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Stunning images of Marine Lake Events centre revealed as consultation launches

Sefton Council is set to launch its public consultation on much anticipated plans for the Southport Marine Lake Events Centre and accompanying Water and Light Show.

The community will shortly be invited to share their views on exciting plans for a new, state-of-the-art theatre and entertainment space and a flexible conference and business events venue and water and light show attraction, which will greatly boost the town’s economic and tourism sectors.

Consultation events are being held at Southport Market in the coming weeks and a live webinar will take place to provide more information on the plans, which will be revealed when the consultation begins on Thursday 26th May when feedback will be invited via an online survey at https://yourseftonyoursay.sefton.gov.uk/futuresouthport/ – with the consultation running until 10th June.

The MLEC will replace the former Southport Theatre and Convention Centre which closed its doors in 2020. The new development will provide first class theatre space, a conference and exhibition centre able to accommodate a range of events, and café and signature restaurant, providing facilities for both visitors and the community alike.

The plans also include a new Water and Light show installation on the Marine Lake. Designed to set Southport apart from other seaside towns, the show will attract thousands of additional visitors to the town each year.

The project forms part of the Southport Town Deal which secured £37.5 million funding in 2021 and follows the success of Southport Market, which opened its doors last year. The project has also secured £2.3 million funding from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

Consultation events are being held at Southport Market on Friday 27th May between 11am and 6pm, and Saturday 28th May between 11am and 3pm.

A live webinar will also be held at 6pm on Thursday 26th May. You can register to attend the webinar in advance at https://yourseftonyoursay.sefton.gov.uk/futuresouthport/ The consultation webpage will be updated on the 26th May with further details of the plans and an online feedback form.

Cllr Ian Maher , leader of Sefton Council, said: “The Marine Lake Events Centre is the latest fantastic opportunity for us to build on our successful bid for Town Deal funding.

“This project directly compliments the ongoing and continued investment Sefton Council makes toward improving the future of the town for our amazing communities and visitors.

“I would encourage everyone to join in with the upcoming consultation events, either online or in person, to find out more.

“We are looking forward to hearing feedback before a planning application is submitted.”

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Southport holds a special place in the hearts of so many people in our city region and beyond as being a family-favourite destination for days out and holidays alike. The town has been entertaining generations of visitors for as long as it has existed.

“We want to build on that legacy and make sure that Southport can continue to thrive and attract visitors for many more years to come, giving a massive boost to local businesses and creating good quality, secure jobs. We are working with Sefton Council to drive the town’s revival and start a new chapter in its story. I for one cannot wait to see what the future has in store.”

A public telephone line has also been set up via 0808 168 8296. This is a freephone consultation hotline where people can call to speak to a member of the project team and ask any questions, as well as share any feedback.

Sefton pays tribute to victims of Manchester Arena bombing

Sefton this week will pay tribute to the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing by lighting up civic buildings.

The Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Clare Carragher, said: “May 22nd marks five years since the heart-breaking Manchester Arena attack.

“In the weeks following the tragedy, Sefton united as a borough and vigils and memorials were held across our communities. The message remains the same: ‘Nobody should go to a concert and never come home.’

“As with previous years, our thoughts will once again turn to the family and friends of those innocent lives which were lost that evening.

“In their memory we will be lighting up both Bootle and Southport Town Halls throughout the weekend of Friday, May 20th – Sunday May 22nd.”

Crash causes severe damage to Switch Island traffic control box

Sefton Council is asking motorists who regularly use Switch Island to ensure they plan their journeys well in advance this week while contractors work quickly to restore traffic flow in the area.

It follows a road traffic accident over the weekend which completely destroyed a signal control box in the area.

As a result emergency traffic control measures have been put in place to keep motorists safe while the issue is resolved.

It is expected new equipment will be ready for installation overnight and normal traffic flow will be restored by Tuesday, May 10th.

The main routes affected are:

A59 towards Bootle
M58 towards Bootle
A5758 Brooms Cross Road towards Switch Island

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: “Due to the significant damage sustained to the signal control box we are unable to repair and refurbish the equipment and a new one is now having to be built.

“We are working with colleagues at National Highways and Siemens to resolve the situation as soon as possible and further safety assessments are being carried out today (Monday May 9th).

“We are hopeful that the new equipment will be installed by tomorrow morning (Tuesday May 10th), however we would ask motorists to avoid the area if at all possible in the meantime.

“If you do still need to travel through Switch Island, please plan your journeys in advance and be prepared for some delays to your journeys.”

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Customer service delays likely due to high volume of calls

We are currently experiencing a high volume of calls to our Contact Centre and requests to our Council Tax Teams in part due to the cost of living crisis, the £150 Council Tax Energy Rebate, local elections, allocation of school places and the administration of the Homes for Ukraine Scheme  .  Both teams are currently prioritising supporting the most vulnerable, the processing of the £150 energy rebate to 114 000 households  and those in need of help and support from our Emergency Limited Assistance Scheme. 

As at 27th April the teams have processed the £150 Energy Rebate to 45,256 households (Council Tax Bands A – D). These payments have been made to  households that have paid Council Tax by Direct Debit where the instalment was paid between 1st – 18th April.  For those whose direct debit is paid from 19th to the 28th April their rebate will be paid by mid-May.  For households in Bands A to D that do not pay by direct debit we will be writing to them by 6th May to collect information from them that will enable us to process their rebate over the coming months. 

We appreciate that the current response times will be frustrating people trying to contact the Council so we have taken steps to recruit and train additional staff and our staff are working extra hours to help meet the demand. We would encourage people to use online processes wherever possible. 

Sefton to consult with bereaved families over ashes scattering plans

Families who lost loved ones during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic are being consulted by by Sefton Council on their plans for the scattering of ashes.

During 2020 and 2021 the scattering of ashes was prevented nationally as a result of the pandemic’s impact on day-to-day life, which means some families are only now getting the chance to properly pay their respects to those they have lost.

Although families were put on an appointment list to scatter their loved ones ashes at gardens of rest within Sefton, the Council is finding that many families have since opted to hold alternative services in other locations of personal importance.

As a result, the Council is asking those families still wishing to make an appointment at one of the Local Authority’s gardens of rest to get in contact to set a date.

David Clay, Sefton Council’s Burials and Cremations Manager, said: “It is impossible to describe the upset and pain that families who lost loved ones during those early days of the pandemic went through.

“Unavoidable safety restrictions meant families were unable to pay tribute to those who passed away in a conventional way and we understand that the effects of what happened are still being felt.

“The scattering of ashes at our gardens of rest have resumed and we are in the process of contacting families.

“However, many have told us that as a result of lifted restrictions they have opted for alternative ceremonies or scatterings at locations of significance to those who passed.

“We fully empathise with this decision but want to make sure that families who still want to scatter ashes are able to do so.

“We would encourage those families who still want to hold a scattering within our gardens to contact us directly to reconfirm their request.

“This will enable us to speed up the process for families who still want appointments in the garden of remembrance so they have the opportunity to pay their respects at the earliest opportunity.”

To contact Sefton Council’s Cemeteries and Crematorium team please call Thornton Garden of Rest on 0151 924 5143 or Southport Crematorium on 01704 533443

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