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Consultation to launch over Birkdale School for the Hearing Impaired

A consultation into a proposed redevelopment of the former Birkdale School for Hearing Impaired Children in Southport is to launch following discussions between Sefton Council and Octopus Healthcare Group.

 Octopus Healthcare Group will run the consultation in the coming months regarding their multi-million pound investment proposal to redevelop 40 Lancaster Road, Birkdale into an Extra Care accommodation site.

 Their proposals includes the conversion and remodelling of the listed school building, construction of communal facilities, extra care accommodation and improvements to the grounds.

 The proposal is now subject to a community consultation before applications for planning and Listed Building Consent are submitted to Sefton Council’s Planning department.

A document from Octopus Healthcare Group about their proposed plans can be viewed here

 Cllr Daren Veidman, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Building Control, said: “It has long been the Council’s aspiration to work to secure a sustainable and sensitive use for the former Deaf School.

 “Over the last seven years the Council has directed significant resource trying to secure the site and to prevent the further deterioration of the building.

 “The beneficial future use of the building will secure its 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 have had intensive and detailed discussions with Octopus Healthcare over the last year and I would encourage the community to engage with their consultation, so that there is a strong local input into the proposals before formal applications are submitted to the Council.”

 A spokesperson for Octopus Healthcare added: “We are delighted to present our exciting proposals to the community at which will include an exhibition of the scheme at Southport Town Hall on March 15, 2018.

 “We would welcome the opportunity to introduce our concept to conserve, restore and develop this fantastic site.”

 Andy Baddeley, who leads the project for Octopus Healthcare said “This scheme presents a wonderful opportunity to safeguard this iconic building for future generations, yet provides a much needed retirement and extra care facility for people to really enjoy this unique place.”

 “Through these types of schemes we will be better placed to cater for the ageing population ensuring that there are suitable homes which will help downsizers retain their independence in later years.”

 The proposal is to create up to 120 extra care apartments and associated facilities to include a bistro, residents lounge, library and hair and beauty salon as well as providing on site care.

 The site at 40, Lancaster Road was originally opened as Terra Nova, a private boarding school in 1901 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.

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.

Court grants Sefton‘s application for Judicial Review into flawed Highways England consultation

The courts have granted Sefton‘s application for Judicial Review into the flawed Highways England consultation over Rimrose Valley.

Leader of Sefton Council Cllr Ian Maher, said: “I’m pleased that the court has granted us permission to proceed with our application for a Judicial Review to look into what we believe is a flawed consultation by Highways England when they decided that their preferred option was to build a dual carriageway through Rimrose Valley.

“When Highways England first announced that they would only be taking forward two options to ease traffic on the A5036 – a revamped A5036 Dunnings Bridge Road, which is already one of the busiest roads in the north, or a new £200m road through Rimrose Valley Park in Litherland – we told them that neither option would deliver the necessary benefits for our communities and to consult on a third option to build a tunnel.

“Yet they completely disregarded this approach and ploughed on with a flawed consultation which is why we had no alternative but to apply for a judicial review.

“Getting to this next stage means that the legal system clearly recognises that we have grounds to challenge the way the whole process has been handled.

“Their failure to include the tunnel as an option in the consultation process has deprived our residents of the opportunity to express a view – which is why we want to take action.

“Our case has been deemed to have enough evidence to take legal action and we’ll now prepare a strong case for the Judicial Review.

“We will fight this to ensure that that Highways England is ordered to re-open the consultation again, and give our communities a proper opportunity to be consulted on the tunnel option.

“Of course it is not too late for Highways England to reconsider their position, start their consultation process again including the tunnel option and avoid the need for ongoing legal action.

“We hope that common sense prevails.”

Community invited to Ovington Drive play area meeting

Design suggestions for a new look play area at Ovington Drive, Kew are to go on public display later this month.

Children from Kew Woods Primary School have been working closely with Sefton Council’s Parks and Greenspaces team to come up with a number of designs and suggestions for a revamped Ovington Drive Play Area.

The results of these ideas will be presented to the surrounding community at Kew Woods Primary on Monday February 19 from 6pm.

Following the community consultation, a final design will be prepared before the next stages of the project.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“We’ve been delighted with the response from children at Kew Woods who have come up with a wealth of fun, interesting and quirky ideas for the new look Ovington Drive play area.

“Ideas range from mini basketball hoops to dolphin slides and zip wires to a firehouse!”

“The message is loud and clear that children want a fun and vibrant play area that is inclusive and welcoming for all.

“We hope that the local community around Ovington Drive come along to the meeting and have their say on what matters most to them in a new play area.

“These suggestions, combined with ideas from pupils, will then go toward forming the final design.”

All are welcome to attend the consultation at Kew Woods Primary School, Ovington Drive on Monday, February 19 from 6pm.

Have your say on changes to Sefton’s gambling & licensing policies

Sefton Council wants to hear residents’ views on its revised Licensing and Gambling policies which will come into effect later this year.

The local authority is responsible for regulating pubs, clubs, late night takeaways, gambling and gaming premises and activities, including casinos, bingo premises, betting shops and gaming machine arcades across the borough.

The policies can be viewed here 

Under regulations, Sefton Council is required to publish a policy statement which forms the basis for deciding any applications submitted. The authority is now consulting on a revision to its existing policy and is asking people to give their views and opinions on both policies by April 2, 2018.

The Gambling Act of 2005 has three objectives: Preventing gambling from being a source of crime, ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way and protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.

The Licensing Act of 2003 has four objectives: ensuring public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm.

Cllr John Kelly, Sefton’s Council’s Chair of Licensing & Regulatory Committee said:

“We are consulting with operators and businesses in both the licensed and gambling trades but we also want the views of local residents.

“Any opinions on either trade, including on how we can meet each Act’s objectives are welcome and people can write or email us.

“Both draft revised policies is currently available in local libraries and on the Sefton Council website.”

People wanting to register their views should send them in writing to: Kevin Coady, Senior Licencing Officer, Magdalen House, 30 Trinity Road, Bootle, L20 3NJ or email: licensing@sefton.gov.uk.

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