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Bootle & Southport schemes among six new City Region cycling and walking routes

Work is set to begin this week on new walking and cycling infrastructure across the Liverpool City Region, including cycle routes through Southport town centre and between Bootle and Liverpool city centre.

Most of the schemes are scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer, making it easier and safer for people to travel by foot or bike across the city region. The 23km of new pop-up cycle lanes and expanded footpaths will be supplemented by traffic calming measures and new secure bike storage.

Since late March, there has been a surge in people cycling and walking for daily exercise and essential journeys, with 6 in 10 of people telling a Combined Authority survey that they expected to walk and cycle more even as lockdown measures are eased.

The new infrastructure will help enable people to travel more safely and support social distancing, connecting key locations like hospitals, workplaces and town centres as well as rail and bus stations.

Schemes to be built with the first tranche of emergency funding include:

  • Halton: Segregated cycle lanes for Hough Green town centre
  • Knowsley: Traffic calming measures for safe walking and cycling in Kirkby town centre
  • Liverpool: Segregated cycle route between Liverpool city centre and Bootle town centre
  • Sefton: Cycle route through Southport town centre, Bootle to Liverpool city centre route
  • St Helens: Upgrade of cycle routes through Clock Face and Chester Lane
  • Wirral: New segregated cycle lane on Fender Lane and upgrade of existing A4 cycle lane
  • Liverpool City Region-wide: Secure bike storage at new cycle hubs

The new pop-up foot and bike paths also mark a significant step towards the city region’s long-term plans for a best-in-class 600km walking and cycling network – with £30.7m already committed to building and upgrading routes across the Liverpool City Region.

Increased funding has also been earmarked for cycle training and repairs as well as bike loan and grant schemes to help more people out of cars and public transport and onto bikes.

The new routes are funded by almost £2 million from the first tranche of the Government’s emergency active travel fund that has been awarded to the Liverpool City Region. The Combined Authority has worked closely with local councils to allocate this funding for new pop-up routes in Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.

 Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Locality Services said: “Our vision for Sefton is a confident and connected borough, where people can enjoy the use of many cycle and walking friendly routes, where we all work together to keep Sefton clean and green with a commitment to low pollution and better air quality.

“The Emergency Active Travel Fund will allow us to make changes to two routes in Sefton, one in Southport and one in Bootle which will encourage cycling and walking and make significant improvements to our streets to enable people to use cars less and move around in a different way.

“We want to encourage people to use active forms of travel by increasing the opportunity for people to walk or cycle, in line with the Council’s commitments to improving Health and Wellbeing and tackling Climate Change.”

As part of its Liveable Streets initiative, Sefton Council is currently seeking local people’s help to identify streets and places which need changes made to make it easier and safer for people to walk and cycle.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said: “Since I was elected, I’ve been working hard to deliver a walking and cycling revolution across our region, with 600km of new and upgraded routes being delivered over the next few years.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has seen lots of people getting back on their bikes and we’re doing all that we can to make it as safe and enjoyable for them as possible.

“Cycling is much better for your health, the planet and for your wallet than taking the car. These new pop-up lanes should make it much easier for people to get about and hopefully help encourage more people to ditch the car!”

To see the maps of the planned routes in Sefton or to tell us your thoughts once the routes are in place,  visit www.activetravelsefton.co.uk/emergencyroutes

Simon O’Brien, Liverpool City Region Cycling and Walking Commissioner said: “It’s fantastic to see that work will be beginning on new pop-up bike lanes and foot paths. Infrastructure like this will help people in our city region to travel actively more safely and with confidence.

“It’s also an amazing opportunity to test out our vision for a 600km network of high-quality, permanent walking and cycling routes for the Liverpool City Region.

“Coronavirus has had a huge impact on our city region, but we now have the opportunity to look at how we can change things for the better in the future – and rethinking the way we travel and taking more journeys by bike and on foot needs to be part of that.”

Grant funding support for Sefton Businesses

Council has started preparations to close its grant schemes to business. This follows the Government’s announcement to close all local authority grant support funds on 30th September. The schemes are part of the wider government business support response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The final date to submit an application for a Small Business Grant or a Retail, Leisure & Hospitality Grants will be 16th August 2020. Businesses can apply online at https://forms.sefton.gov.uk/covid19businessform/

In a final call to help support businesses the Council is reopening its Discretionary Business Grant Fund. The fund has already paid out over £1.3 m to businesses and a short application window will be made available to support struggling Sefton businesses who have fixed property costs that can be evidenced by a commercial lease, commercial rent or commercial mortgage agreement or other commercial property related costs such as business insurance.

The fund is open on a first come first serve basis to new applications from the 3rd August with the window closing at 11am on 26th August or until all funds are exhausted. This is to allow time to ensure all approved payments can be met by the Government deadline

The Government has asked local authorities to give priority to groups of small businesses that were unable to access the Small Business Grant and Retail, Leisure and Hospitality grant schemes. These include charities in receipt of charity rate relief, B&Bs which pay council tax, businesses in shared workspaces and regular market traders. Other small businesses, not in these highlighted groups, will also be welcome to apply where eligibility is met.

The Council has extended the scheme to certain businesses operating in commercial premises who have a rateable value of £51,000 or a commercial rental or mortgage agreement which is more than £51,000. (businesses who employ more than 50 staff are ineligible, as well as large national chains or their subsidiaries).

