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Ainsdale Beach is one of the best in Britain

It would be foolish to celebrate English Tourism Week and not honour one of the best beaches in our fair isle. 

Ainsdale beach has it all, from a fascinating nature reserve, miles of sculpted dunes and golden sands, it’s a haven for all.

Tourists, horse riders, even kite surfers are often seen during the scorching hot summer months on Ainsdale beach, when sunshine brings with it a hive of activity and relaxation.

The nearby Ainsdale Discovery Centre, situated adjacent to the beach and Ainsdale & Birkdale Sandhills Local Nature Reserve, provides local information, a classroom facility, venue for events and free cycle hire.

The beach itself has zones set aside for kite buggy and landboard use while kitesurfing takes place in the sea.

Taking place in spring each year, English Tourism Week campaigns to raise the profile of the industry and celebrate the value and quality of tourism in England.

Sefton is booming with business say local firms

Representatives from Sefton Council visited two local businesses to hear all about their thriving ventures and future growth.

Success stories and plans for expansion were discussed when Sefton Council visited two borough-based businesses.

 Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, was joined by officers from Invest Sefton on guided tours of Churchill Sheds based in Netherton and Jack Hodson Limited – a family-owned business established in 1966 now trading in Aintree.

Churchill Sheds began trading as a partnership in February 2016, and employs 4 staff and casual labour at peak periods. They manufacture purpose-built sheds, industrial barns, office units and workshops for businesses, the hospitality sector and rural producers.

Under the Business Growth Programme InvestSefton has supported with locating and bidding for public contracts, registration on The Chest and Contracts Finder portals, and using the Planning Portal to source work. The business is also being supported with developing a Social Value and Sustainability policy to help with bidding for contracts.

Jack Hodson Ltd is the ‘go to’ national supplier of security-related electronics for police vehicles, and participates in frameworks for the fitting of cameras, lightbars and security measures to marked and unmarked police vehicles. The business works for a number of police regions in the UK in England and Wales, and has won market share from its competitors. The business employs 25 staff, and turnover is £1.5million, which is expected to increase in the coming year creating more jobs, due to contracts won.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “I really enjoy getting out and seeing at first hand how local businesses are thriving and moving forward.

“Churchill Sheds is an excellent example of how a business can expand by constantly looking to develop new products and to consistent high standards. I am delighted that that InvestSefton has been able to assist them with their sales and marketing and their plans to grow the business further.

“The same goes for Jack Hodson Ltd who has recently relocated to Aintree Business Park, Ormskirk Road following more than 30 years in Berry St, Bootle, due to increased workload. The business has been supported by InvestSefton and Sefton@Work for a number of years, and is currently being assisted under the Sefton Business Growth Programme.

“Success stories like these show how Sefton really is open for business.”

Jack Hodson Ltd’s Financial Director, Peter Edward-Hodson and Technical Director, John Hodson, said: “Our recent relocation to larger, bespoke premises has required a major capital investment. However, the benefits achieved will allow us to streamline our operations, and grow our business.”

Ian Williams, Churchill Sheds managing Director, added: ”Our business is going from strength-to-strength, and we have a lot of interest in our workshops and barns. The help provided by InvestSefton has been invaluable.”

King’s Gardens launch tac-maps to help people with sight issues

Special maps, which help blind and partially sighted people find their way around King’s Gardens, Southport are now available for hire.

Free of charge, the portable ‘pack’ consists of an interactive audio guide, an A4 tactile map, a walking wallet and an A4 tactile walking guide full of information about King’s Gardens.

The maps were designed and produced by visual impairment accessibility firm TacMap, who create and produce innovative maps for blind and partially sighted people across the UK.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “The portable tactile maps are a fantastic addition to King’s Gardens.

“We already have two static maps for the visually impaired on site but to have such high tech portable packs on offer will benefit our visually impaired visitors even more.

“We have worked closely with the Friends of King’s Gardens on this project and they will be overseeing the distribution and collection of the maps.”

The tactile maps can be requested by emailing or

For more information contact the Friends of King’s Gardens or visit

New parking charges to benefit traders and drivers

New parking charges are set to be introduced in parts of Sefton to benefit drivers and local traders.

As part of the budget setting process for 2018/19, it will again be possible to pay for 30 minute parking in Southport town centre.

This follows a request from the Southport BID to bring back the ability to park for 30 minutes in the town centre. It is anticipated the scheme will be live in June, 2018 with a cost of 80p. Other charges in the town centre will stay the same for 2018/19.

Also in the budget was the introduction of the option for motorists to pay for 1 hours parking in Crosby Car Parks. This was approved at request of ward councillors on behalf of local traders.

