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Major Lancaster Road redevelopment approved

Sefton Council has approved a major redevelopment of the former Birkdale School for Hearing Impaired Children in Southport.

In April 2017, Octopus Healthcare submitted a £35m investment proposal to redevelop 40, Lancaster Road, Birkdale. The application was given the green light last night (October 17) at Sefton Council’s Planning Committee meeting held at Bootle Town Hall.

The proposal includes the conversion and remodelling of the listed school building, with extensive repair and restoration of lost features.

Construction of communal facilities, extra care accommodation and improvements to the grounds will also take place, with the aim of creating 113 extra care apartments and associated facilities including a bistro, residents’ lounge, library and hair and beauty salon, as well as providing on-site care.

Cllr Daren Veidman, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Building Control, said: “We have worked extremely hard to secure a sustainable and sensitive use for the former school and this application will safeguard such an iconic building in our wonderful borough.

“The successful application will seek to secure the building’s removal from the Council’s listed buildings ‘at risk’ register while also contributing to the removal of West Birkdale conservation area from the national ‘at risk’ register. We look forward to working closely with Octopus Healthcare as they conserve, restore and develop this fantastic site.”

The site was originally opened in 1901 as Terra Nova, a private boarding school, before it became the school for the partially hearing in 1948. It remained as such until 2003 when it was sold to developers and has remained vacant ever since. The building was made a grade II listed building in 1999.

Richard Dooley, Development Director at Octopus Healthcare, added: “The Octopus Healthcare development team have had a busy eighteen months working with Sefton Council to get this approval over the line.

“Being able to breathe new life into this iconic building and really giving it a purpose for the next 100 years is a great achievement. The environment we are trying to create will be a real testament to the future of elderly care.”

Octopus Healthcare is part of the Octopus Group and a leading investor in healthcare facilities throughout the UK and Ireland.

Sefton launches Mondern Slavery page to raise awareness of human trafficking

Sefton Council are joining local authorities around the country in marking Anti-Slavery Day on October 18.

Anti-Slavery Day provides an opportunity to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery, in a bid to encourage everyone to do what they can to address the problem.

To mark the annual awareness day, Sefton have launched a brand page on its website to help people identify signs of modern slavery as well as information on how to seek help to combat the issue.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “It is vitally important that we all work together as a community to identify, raise awareness of the horrors of modern slavery.

“It is estimated that there are 13,000 victims and survivors of modern slavery in the UK and there are some tell-tale signs to make it easy to identify.

“That’s why we’ve launched a dedicated page on our website to help identify these signs and signpost people to the right organisations who can help put an end to modern slavery.”

To find out more about how to tackle modern slavery visit

Get quizzical to support Formby’s Royal British Legion

Trivia lovers in Formby and beyond are being urged to get quizzical to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War One.

Held as part of a series of Sefton Council funded Royal British Legion events to mark the centenary of the 1914-1918 war, Formby’s Gild Hall will play host to a fun quiz night on Wednesday, October 24.

All proceeds from the evening will go towards the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

Mayor of Sefton Council, Cllr Dave Robinson, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be attending the Formby British Legion quiz night and I’ve been busy brushing up on my trivia.

“This is the latest Sefton funded British Legion event we’ve helped as part of our ongoing World War One commemorations and I would encourage as many people as possible to join us at the quiz night for a great cause.”

There will also be an auction and raffle taking place on the night, with bar facilities also available.

Formby British Legion’s quiz night takes place from 7.30pm on Wednesday, October 24 at the Gild Hall, Church Road, Formby.

Tickets cost £5 and are available to buy from Formby Home, Three Tuns Lane or by calling 01704 871927.

Pete Firman brings magic touch to the Atkinson

Pete Firman, one of the UK’s most celebrated magicians and comedians, has added 15 additional dates to his UK tour of brand new show, Marvels, due to phenomenal demand.

Expect to be mesmerised by Pete’s acclaimed blend of laugh-out-loud comedy and jaw-dropping magic, as he presents a truly unique live theatre experience at the Atkinson Arts Centre on March 15, 2019

‘The UK’s leading comedy magician’ (Time Out) has numerous television appearances under his belt, including ITV1’s Tommy Cooper Forever, Tonight at the London Palladium, The Next Great Magician, BBC One’s Let’s Sing & Dance for Comic Relief, The John Bishop Show, The Magicians and The Sarah Millican Television Programme. He also presented Pete Firman’s World of Magic for BBC Radio 4 Extra and recently appeared on BBC One’s The Generation Game.

Pete Firman said: “I’m thrilled by the response to the 2018 tour and I’m very excited to be taking ‘Marvels’ to even more places in 2019! Make sure you grab a ticket before they disappear.”

Pete’s skill for fusing magic and comedy has made him one of the most sought after magicians working on British television, writing and performing in magic shows such as Monkey Magic (FIVE), Dirty Tricks, Derren Brown’s 3D Magic Spectacular (Channel 4) and The Secret World of Magic (Sky One).

In 2017 Pete was presented with ‘The Carlton Award’ by the world famous Magic Circle. It is given for outstanding comedy in magic and Pete is the first non-member of the society to receive it in the Magic Circle’s 100-plus year history.

Other recipients of Magic Circle awards include Derren Brown and David Copperfield.

Pete’s return to the Edinburgh Fringe marks his 11th appearance at the world’s largest arts festival, with a full-length run at The Pleasance Beyond.

To book tickets for Pete’s popular show, visit:

Sefton libraries’ pioneering project continues to grow

Local libraries in Crosby and Bootle are leading the way with a pioneering new project called the Human Library, which is creating a different type of story at these beloved local spaces.

The Human Library started life as an arts, wellbeing and togetherness project in Bootle Library and is now extending to Crosby Library.

On October 17, 18 & 20 the Human Library at Crosby will launch it’s ‘Pool Our Resources project, three days of free workshops, activities and demonstrations that highlight and share the hidden skills in our local community, initiated by artist Sean Roy Parker.

‘Pool our Resources will look at how we are reintroducing elements of craft, thrift and upcycling back into our everyday lives.

Everyone is invited to come and join in, and learn how to bake bread, pickle vegetables, make soap, make a picture frame, save seeds from garden produce or mend a puncture. Workshops led by artists, librarians, social enterprises and local people include DIY with Bootle Tool Shed, Embroidery with Dorlins Haberdashers, Bread for beginners by Homebaked, and candle-making with Ford Lane Allotments.

All workshops and sessions are free and drop in, but places are limited so turn up early to secure your slot! Suitable for anyone of any age with any level of experience – or none!

The Human Library believes that everyone has “gifts of the heart, the head and the hand” to offer their community, and so together with librarians, artists and local residents, the Human Library is producing creative activities, artist-led workshops, skills sharing sessions, events and happenings – where everyone is welcome and everything is free.

This celebration of collective knowledge is a reminder of the importance of our social spaces, and the positive effect of skill-sharing on health and wellbeing.

To find our more about our Human Library projects in Bootle and Crosby, you can speak to one of the Librarians, see the up to date programme on the Human Library website or find them on facebook, twitter or instagram.

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