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Sefton Council launches Orrell Mount Masterplan consultation

A consultation seeking views on a huge community-inspired masterplan to transform Orrell Mount Park in Bootle, is now underway.

Run by independent firm, FMG Consulting on behalf of Sefton Council, the consultation is an opportunity for people to ask questions and share feedback on the proposals. It’s also a chance to gain a better understanding of the design, timescales, and the range of benefits to the local community that the development could provide.

Proposals include a brand-new space for dog walking, improved children’s play area facilities and a refurbishment of the park’s iconic Pavilion, to complement a proposed full sized, 3G football pitch at the site.

Should the 3G pitch go ahead, it would be managed by Bootle’s very own Jamie Carragher as part of the JC23 Foundation. JC23 is a not-for-profit social enterprise which aims to provide a safe place for young and disadvantaged people and other members of the community to play and learn.

Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “We are delighted to be able to have a platform that allows us seek the views of our passionate communities, local clubs, park users and residents across South Sefton and work together to make the most of this wonderful space for everyone.

“Our teams have worked hard over recent months to develop this masterplan, which includes key requests such as more dog walking space and additional play facilities for children.

“That’s why it is important that people who live near and visit the area have their say and give their feedback to the consultation.”

Jamie Carragher added: “Sefton Council wants to hear your views on the proposed masterplan for Orrell Mount Park.

“Should the site go ahead there’ll be no profit gained by anybody. A number of holiday programmes would take place including holiday camps for local schoolchildren, walking football for older people and veterans, as well as sessions for local schools and junior teams.

“People are being encouraged to complete the survey online but paper copies are also available.

“Drop-in sessions are being held in a number of community venues throughout the consultation period. Anyone is welcome to come along to find out more about the proposed plans.”

The consultation runs from Monday 30th May to Friday 22nd July.

Drop-in sessions will be held on Thursday 9th June and Monday 11th July.

To find out more or to complete the survey, visit www.sefton.gov.uk/orrellmount

Marine Lake Events Centre plans to take major step forward this Summer

Exciting plans for a state-of-the-art Marine Lake Events Centre in Southport are set to take another big step forward this summer, as the project team prepares for public consultation.

It was announced earlier this year that Sefton Council has appointed an experienced team, including leading architecture firm AFL Architects, to work on plans that will provide Southport with a first class events space and a new visitor attraction that will animate the Marine Lake. 

The project has been named following feedback from local school children during the Town Deal consultation in 2020. The plans will provide a theatre space, conference and exhibition centre able to accommodate a range of events, and café/restaurant on the site of the existing Southport Theatre and Conference Centre.  A water and light show is proposed to be installed on the Marine Lake.

The project will bring thousands of visitors to the town each year and provide a boost to the local economy.

The Marine Lake Events Centre and Marine Lake water and light show forms part of the Southport Town Deal which secured £37.5 million funding in 2021. The project has also secured further support from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. 

Work on the Marine Lake Events Centre follows the success of Southport Market, which opened its doors last year and has helped to kickstart regeneration of the Market Quarter. The council has also recently consulted on plans to improve access to the eastern side of Southport and public realm improvements for the town centre.

The Marine Lake Events Centre team will start conversations with stakeholders over the next few weeks with public consultation planned to take place in May. A planning application is expected to be submitted in early summer 2022.

Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “We are really excited that the project is starting to take shape. During the consultation on the Town Deal in 2020, the need for investment in the current theatre was something lots of people wanted to see and the “big idea” to animate the Marine Lake was widely welcomed. 

“There are a number of aspects of the project that need careful consideration, so we have appointed an expert team to start having conversations and to help design and deliver this important project for Southport.

“We plan to undertake a wider public consultation on the plans in May, providing an opportunity for everyone to see and comment on the plans before a planning application is submitted.”

 

Statement: Orrell Mount 3G pitch works postponed

Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, has today (Friday, November 12th) announced that work to create brand new 3G pitches on Orrell Mount in Bootle will be temporarily paused in order to continue open dialogue with local community groups.

Throughout the planning application process for the hugely beneficial scheme residents, members of the community and a number of sports organisations were consulted on the plans, which received wide reaching support.

Proposals were approved and work was due to be undertaken on site this week. These works however have now been put on hold following a recent public demonstration.

Cllr Maher said: “While we have continued to engage with the community around Orrell Mount, recent demonstrations on site have indicated there is still more dialogue to be had.

“Our initial consultations led Sefton to revamp, tweak and add in certain elements to the scheme in order to best benefit surrounding residents and address concerns raised, which is why we were confident that a schedule of works could begin in earnest.

“It was never our intention to close the park off while these works took place and this drastic decision was only taken at the eleventh hour in order to keep both the public and contractors safe after it became clear demonstrations could lead to a health and safety issue.

“After a significant amount of discussion between Cabinet, ward members and officers, we have unanimously agreed to temporarily halt all works and reopen the park as a sign of good faith, while we seek to continue further constructive dialogue and consultation with residents.

