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Ping Pong Parlour launches in Bootle Strand Shopping Centre

Visitors to Bootle Strand Shopping Centre will soon be able to enjoy free ping pong in between their shopping sprees.

A pop up Ping Pong Parlour, set up by Active Sefton in conjunction with Table Tennis England and Bootle Strand, will officially open on Wednesday February 13 for all to enjoy.

The parlour can be found on the shopping centre’s Palatine level and will be open during normal shopping hours and Active Sefton’ experts will also be running free coaching sessions throughout the year.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “This is a fantastic and exciting addition to The Strand and we encourage everyone to drop in to play on one of the two table tennis tables we have.

“Simply grab a bat and play – absolutely free of charge!

“Through our incredible Active Sefton offer we have teamed up with Table Tennis England, the sport’s national governing body, as well as Bootle Strand Shopping Centre to offer this innovative and fun free service.

“The Ping Pong Parlour reiterates our continuing commitment to inspire our residents and communities to be active, healthy and happy.”

Rowland Parry, Bootle Strand Shopping Centre’s manager, added: “We are delighted to welcome The Ping Pong Parlour to The Strand and hope our shoppers will use the facility to engage in some table tennis fun.”

To find out more about the Bootle Strand Ping Pong Parlour or for more information on all that the shopping centre has to offer, visit www.strandshoppingcentre.com.

Two men arrested following seizure of suspected stolen quad bike in Formby

Police have arrested two men and seized a suspected stolen quad bike following an incident in Formby the early hours of this morning, Thursday 7 February.

At around 1.05am, officers supported by the National Police Air Service (NPAS) were called to Formby to reports of a suspected stolen Honda quad bike being ridden in the area.

Following enquiries, local policing and Matrix officers attended an address in Ryeground Lane, detained two men and seized the quad bike.

A 28-year-old man and a 25-year-old man, both from Formby, were arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle and taken to a police station for questioning.

The bike is believed to have been stolen from the Ainsdale area earlier in February and will be reunited with its rightful owner.

Anyone who witnessed this incident, or has information on the anti-social or criminal use of any vehicles, particularly where they are being stored, is asked to contact @MerPolCC, call 101 or @Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Funding approved for Heritage Lottery Project in Southport

Further funding has been approved by Sefton Council to allow a second round application for Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF) for a major project in Southport town centre.

Development funding of £70K was awarded by the HLF last year to enable Sefton Council, in partnership with Southport BID, to progress their plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant of £1.6m. With contributions from Sefton Council and property owners it could be worth up to £2.36m in total.

At Cabinet on February 7, £200K of match funding was approved to enable Sefton Council and Southport BID to submit a second round application in June, 2019.

The Southport Townscape Heritage Project aims to enhance the quality and strength of the linkages between the town centre and the seafront so that the two become more integrated.

The project aims to increase the levels of economic activity within a target area and reduce the number of vacant and underused properties.

It will focus on historic properties between Lord Street and the Promenade and aims to complement the previous HLF restoration of King’s Gardens and the recent £2m award from the Coastal Communities funds for the pier.

Cllr Daren Veidman, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Building Control, said: “We initially beat off fierce competition from 23 other bids to be one of only 5 areas within the UK to be awarded the grant.

“This match funding will allow us to apply for a full National Lottery grant worth about £1.6m which we will submit in June with a final decision made in the autumn.

“If approved we really believe the money will enhance the links between Lord Street and the Promenade reducing the vacant and poorly maintained properties and greatly increasing economic activity in these areas.”

The project aims to carry out essential conservation work , involving structural and external repair of historic buildings, the reinstatement of authentic architectural features and works to bring vacant floor space in historic buildings back into use.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, added: “Working with partners like Southport Civic Society and other education and training providers, we hope the project will bring community, volunteering and educational benefits to local residents.

“Lord Street and the Promenade conservation areas provide a rich and nationally significant collection of historic buildings and landscaping. We firmly believe preserving this heritage for residents, businesses and visitors alike will contribute greatly to the town’s economy while providing a strong sense of identity, local pride and community value.”

Part of the initial development funding has allowed for the recruitment of a dedicated Project Officer, Paul Crowther, who joined Sefton in November 2018 from the successful Townscape Heritage Project in Winckley Square, Preston. Paul has been busy working on developing the second round application and liaising with Southport BID.

