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Intelligent cat’s eyes to improve Switch Island road safety

Intelligent cat’s eyes, which light up in response to changing traffic lights, are to be used for the first time at a motorway junction to improve safety for drivers.

Highways England is installing around 170 of the innovative LED road studs at one of England’s busiest motorway junctions – used by over 90,000 vehicles every day.

The intelligent cat’s eyes are being introduced as part of a £3 million project to improve journeys and safety at Switch Island in Merseyside, where the M57, M58 and 3 A roads all join together.

The LED road studs light up when traffic lights turn green so drivers can clearly see which lane they should follow. Cables under the road surface connect them to traffic lights through a nearby automatic controller unit.

The studs can be visible up to 1,000 metres away – far greater than traditional reflective cat’s eyes – and have been proven to help stop drivers drifting between lanes, reducing the risk of collisions.

 

Construction work on the Switch Island scheme, which is being funded by the government’s £220 million congestion relief programme, is due to start on Monday February 5 and is expected to take around a year to complete.

The scheme is designed to improve the flow of traffic and enhance safety, following 49 collisions at the junction in the past two years – an average of one every fortnight. New traffic lights will be installed at a height of over 5 metres – higher than HGVs and double-decker buses – so that drivers approaching the junction can clearly see when the lights are changing.

Other improvements will include changes to the road layout and lane markings, new barriers between carriageways, coloured high friction surfaces and better signs. And a new 400 metre shared cycle path will be created through the junction, which will link up with the existing cycle path alongside the A5036 Dunnings Bridge Road.

Jerry McConkey, Sefton Council’s Transportation and Highway Infrastructure Service Manager, said:

“We have worked closely with Highways England and Merseyside Police to look at the issues at Switch Island and develop improvement proposals.

“As a result, we are delighted that these important safety measures are about to be introduced with Highways England implementing the latest technology solutions. This will further improve safety and give drivers a much higher level of confidence when negotiating this busy junction.”

The new intelligent cat’s eyes which are being installed at Switch Island were designed by Oxfordshire-based company Clearview Intelligence. Managing Director Nick Lanigan said:

“The introduction of intelligent road studs, reacting to traffic light changes on a busy roundabout is a continuation of the traditional cat’s eye legacy but takes advantage of new technology available. The new studs have been proven to reduce lane transgression by over 50% in certain conditions so it’s a great way to help improve the safety for all road users.”

 

Countdown is on for 2018 Aintree Grand National!

With ten weeks to go until the 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival, Aintree Racecourse announces that all grandstand areas and Festival Zone tickets for Grand National Day are sold out with only Steeplechase tickets still available for Saturday April 14.

This announcement comes one month sooner than last year which shows the demand and the ‘feel good factor’ for the greatest horserace in the world.

All grandstand and Festival Zone tickets are sold out, but Steeplechase tickets can still be bought through randoxhealthgrandnational.co.uk for £29.

Aside from Grand National Day, tickets are still available for the 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival on Grand National Thursday – A Day for Champions, Thursday April 12; and Ladies Day, Friday April 13. Limited grandstand seats and terraces are still available for both days but are selling fast.

For Grand National Thursday, tickets are available from £29 for Festival Zone and hospitality places are available from £125 plus VAT. For Ladies Day, tickets are available from £43 and hospitality from £179 plus VAT. Racegoers can purchase by visiting randoxhealthgrandnational.co.uk or by calling 0344 579 3001.

John Baker, Managing Director of Aintree Racecourse, said:

“We are delighted with the sales on Grand National Day and we are ahead on ticket sales over the three days compared to this time last year, which is excellent. I’d urge racegoers to get their tickets quickly for both Grand National Thursday and Ladies Day so they don’t miss out.

“We’re all excited about the Festival and are working extremely hard to provide racegoers with the best possible experience over the three days. We’ve listened to customers and are continuing to improve many areas including toilets and seating across the site. It’s not just about selling tickets, we want racegoers to really enjoy themselves at one of the best horseracing Festivals in the world.

“With the quality of horses being entered into the Grand National race as well as across the Festival, it’s three days of fun and top class racing that’s not to be missed.”

Tickets for the 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival are available to purchase at www.randoxhealthgrandnational.co.uk or by calling 0344 579 3001. Racegoers can also buy tickets directly from the sales office at Aintree Racecourse.

Advocacy groups merge to better help people in Sefton

Two groups designed to help a number of people across Sefton have merged to form a supergroup.