“We all want to find a solution which allows this hugely beneficial scheme to become a reality and we will now await the findings of this additional consultation before any further potential progression is made.”

Orrell Mount Playing Fields will now fully reopen, however a small number of playground improvement and maintenance works will still be taking place within the grounds.

 

Orrell Mount fields temporarily closed as fantastic 3G pitch works get underway

Earlier this year Sefton Council announced that it had been successful in a bid for £780,000 funding from the Football Foundation to create brand new and much needed all weather 3G pitches at Orrell Mount.

Alongside around £350,000 direct investment from the Council, this welcome additional funding allows the Council to undertake work to replace the existing grass pitch and to install new changing facilities on the site – ultimately benefitting local people all year round.

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: “We are aware of misinformation which has been shared online about the scheme and we have reiterated that key facilities will remain and even be improved, including dog walking facilities and a fully refurbished children’s playground.”

Local Sefton former professional footballer Jamie Carragher’s 23 Foundation will be running the new facility, to maximise its potential and nurture a new generation of future sporting stars

They will provide a managed programme which supports partner club growth and offers a range of recreational football activities to people of all ages, backgrounds, genders and abilities to deliver the FA strategic outcomes.

Full backing has been given to the scheme by the Liverpool County FA, local grassroots football teams such as Northfield Juniors and many members of the community.

Tony Smith, Football Development Manager at the Liverpool County FA, added: “There is a huge shortfall of match play on 3G pitches and having this facility in the heart of the community will not only develop better grassroots players but also develop better social outcomes to combat obesity, improve health and wellbeing, while also tackling anti-social behaviour.”

Rachel Stevenson, Welfare Officer for Bootle’s Northfield Junior’s Football Club, said the team can’t wait to play on the pitch.

She said: “Historically in the winter months we have found real difficulties and challenges to get our kids access to proper training facilities.

“This will be our first opportunity to keep players within the local community and allow them to train closer to their homes.

“We are a registered charity so this scheme will also allow us to keep our costs down and allow us to pass this back on to our members so our football remains completely inclusive to everyone in the local community.”

A Sefton Council spokesperson reiterated these comments, adding: “Any surplus made from operating the facility will be put back in to the community.

“Throughout this process to provide significantly improved health and wellbeing provisions for football players of all abilities and ages, Sefton Council has endeavoured to work closely with members of the local community and has acted on some of the concerns expressed.”

Despite these promises, a pocket of public opposition to the plans has remained and owing to the ongoing actions of these demonstrators, Sefton Council have reluctantly taken the decision to temporarily close Orrell Mount park to the public.

A council spokesperson confirmed: “This decision has not been taken lightly, however we need to ensure the ongoing safety of both demonstrators and our contractors.

“This closure will remain in place until works to install a 3G pitch, lighting and community safety provisions have been completed.”

Scarisbrick Avenue Regeneration project revealed by Sefton Council

Sefton Council is set to engage with business owners and residents around Scarisbrick Avenue ahead of proposed regeneration works on the busy Southport thoroughfare.

A package of works worth nearly £1million are proposed including new, high quality paving, enhanced street lighting, improved pedestrian crossings, environmental additions and rejuvenated signage and CCTV equipment.

Businesses, residents and stakeholders are being informed about the works, which are intended to be completed in time for the 2022 summer season.

It is hoped the scheme will greatly improve the popular walkway, which connects the heart of Southport Town Centre with the Promenade and seafront, ultimately complementing the ongoing work of both the Southport Town Deal and the Southport Townscape Heritage Project.

Cllr Daren Veidman, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Building Control said: “Scarisbrick Avenue has seen an increase in footfall since 2020 with the addition of the impressive Red Rum mural, painted by famous local artist Paul Curtis, as part of the local authority’s Sefton’s Borough of Culture celebrations.

“The fantastic work of the Townscape Heritage Project team, along with the brilliant long term vision and successes we’re already seeing from the Southport Town Deal are creating a positive future for the town and these works on Scarisbrick Avenue are a much welcomed addition to those projects.”

Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Locality Services, added: “Scarisbrick Avenue is one of three main routes connecting Lord Street with the Promenade and its popularity over time has lead to some significant wear and tear.

“It has been a long standing ambition to secure funding to make improvements and we are delighted that we are now in a position to do so.

“The Southport Town Deal recognises the importance of high quality public spaces and the connections between the town centre and the seafront areas as major contributors to the future success of the town.

“These improvements to Scarisbrick Avenue were identified as one of the projects the Council was committed to delivering that would complement the proposals in the successful Town Deal bid and the Townscape Heritage Project.

“We are asking stakeholders and residents in the area what they think of an extensive package of environmental and heritage improvements, involving the replacement of worn out paving, better pedestrian crossing facilities and a new eco friendly lighting scheme to support the evening economy.”

A total of £920,000 has been allocated for the project via the Government’s Highways Challenge Fund grant and Sefton’s Growth Programme and is subject to approval of Sefton Council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee.

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