To support the grant process, rigorous checks are being undertaken to ensure businesses meet the eligibility criteria.  Applicants are urged to read the application guidance before applying and to ensure they provide all the required supporting information to avoid unnecessary delays with approval.

Businesses can apply online at https://www.sefton.gov.uk/business/business-rates/covid-19-business-support-for-202021.aspx

Southport and Formby Cancer Information and Support Centre re-opens

Southport and Formby Cancer Information and Support Centre on Stanley Street, Southport are re-opening its doors to provide residents affected by cancer with face to face, COVID safe support following the recent easing of lockdown restrictions.

The team at the centre – a partnership between Macmillan Cancer Support and NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – has put measures in place so that it can safely resume services for patients and staff. This means that there are some changes to the way the service is delivered, initially, there will only be pre-bookable appointments available. The team will be continually reviewing guidance so that the drop-in service, support groups, courses and events will also be resumed as soon as it is safe to do so.

To protect staff, volunteers and service users, a simple health questionnaire and temperature check will be carried out before anyone enters the centre. In addition, unless there is a medical reason why it is not possible, visitors and staff will be required to wear a disposable mask or face covering of their own. All rooms that are used in the centre comply with the 2-metre social distancing guidance. The centre will be thoroughly cleaned at the start and end of each day and all tables, chairs and used areas will be wiped down after each person has left.

Dr Graeme Allan, Macmillan GP and cancer clinical lead at NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “We know that there has been a sharp drop in the number of patients referred for cancer investigations and appointments during the pandemic. We understand that some people may be concerned about visiting their GP with symptoms or attending hospital for a cancer referral appointment. Strict infection control procedures and video and phone consultations have been introduced in GP practices to ensure the safety of patients and staff. It is vital that people contact their GP if they have any signs or symptoms of cancer because early diagnosis saves lives.

“It’s brilliant to see the Southport and Formby Cancer Information and Support Centre re-open, we know that coronavirus means people living with cancer need help now more than ever. The Centre has increased the number of counseling sessions so that the trained and experienced staff can provide more vital emotional support to people with cancer locally.”

Tanya Mulvey, Centre manager at Southport Cancer Information and Support Centre, said: “We know that the last few months have been incredibly difficult for people affected by cancer and although we have been offering telephone support (which we’ll continue to do), we know that seeing someone face-to-face is far preferable for many people. Sadly, we will not be able to hold your hand or hug you – but the welcome will be just as warm as it ever was, and we’ll do our very best to help and support you.

“We will be continually reviewing our services against evolving guidance and hope that we will be able to return to our normal service provision as soon as possible.”

To find out about the support available and to book an appointment, please call the Centre on 07976 767188 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm)

For more information about the Southport and Formby Cancer Information and Support Centre, visit: https://southportmacmillancentre.org.uk/

‘Fix Your Bike’ vouchers scheme

The government is offering £50 bike repair vouchers to anyone in England to persuade people to get back on their bike, as part of efforts to tackle obesity.

This is a great opportunity for people to get their old bikes out of the back of the shed fixed and safe to ride.

The scheme will help encourage more people choose cycling over public transport as a convenient way to travel and limiting the number of trips in private cars, in an effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic as lockdown is eased.

How to get a free £50 voucher to repair your bike

You can register to apply online for the ‘Fix Your Bike’ Voucher Scheme from 23:45 on Tuesday 28th July.

After you apply, you can bring your cycle to a mechanic or bike repairer that has also registered to take part in the government’s scheme, to get your bike fixed.

The voucher will cover up to £50 of the total cost of the repairs needed.

The first 50,000 vouchers will be made available online on Tuesday at 23:45 on a first come, first served basis to those who register online.

Who is eligible for the scheme?

Anyone living in England who has an unused bike that needs repairing is eligible.

There are a limited number of vouchers available and up to two vouchers can be claimed per household.

The vouchers can only be used with mechanics and bike repairers that register for the scheme in England.

Find your local bike repairer shop here

Businesses warned of COVID 19 secure inspection scam

Sefton Council is warning the Borough’s businesses to be vigilant after reports of a possible COVID-19 inspection scam.

The Council’s Trading Standards has reports saying of businesses being contacted by someone claiming to be from the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The caller has requested permission to undertake a COVID 19 secure inspection of their premises but has also claimed the business could receive a reward up to £2,000 if they score highly in the inspection.

These calls could be related to a scam because no law enforcement agency would offer a financial inducement. Additionally, the FSA does not inspect local businesses as this is the responsibility of the Local Authority and COVID-19 is not a food matter but a Health and Safety one.

Throughout the pandemic, the Council has received reports of scams and businesses are urged to stay Safe and Savvy. Any business that is concerned they may have been targeted by a scam should report it to Sefton Trading Standards by emailing etscontact@sefton.gov.uk, by calling 03454 04 05 06 or visiting http://sefton.tradingstandards.uk/ 

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, said:

“This type of behaviour is both shocking and disgraceful and has an impact on businesses that have already been badly affected by COVID 19 during Lockdown.

“We advise businesses to take extra vigilant and be aware of these new scams that can take many forms.

“The general rule of scams applies – if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

“In the meantime, businesses should follow the official government advice, and take all necessary precautions.”
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/reporting-a-scam/

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