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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.

Nominations now open for Sefton Citizen’s For Good scheme

Nominations are now being accepted for the third round of a major scheme that recognises Sefton residents who make a difference to life in their local communities.

Citizens 4 Good was successfully launched last summer as a joint initiative by Sefton CVS and the Mayor of Sefton’s office.

The scheme aims to highlight the good deeds, support and kindness that local people show to other members of their community.

Nominations can be made by anyone who thinks a particular person deserves to be recognised, including friends, neighbours, work colleagues, schools, community organisations and local councillors.

The process is quick and simple, using a short nomination form available via the Sefton 4 Good website.

Mike Howlett, Sefton CVS Volunteer and Citizenship Lead, commented:

“Since last August we have celebrated 27 Citizens 4 Good in Sefton, and the programme has proved to be very popular.

“However, we know there are plenty more people out there who deserve recognition. We want to encourage people to nominate any Sefton residents they know who have made a difference to their community.”

Shortlisted nominees will be invited to a special celebration event where they will be presented with a certificate recognising their good works by the Mayor of Sefton, Councillor Dave Robinson.

Councillor Robinson said: “We have been delighted with the response to Citizens 4 Good so far and look forward to hearing about even more Sefton residents having a positive impact in their neighbourhoods.”

The deadline for nominations is Wednesday 14th March with the celebration event taking place on Wednesday 28th March in Bootle.

For further information about Citizens 4 Good ring Sefton CVS on 0151 920 0726 or email info@sefton4good.org.uk.

To make a nomination visit www.sefton4good.org.uk to download the appropriate form.

Local Projects to benefit from £100k following the 146th Open

Local community projects and initiatives in Sefton are set to benefit from legacy funding following the successful staging of The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale.

L-R: Aspiring Instructor Steph Todd, Cllrs Marion Atkinson and Ian Moncur, along with Philip Russell, Assistant Director – Sustainability for the R&A at Birkdale Common

Record crowds flocked to the famous Southport links last year to watch the world’s greatest golfers and The R&A has agreed to provide a six-figure sum from the proceeds of the Championship to Sefton Council in order to support three major projects.

The legacy projects include:

  • £40K towards improving ‘green’ tourism and connectivity on Southport Pier for more people to enjoy. This will include new RSPB telescopes on the oldest cast iron constructed pier in the country to view wildlife and terrestrial and underwater webcams and television screens to view other marine life. A new access point on the pier will also be constructed.
  • £40K to the Aspiring Instructors training pathway scheme – this provides customised training opportunities in the leisure and sports sector for residents not in work. The Aspiring Instructors scheme is run in partnership with Sefton@Work and the Council’s Leisure team creating training and potential job opportunities within the sector. It is hoped the new programme funded by The R&A would help 25 new starters on the scheme.

The remaining £20K will go towards improvements on Birkdale Common which was integral to hosting The 146th Open. Money will go towards a new noticeboard, an accessible boardwalk ramp, new signage and boundary improvements.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said:

“While the superb Championship may seem like a distant memory, this money kindly donated by The R&A will go a long way to preserving the legacy of one of the world’s greatest sporting events.

“The funding clearly aligns with our 2030 Vision and our objectives of building resilient communities across the borough. It links with improving our tourism offer, employment opportunities and ensuring those communities impacted by the Open will benefit.

“All three schemes will play their part in remembering what was truly a great sporting spectacle here in Sefton and we look forward to the Championship returning soon.

“After the Championship, The R&A revealed crowds at Royal Birkdale reached 235,000, which is the highest figure ever for an Open held outside of St Andrews, Scotland.

“Hopefully every single one of them will have amazing lasting memories of the event and further memories will be created through the legacy funding as well.”

Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at The R&A, added:

“We are committed to ensuring that the communities in which The Open is staged benefit from the success of the Championship.

“We are pleased to be supporting Sefton Council’s plans to invest in initiatives which benefit the surrounding environment and people living in the local community. We look forward to hearing about the positive progress of each initiative.”

Private Landlords need new licences from March 1

Private Landlords across Sefton are being reminded they will need to apply for a licence to rent out their property from March 1.

From this date, Sefton Council requires landlords of private rented properties in some parts of the borough to apply for a housing licence.

If you are a private landlord in Sefton and haven’t already, you need to check whether you will need a licence to rent out your property and if so, apply for one.

If your property is in the Bootle (L20, L21) area you may need a Selective Licence.

If your property is in Seaforth (L21), Waterloo (L22), Brighton-le-Sands (L23) or Southport (PR8, PR9) AND it is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) you may need an Additional (HMO) licence.

A full list of all streets affected along with further details of the schemes, licensing conditions and fees are available on sefton.gov.uk.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member Communities and Housing, said: “I would strongly advise landlords to check whether their properties need a licence and, if so, to apply for one as soon as possible.

“This is a new scheme for Sefton and landlords will need to have applied for a licence by the beginning of September.

“A rigorous enforcement regime will commence after this date and landlords found to be operating unlicensed property will face tough penalties. New staff have been recruited to operate and enforce the schemes which will be funded through the licence fees. The team will also include a new apprentice.
If a property falls within either the Selective or Additional (HMO) licensing areas and is licensable under the Mandatory scheme landlords will not need to also apply for either a Selective or Additional (HMO) licence.

Landlords will be required to meet a range of licence conditions, and show that they have appropriate management arrangements in place.

It is an offence, which can result in fines of any amount, if the landlord or person in control of the property
• fails to apply for a licence for a licensable property, or
• allows a property to be occupied by more people than is permitted under the licence
• breaches any of the licence conditions

If you are a landlord, a person managing a property within the areas of the designation you are advised to check whether your property will require a licence and ensure that you apply for one per property.

You can check if you need a housing licence, which type of licence you need and apply for a housing licence at www.housinglicensing.sefton.gov.uk.

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