Sefton Pensioners’ Advocacy Centre and Sefton Advocacy are very pleased to announce that they are merging and that the new larger charity will be known as Sefton Advocacy.

Following a period of talks and consultation, the two charities decided that in order to keep providing high quality advocacy services to the people of Sefton it was in their best interests to merge and become a larger, single charity.

Sefton Pensioners’ Advocacy Centre is currently a leading force in the field of older peoples’ advocacy projects, as one of the largest independent charities with an exceptional local and national reputation.

They have over 20 years’ experience of supporting the voice of older people with specific focus on people living with Dementia, Older people affected by Cancer, Housing & Care Projects and facilitating five older peoples’ forums across Sefton.

Sefton Advocacy’s expertise lies in the fact that it continues to be the only generic service within the Borough that offers one-to-one advocacy, help, information and advice.

Alison Ayres, Service Manager of Sefton Advocacy, said

“We have seen a growth of referrals with many more residents turning to our volunteer led service for support throughout the year. As a charity, we offer a wide range of benefits to ‘Our Sefton Community’, ensuring that there is a long-established service for anyone with a problem to access.

“The merger has come about in order to ensure that all residents of Sefton can continue to have the support of Advocacy.

“In these times of austerity, the board’s of both organisations decided that to take advocacy forward in a sustainable way it was in everyone’s best interest to merge. The new charity will be a single place of contact for Advocacy across Sefton and has the potential to develop new and innovative projects and areas of support.

“Providing the most vulnerable with an independent voice can have a transforming effect upon the individual and the wider community. A merging of these two organisations will strengthen this service and voice for Sefton residents.”

Andrew Booth, Director of Sefton Pensioners’ Advocacy Centre and the new CEO of Sefton Advocacy, added:

“The support of Advocates and the strategic role for Advocacy Organisations are needed now more than ever.

“This merger will help us provide more one to one independent support for our communities, across all age groups and enable us to grow to meet the needs we, and our population, are identifying.”

Ditch Those Stabilizers returns for 2018 Half term fun

Back by popular demand during the February 2018 half term, Sefton Council is delighted to offer a number of ‘Ditch Those Stabilisers’ cycling events.

Children aged four and above can learn to ride a bike unaided at sessions in Litherland and Southport.

The events have a very high success rate and staff from the Council’s highway safety team will offer a range of practical advice to young riders and their parents.

Sessions are free but pre-booking is essential. Join in the fun at Litherland Sports Park, Boundary Lane on Tuesday, February 13 between 9am-12pm or Shoreside Primary School, Westminster Drive on Thursday, February 16 from 9am to 12pm.

Parents of youngsters that have taken part in previous sessions have said: “Thank you to you and your team for this morning’s cycling session.

“It was brilliantly run and the positive attitude and enthusiasm of you and your team was evident from the start. Great tips, great advice, and great results.

“We have absolutely loved the session learning skills to carry this on and enjoy cycling together as a family!”

Pre booking is essential due to popularity. To register, call Sefton Council, on 0345 140 0845.’

New changes for Private Rented Landlords & Tenants

From March 1, 2018 landlords who privately rent out their properties will be required to obtain a new licence from Sefton Council if their properties are located within selected areas in the borough.

Sefton Council approved the implementation of two new housing licensing schemes in September, 2017 in separate areas of the borough. Both schemes will run until the end of February 2023.

Click here to find out more and apply

Sefton designated an area of Bootle as being subject to Selective licensing, (all privately rented properties) and has designated parts of Seaforth, Waterloo, Brighton-le-Sands and Southport as being subject to Additional licensing.

Additional licensing requires all houses defined as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) to apply for a housing licence.  Mandatory licensing for larger HMO properties is currently a national requirement.

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

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.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member Communities and Housing, said: “We have areas where many properties currently fail to meet the required homes standard, which can have a terrible impact on the health and welfare of their tenants and their wider communities.

“The schemes we have introduced aim to reduce that by making sure private landlords meet satisfactory standards of tenancy and property management.

“But it is also about tenants behaving in a way that does not blight or impact on their community and shows respect for their neighbours.

“If you are a landlord renting a property in any of the designated areas, you must check whether your property will need a licence from March 1, 2018.”

Landlords can apply for a reduced fee for either applying within the first 3 months of the scheme, being accredited or when a Sefton accredited managing agent is appointed by the landlord to be the licence holder. Further details of the reduced fees are available on the Council’s website.

Further details of Sefton’s property (and managing agent) accreditation schemes are available on www.sefton.gov.uk/housing. Early application for property accreditation is encouraged.

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