Rob Uffendell, Chair of Southport Business Improvement District, said: “This is a great step forward for our town. The success of our joint application for first round funding demonstrated the effectiveness of the private and public sectors working together for the greater good of our town. We’re confident that continuing this collaboration will now help ensure a successful second round application resulting in £1.6m grant funding to improve a core area of our town centre and is an example of how such collaborations are important in encouraging future investment in Southport.”

For more information please visit our webpage www.sefton.gov.uk/townscape alternatively get in touch on 0151 934 3155 or e-mail Paul.Crowther.sefton.gov.uk

Police issue warning about shop’s hacked Instagram page

Police are investigating a report the social media account of a clothes store in Aintree has been compromised and are urging customers to be vigilant.

A report was received that the Instagram account of the Haus of Harlow store on Warbreck Avenue, Aintree had been hacked and was being used to receive cash purportedly in exchange for goods that would then be collected from the store. This was done without the store’s knowledge and the goods were not available for collection.

Detective Inspector Holly Chance, from the Merseyside Police Economic Interventions Team, said: “We believe the social media account was compromised and while efforts are currently being made to close it down, we would urge people to avoid any correspondence on Instagram page with the profile page ‘harlowhaus1_’ for the time being. Instead, all contact with the store should be done in person.

“This offence has left members of the public out of pocket and has caused significant distress to the shop owner who has been left trying to explain the situation to those disappointed customers, all while trying to run a legitimate business and make an honest living.

“We are appealing to anyone with information about the incident to contact police so that we can bring the offender to justice.”

If you have been affected by this incident please report the matter to ActionFraud, the UK centre for reporting fraud or cyber crime offences and state that your case is linked to incident NFRC181002590126. Action Fraud can be contacted on 0300 123 2040 or via https://www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook Merseyside Police CC. You can also call 101 quoting incident reference 18400019955 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information.

Coordinated Merseyside railway upgrades planned during Southport line closure

A railway bridge over the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Bootle will be replaced later this month while the Southport line is closed for platform upgrades.

The two improvements will take place at the same time to deliver the most benefit, while causing the least disruption to passengers.

Network Rail and Merseyrail have worked together to reschedule the bridge renewal to fit in with the ongoing platform improvements.

Between 18 – 22 February, the existing bridge deck will be removed and a 1,000 tonne crane will be used to install a new deck.

The Southport line will be closed for platform upgrades from 2 – 24 February as part of a wider programme of improvements to accommodate new trains from 2020.

Both pieces of work are part of the Great North Rail Project – a multi-billion-pound rail industry team effort to transform train travel for customers across the North through track and train improvements.

Chris Atkins, Network Rail scheme project manager, said: “Working with Merseyrail, we have rescheduled the renewal of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal railway bridge to fit in with the closure of the Southport line while platforms are upgraded.

“This will mean that passengers will have the least amount of disruption while we deliver significant benefits to the railway on Merseyside.

“Both pieces of work are essential. One will prepare the Merseyrail network for the arrival of its new trains. The other will ensure the railway bridge that supports the railway in Bootle is kept safe for the next 100 years.

David Powell, Merseytravel’s programme director of rolling stock, said: “All partners have worked together to minimise disruption to passengers as much as possible. We are progressing with the platform upgrades in preparation for the arrival of the new state of the art trains from 2020.

“Although the end results might not be obvious, the upgrades are essential to ensure the new trains’ sliding step can meet the platform edge so that passengers can get on and off the new trains with ease.”

Andy Heath, managing director at Merseyrail, said: “The platform upgrade work is essential to prepare the network for the new state-of-the-art trains and carrying out other necessary work at the same time will help to minimise disruption to passenger journeys. Passengers using the Southport line between 2 -24 February are encouraged to check before they travel at merseyrail.org/itshappening”

Between 2 and 24 February, Network Rail will be completing vital upgrades to 17 platforms on the Southport line. Work to adjust the height and width of station platforms and remodel track will prepare the platforms for the arrival of the new trains.

Passengers are being reminded to continue to check before they travel at www.nationalrail.co.uk for the latest information.

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