for signs of action.

Local Councillors driving around 'tweeting' isn't enough now. Time for residents to call them to account - that's what the ballot box is for, use your vote.

In the meantime, if you feel like I do, I suggest you write your own letter?

Good luck.

As residents of Formby we are all aware of the chaotic traffic problems caused by the weight of visitor traffic during high seasons and holidays.

Most if not all observers will be horrified by some of the dangerous, potentially life threatening results. Jammed roads making it impossible for emergency vehicles to pass, vehicles stranded in the middle of the level crossing at Freshfield station, trapping residents on their properties because of inconsiderate and illegal parking.

Despite the growth in this issue I can find little or no evidence that Sefton Council, Formby Parish Council together with The National Trust finding effective solutions yet. (Emphasis added 2018)

I know that parking restrictions have been put in place, but so far the solutions seems to be reactive rather than proactive.

It's clear that most if not all visitors come by car and with very little or no notice find themselves caught in the jams, they queue waiting in vain not knowing how long that wait may take or how far they have to travel. We all know that there is insufficient parking spaces on the really busy days and this in turn leads to cars parking close to the access points. It's fortunate that the dramatic scenes of last weekend are limited to a relatively small number of days in the year. Small comfort for the residents most badly affected.

As a resident I'd like to see the evidence of concern over this issue. Links on the Council web sites to documents, meetings and actions taken are required - occasional 'tweets' are not sufficient.

Can I suggest all of the Bodies involved need to address how best to be proactive. Visitors need more advice sooner. (Emphais added 2018)

  • Solar powered Mobile Variable Systems, Highway Agency approved are worth worth trying out. They can be hired for trials
  • Secondly it might be worth considering a plan based on Zoning. An outer zone with signs on the by-pass with the latest up-to-date advice. The next zone within Formby using similar signs. Finally as a last resort but a necessary remedial response, some means of directing vehicles to places on roads to park and helping visitors to access the beach from different points. There are a range of different paths that need signposting with advice on the time it would take or access advice (Wheelchairs, pushchairs etc).
  • The solution also needs to incorporate the use of Social Media - these days most visitors will have access to mobile phones. It would help to use commonly agreed #hashtags such as #formbyparking.
  • Another aspect of an overall plan would be to accept that visitors arrive at different times of the day. Early arrivals do not cause the problem but on 'high days and holidays' from 11.30am or at times of high tides visitors need active relevant and live updates. There has to be an organisational infrastructure in place, both physical and human.
  • A solution will cost money, we all have to accept it, but perhaps on a longer term, means can be found to generate an income from visitors to offset some of these casts.

I hope you will seriously consider these suggestions and help reassure the besieged residents of Formby something is being done to resolve an ever-worsening problem.

Many thanks,

Sean Brady

For the full post visit:

‘Theory into Practice', the final report of the Health as a Social Movement programme.

New technology, an ageing population, obesity,  a growing awareness of the importance looking after your health, taking responsibility for yourself are all critical contextual reasons why this report is vital to us all here in Formby.

The RSA and The New Economics Foundation have launched ‘Theory into Practice', the final report of the Health as a Social Movement programme.

In the report, they outline eight principles for releasing the energy for change that exists in social movements for health.

This will be key to ensuring the NHS of the future can be effective in tackling health inequalities, purposeful in the way that it invests in prevention and can be community-led in its approach to change.




Full story:

Bank Holiday Weekend: The Aftermath

Following the Bank Holiday chaos, the usual debate has started. Traffic

What do you think? Is it getting worse? What can be done about it?

Have you got some practical suggestions? Write to me, using the comment link below.

Enjoy Your Bank Holiday (If Possible)

The sun is shining as promised and it's going to be a good day. BUT...

NTFormby Entrance
I think I can guarantee this quiet entrance will become a scene of chaos and anger very shortly. On days like today, the world seems to want to drive through this narrow lane, AND it takes hours!

Victoria Road will be full of stationary vehicles the neighbouring estates will be piled high with badly parked cars, blocked drives. Weary residents, frazzled laden visitors. Formby is the most natural gateway to the sea, the sun and the sand for so much of Merseyside and the wider region.

We've got to find a solution. Yesterday I felt sorry for everyone. The Trust, the residents, the emergency services and the Visitors.

How much longer have, we all to got to suffer this on high days and holidays?

Just one small example, I came across a small car full of family, husband, wife, children and Granny, all sweltering. The old lady was very distressed and wheelchair dependent. They'd been in the car on Larkhill Lane near the junction with Victoria Road for around an hour. In front of them, another 50 vehicles waiting in turn for someone else to leave. Nowhere to go, no movement, no information, the promise of the earlier day turning into a most unpleasant experience.

This scene happens every year I was commenting on it three years ago, Sefton has disposed of the problem. The NT Formby with a mandate to increase visitor numbers seems stuck for a solution, and we've heard nothing from our local Parish Councillors, they know what they don't want but seem bereft of positive suggestions or plans for the future.

How much longer have, we all to got to suffer this on high days and holidays?