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Sefton Council Proposes Changes to Council Tax on Long Term Empty Homes

Sefton Council is running a consultation on a proposed change in Council Tax charges for empty homes across the borough.

New legislation will give Sefton Council additional powers to increase the Council Tax premium charged to properties that have been empty and largely unfurnished for more than two years from 50% to 100% with effect from April 1, 2019.

There are about 645 homes in Sefton that have been empty for two years or more (excluding those that are exempt from Council Tax, for example where the owner has gone to live elsewhere to receive care, or provide care to someone else).

The proposed increase in the empty homes premium is intended to encourage owners of long term empty domestic properties to bring them back into use and to increase the amount of Council Tax income raised from those that continue to leave their properties empty.

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member Regulation and Compliance, said: “We are currently seeking views on the on the proposed changes to the premium charged in Sefton from April 1, 2019, as well as other potential changes to the premium that could be made in the future. Please take the time to give us your views and get in touch.

“As well as charging the empty homes premium, there are other Council initiatives to help bring empty homes back into use like the property accreditation scheme that also helps empty owners find tenants for their property.”

The consultation is open until December 3, 2018. For more information and to share your views please visit https://www.sefton.gov.uk/council-tax/council-tax-empty-homes-consultation.aspx

Highways team to hold Over 60s Road Safety session

Sefton Council’s Highways Safety team are to hold a special senior’s road safety event in Ainsdale.

Drivers and other senior road users over the age of 60 years are invited to attend the event at Ainsdale Methodist Church, 688 Liverpool Road, Ainsdale on Tuesday November 13 at 10am.

Sefton’s Highways Team are hoping to use this event to promote safer use of the highway for both pedestrians and road users.

This is the latest in a series of Senior Road User events which have been taking place across Sefton over the last three years.

Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Locality Services, said: “Over the last few years there have been an increasing number of casualties involving the over 60s age group in collisions across Merseyside.

“That’s why our Highways Safety team at Sefton Council want to use these types of events to proactively promote safer use of the roads for both pedestrians and motorists.

“The aim is to highlight road safety issues that may affect road users over the age of 60 such as diminishing eyesight, medications and how their driving is affected.”

Guest speakers at the event will include representatives from Merseyside Police, Mersey Fire & Rescue Service, Specsavers and local health clinicians.

Lunch, as well as tea and coffee will be provided free of charge for those attending, however places are limited and booking a place is essential.

To book your place contact the Highway Safety Team on 0151 934 4259.

Sefton Council demands a ‘grown-up conversation’ on the future of Adult Social Care

Sefton Council has responded to the Local Government Association’s (LGA) consultation on Adult Social Care and raised serious concerns about the future of the service.

Without a grown up, cross party conversation about a sustainable way forward, the Council strongly believes the most vulnerable people in our communities will not receive the care and support that they need.

‘The Lives We Want to Lead’ green paper was produced to challenge central governments lack of action in the face of a social care crisis and invited responses to help shape a proposed solution for the future.

The Council calls for immediate action and money, placing emphasis on the importance of investing more in developing early intervention and protection models.

The local authority believes this will help to reduce future demand on services, develop the social care market, demonstrate how much the care and support workforce is valued and most importantly support those in need of care and their carers.

To do this, the Council estimates that it will require an immediate funding injection of £25 million over the next three years to ensure that people in need of care are supported in a way that is right for them.

Sefton Council also highlights the need to keep decision making local where there is proven track record of working with communities and partners to build resilience and safeguard the most vulnerable.

It also stresses the importance of national investment to wider wellbeing services that work towards reducing the health and social inequalities in their communities and calls for this matter to be looked at holistically as Children’s Social Care is also under great pressure.

Cllr Paul Cummins, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “Social Care is in crisis and a grown-up conversation needs to happen now nationally.

“We desperately need more money to meet the needs of our most vulnerable people to ensure that we do not fail them when they need us the most. We must ensure that people in need of care and support are able to continue to live the lives that they want to live.

“The government must put this matter at the very heart of its thinking now, this cannot be kicked into the long grass or we will fail the most vulnerable in our communities.”

Margaret Carney, Chief Executive of Sefton Council, added: “When I grow old, I want to live in my community, with my family, being as happy and healthy as I can for as long as I can. I have that hope for all of our communities. Without the help of Adult Social Care, that probably isn’t going to happen for a lot of people.

“It is a false economy to under invest in Adult Social Care. It will lead to a greater and more complex demand in the future including an added burden on the National Health Service and significant inequalities between those who can afford to pay for care and those who can’t.

“This is unfair and unjust and the government must act now.”

Statement: Chapel Lane Trees

Works are due to start to remove two dying trees from Chapel Lane in Formby.

The unavoidable works are to be carried out in order to ensure public safety as both trees have been identified as unsafe.

All options, including the possibility of remedial works, have been explored but none of the options identified would immediately reduce the significant health and safety risk the dying trees are causing.

In order to ensure the public highway is kept safe for both pedestrians and motorists the two trees concerned must now be removed.

A spokesman for Sefton Council said: “Sadly due to the extent of decline of both trees, any remedial works would have no effect on the longevity of them.

“As the highway authority, we have a statutory duty of care to make sure Chapel Lane is a safe area and we have taken the decision to approve the removal of these trees.

“The tree in front of Cassidy’s greengrocers is dying and no amount of maintenance works will improve the trees health, while the tree outside Boots is suffering from a considerable amount of decay within the crown leading to major structural concern.

“Both trees have the potential to drop considerable limbs in windy conditions and if left would pose an unacceptable Health and Safety risk to users of the public highway.

“Formby Parish Council and Ward Councillors are fully aware of this decision and, despite some public comments, significant and proactive talks have taken place between all parties.”

Work to remove both trees are expected to take place between October 4 and October 15. 

Chapel Lane will be closed to traffic while these works are taking place. Diversions will be in place via Elbow Lane, Duke Street, Three Tuns Lane and vice versa.

A consultation on the proposed closure of Sand Dunes nursery school, Seaforth has begun.

An 8-week consultation regarding the proposed closure of Sand Dunes nursery school, Seaforth is set to start.

 Sefton Council was formally asked by the governing body at Sand Dunes to start a statutory consultation on proposals to close the nursery from August, 2019. This was agreed at a Cabinet meeting held on July 26, at Bootle Town Hall.

 Sefton Council’s multi-agency consultation and engagement panel met on August 16 to outline the formal process and offer support, advice and guidance to ensure that communities have an opportunity to express their views.

 The consultation will run from August 20 – October 12 and for anyone to comment on the closure proposals please visit www.sefton.gov.uk/sanddunes from Monday (August 20).

 The consultation is the first part of a 5 stage statutory process Sefton Council has to follow.

 Cllr John Joseph Kelly, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding, said: “This is the start of the formal process we have to follow after being contacted by Sand Dunes Nursery to close the facility.

“The consultation opens on August 20 and we would urge as many people to take the time to look into this and let us know how they feel about the proposals.

“The nursery will reopen at the start of the next academic year in September and throughout this difficult process we will be as open and transparent as possible working closely with parents, pupils and staff at the nursery. Further meetings with staff and parents are planned in the coming weeks.”

 

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