The current charges in Crosby are:

Up to 30 mins 30p
Up to 2 hours £1.00
Up to 4 hours £1.90
Over 4 hours £3.80

They will become

Up to 30 mins 30p
Up to 1 hour 50p
Up to 2 hours £1.00
Up to 4 hours £1.90
Over 4 hours £3.80

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulation and Compliance, said: “We meet regularly with the Southport BID and discuss many aspects that could benefit the busy town centre.

“After being approached by the BID to reintroduce the 30 minutes of parking in Southport town centre, following further discussions with them, we are happy to assist in making this happen through the difficult budget setting process.

“Similarly, ward councillors in Crosby contacted us with the view of introducing 1 hour parking in the village which we are pleased to introduce.

“We are also looking at introducing a scheme where Council owned town centre car parks would cease charging after 6pm. This would affect the Bootle New Strand multi-story, Bootle Leisure Centre, Crosby village and Tulketh Street in Southport and would be subject to consultation with ward councillors.

“As a Council we will always listen and hope this is well received across the whole borough by visitors, traders and residents.”

The changes were agreed at Full Council on March 1, 2018.

Council Tax and Budget Announcement 2018/19

Due to ongoing financial pressure brought on by Government austerity measures and continuing demands on Adult and Children’s Social Care, Council Tax for 2018/19 will rise by 5.99% for Sefton Council services.

The total Council Tax, including Police and Fire services charges, will increase by 5.98% for the coming financial year.

Last year Sefton Council agreed a three year budget plan to save a further £64m.

At Full Council this evening (March 1), councillors agreed the second year of the budget plan and approved a Council Tax increase in 2018/19 of 2.99% along with a Social Care Council Tax Precept of 3% in 2018/19 making a total of 5.99% for Sefton Council services.

Due to central Government policy, from 2011-17, Sefton Council has faced a funding gap of £169m. From 2017-20 a further £64m of savings was identified to set a balanced budget. This is a total funding gap of £233m.

In total, the Council will have lost 51% of Government funding between 2010 and 2020.

Cllr Ian Maher, Sefton Council’s Labour leader, said:

“Putting it simply, local councils like Sefton have less money to spend on important services because the Government has been giving us less money to support the delivery of local public services every year. This has got to stop.

“Last year we were faced with the challenge of having to find another £64m budget reduction by 2020 and when the Council agreed its three year budget plan we set out how we would do this. I have to say that the plan is broadly on target to deliver the required outcomes brought about by the unfair cuts imposed on us by this and the previous Government.

“We are now entering the second year of our three-year plan and have refreshed our plan slightly to ensure that we can balance the books.

“To help us to deliver our partnership ambitions set out in the 2030 Vision, achieve the best possible outcomes for Sefton and ensure the financial sustainability of the Council, we have four priority areas of work. These are:
– Creating more and better jobs for local people – Economic Growth
– Working together to deliver affordable services which achieve the best possible outcomes for our communities – Public Sector Reform
– Making every pound count in everything we do – Service Delivery Options
– Investing wisely and creatively to make and save money, grow faster and enable our communities to thrive – Strategic Investment

“We have been very clear that we must take control of our own destiny. We live in a very uncertain world of reducing resources, increased demand and concerns over Brexit. The more we can do for ourselves the more resilient we will be in the future.

“This first year of our three year budget plan has seen the Council demonstrate delivery against these bold ambitions with the purchase of the Bootle New Strand Shopping Centre and in principle approval to the creation of a wholly owned Council Housing Development Company. Both of these decisions sit at the heart of Council and partner ambitions and aspirations, to create a great place to live, work, visit and invest.

“The purchase of Bootle New Strand saw a much loved local asset bought back into UK and local ownership. People often ask me why the Council has made this investment and my response is that this type of investment allows us to put money back into local public services for local people. As an example £500k of investment income enables us to support about 14 foster families who provide amazing care and support care for some of Sefton’s most vulnerable children and young people. Council Tax and Business Rates were not the source of funds used to purchase the shopping centre. Instead, the investment was funded through a loan to the Council and servicing the debt can be comfortably accommodated within the financial return to us.

“We will continue to adapt to change, innovating and putting our communities first. Change will continue but we will build on the many strengths and assets we have in Sefton and to be bold and confident about the future for our communities.

“Our focus will continue on generating more of our own money to help fund local public services and make every pound count.

“Sefton has an excellent track record for listening to its communities and will continue to ask for people’s views on any future proposals that would affect the delivery of services in any way.

“While we are confident we can deliver our budget plan, it has to be stressed that all the signs point to further austerity and cuts beyond 2020. There is no indication of a change in government policy re austerity and the pressure on care services are forecast to increase even further.”

The increase in Council Tax for a Band C property (for Sefton Council services) will rise from £1,278.70 in 2017/18 to £1,355.30 for 2018/19. Including Police and Fire services the rise for a Band C property will be from £1,492.31 in 2017/18 to £1,581.55 in 2018/19. This excludes the amounts charged by Parish Councils for homes in their areas.

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