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Bootle Strand Purchase statement

A spokesman for Sefton Council said: “In no way has there been any avoidance of tax relating to the purchase of the Strand Shopping Centre. We paid all the tax due and will continue to do so regarding this important asset.

“The Council bought the company that owned the asset, as this was the corporate structure that was marketed for sale. The vendors refused to sell us the New Strand itself. It was the company that was for sale.
“It was also made clear that post completion, the Council would liquidate the Corporate structure and hive up the asset directly to us.

“Sefton Council acquired the popular shopping centre to primarily deliver a new revenue stream for the Council to help pay for vital services that have been reduced as a result of Central Government cuts. The purchase also supports the delivery of regeneration in Bootle Town Centre. It also contributes significantly to the UK tax revenues through VAT, Corporation Tax, and Business Rates.

“Most commercial transactions are governed through contract by commercial confidentiality, and therefore we are limited on what information can be publicly shared.

“However the leaders of the opposition parties were fully briefed in advance of the decision and were able to ask questions on this matter. They were also present when the Cabinet agreed the purchase. There was no attempt to disguise or hide the residency status of this Company.

“The sale received expert internal and external legal and financial advice to ensure that the process, including all tax requirements, was legal within both the EU and UK. Under our ownership that continues to be the case.

“We also want to make it clear that 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.

“Through the purchase we have taken a local asset out of foreign ownership and returned it to Sefton ownership following all rules and regulations surrounding tax.

“We have repeatedly said that as a Council we must find new and improved revenue streams to help compensate for the loss of Government funding. We will be looking for more opportunities of this nature given that the Government’s austerity measures look set to continue.”

 

Dementia service users turn back time at vintage music afternoon

A specialist Southport day service for Sefton residents with dementia turned back the clock this week and entertained clients with a musical variety afternoon.

Tuneful memories from the last half century and beyond were on offer at Brookdale Resource Centre in Ainsdale which is run by the borough’s leading adult social care provider, New Directions.

Stars of the show were the Tarleton-based Dolly Mops, a 12-strong group of retired singers and dancers who soon had the Brookdale service users singing along to their varied repertoire.

This ranged from songs from shows like Oklahoma, and country and western classics, to hits made famous by Elvis Presley and Liza Minnelli in Cabaret.

Meanwhile, as the concert was staged on Halloween, staff were attired in suitably spooky fancy dress, and items on the afternoon tea menu included edible spider cakes and blood-red beverages.

Brookdale Resource Centre’s day service enables the carers of Sefton residents with advanced dementia to have an important respite break.

Service users enjoy a wide range of activities including arts and crafts, sensory stimulation and music and reminiscence therapies.

Brookdale Manager, Salwa Moustafa, commented:

“This was a really lovely event and we’ve had some excellent feedback from everyone who attended.

“The Dolly Mops put on a terrific show, with a wide-ranging programme and frequent costume changes, which ensured there was something to suit all musical tastes during the course of the afternoon.”

New Directions was established in Sefton in 2007 as the first local authority social care trading company in the country.

Ten years on, the organisation remains at the forefront of the local care sector, with a team of more than 300 staff caring for older Sefton residents, or people with disabilities or mental health support needs.

For more information about the services offered by New Directions, or to find out about joining the team, ring 0151 934 3726 or visit www.ndirections.co.uk.

Wannabe Sefton entrepreneurs get chance to ‘be their own boss’

Would-be entrepreneurs in Sefton are being invited to find out more about how to start a successful small business at a special event in Southport later this month.

The Be Your Own Boss Event will take place at Southport Community Centre on Norwood Road in the town from 9.30am to 12.30pm on Thursday 16th November.

The event is being organised by Southport Community Centre in partnership with Alt Valley Community Trust and the Enterprise Hub which is funded via the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

During the course of the morning delegates will learn about the nuts and bolts of starting a new business, other sources of support open to them and how to develop profitable relationships with customers.

A particular emphasis of the event will be on harnessing the benefits of the latest technology in promoting a new enterprise.

Sessions will focus on developing an online brand and selling products and services via websites and social media.

Southport Community Centre Manager, Philip Blocksidge, commented:

“There are many people across Sefton who would like to take the plunge and become their own boss, so we’re hoping for a very good turnout at this event.

“Participants may have thought up a great idea to fill a gap in the market, or have a particular talent or skill they want to sell on the open market.

“Whatever the reason, this event is designed to give them a wide range of information and advice on how to turn their business ideas into reality.”

Although the Be Your Own Boss Event is free places are limited and need to be booked in advance by ringing 0151 546 5514 or emailing kayleighclarke@altvalley.co.uk.

Southport Community Centre is run b Sefton CVS, the Brighter Living Partnership and St Simon and St Judes with All Souls Church.

It is located near to the junction of Norwood Road and Sussex Road/Peel Street.

Community funding available to help put an end to grotspots

A new grant scheme will help Bootle residents to tackle local grotspots and improve the appearance of their area.

The Environmental Improvements Fund will offer grants of between £250 and £1,000 to new projects developed by local people in the Linacre electoral ward.

The funding for the new grants has come from Sefton Council, and the scheme is being managed by Bootle-based regeneration and community action specialists, Regenerus.

Applications from established community and voluntary organisations are welcome, but the fund is also open to informal groups of friends or neighbours joining forces to work on a one-off green project.

Projects need to be able to operate within the fund guidelines, and so must comply with all relevant legislation, for example health and safety and working on the highway regulations. Advice will be available from both Regenerus and Sefton Council to make sure this issue doesn’t prevent a project from going ahead.

Organisers say they expect applications for a wide range of projects, from groups wishing to hire skips for a neighbourhood clean-up to residents looking to create a new community garden on local wasteland.

They also believe that, as well as improving the environment in Bootle’s Linacre Ward, the projects will achieve the additional benefits of creating new friendships, promoting volunteering and getting young people involved in looking after their neighbourhood.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said:

“This scheme will be a brilliant boost to the local community and we are delighted to be working alongside Regenerus in making sure we can make local grotspots a thing of the past.

“We want community groups to come forward and apply for this funding so they can improve the areas that they live in to make them better, brighter and more enjoyable for all.”

For further information about the Environmental Improvements Fund ring Regenerus on 0151 934 2637 or email hello@regenerus.org.uk.

The closing date for applications for grants from the first round of funding is 31st December.

Appeal to find stolen Tilly from Formby

Merseyside Police is appealing for information following a report of a dog being stolen during a car key burglary in Formby on Saturday, 4 November 2017.

Officers were called to a report that a seven-year-old Springer Spaniel dog called Tilly had been taken from a property on Freshfield Road, Formby, along with a BMW car.

The burglary occurred between around 5.30am and 7.30am.

The car was later recovered and the owners are still searching for their dog.

The offenders also took a brown Mulberry handbag, purple purse, and a Barbour brown leather satchel along with an iPad Air.

Enquiries are now being carried out into the theft and CCTV is being located and reviewed.

Detective Inspector Robert Moss said: “The dog’s owners are clearly very distressed and we are doing everything we can to try to locate the person responsible for this incident, and reunite the owner with her pet dog, Tilly.

“I would appeal to anyone who has seen the dog or has any information about this incident to call officers on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.”

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