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Tens of thousands enjoy brand new Southport Market in just 48 hours

More than ten thousand excited and hungry customers passed through the doors of the brand new Southport Market in its first 48 hours of opening.

After much excitement, Sefton Council opened the doors of the refurbished £1.4m Southport Market on Thursday, July 22 and immediately traders were made to handle the heat of what is the North West’s latest place to be for good food and drink.

In fact nearly 15,000 tasty treats, from wood fired pizzas to mouth watering bubble waffles, were served up to customers in the first 48 hours of the market’s launch, as thousands descended on the resort’s market quarter for a taste of the action.

Gavin Williams and James Kennedy, co-owners of Allotment; one of the ten stunning food stalls in the new look market, said they were delighted to be firing up the grills and serving up a selection of burgers, hot dogs and loaded fries meals.

Gavin said: “The council have been phenomenal and the market is already buzzing! I am sure this is the start of something amazing for Southport.

“We chose to be a part of the market after walking into the building for the first time and became instantly struck by how spectacular it looks.

“It is a real eye catching site and we know it will draw in so many people to the town.”

James added: “The investment that has been put into the market is fantastic and it is something that is completely different and we are very excited to be a part of it.”

Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “It’s no surprise that already we are seeing tens of thousands of people visiting Southport Market in its first few days of opening.

“Across the region word is spreading quickly about the market and we cannot thank our incredible traders, bar team and council staff enough for all the hard work that has been put into making this a reality.

“We look forward to welcoming even more people through our doors this coming weekend!”

Southport Market’s opening hours:

Mon and Tue closed
Wed 10-10
Thursday 10-10
Friday 10-11
Sat 10-11
Sunday 10-8
/Ends

Sefton to provide food for children in need during summer holidays

Sefton Council and its partners are once again leading the way in providing food to schoolchildren in need throughout the 2021 summer holidays.

Now in its sixth year, the much-needed provision will see Sefton Council and Sefton Council For Voluntary Services (Sefton CVS) plate up thousands of hot meals for those children who need them.

Eligible

As in 2020, families who have had their income significantly affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will also be eligible for the scheme.

More than five thousand meals, in the form of takeaway packed lunches, are served through the scheme.

Sefton Council is again working in partnership with Sefton Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) to co-ordinate additional access to food with local Voluntary, Community and Faith (VCF) sector organisations across the borough.

Struggle

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said: “This is always a very important service to provide and we continue to do all we can to help people who would otherwise struggle to put food on the table.

“We have had families tell us that without this service, they would have to miss paying bills to meet the extra cost of feeding their children during the long summer months.

“Sadly, there is a need for schemes such as the Access To Food Programme and we are delighted that we are once again able to help and support those families that are most in need within our communities.”

It comes after Sefton confirmed funding for free school meals over the six-week school summer holidays.

That scheme to support children and families who receive free school meals will, once again, work through the provision of supermarket vouchers. As with previous holiday vouchers, they will be valid to buy food in store and online at local supermarkets.

Challenging

Angela White, Chief Executive of Sefton CVS said: “We understand that the summer holidays can be an extremely challenging time for some families.

“We are pleased to be working alongside Sefton Council to offer a coordinated response to meet the needs of our local communities.”

The scheme will run from August to September, with those families eligible for the scheme being notified in advance of where they can collect their meals.

Sefton Council approves plans for new smart office development at former HSBC site in Bootle

Sefton Council has approved plans for the transformation of the former HSBC Data Centre site at Bridle Road, Bootle, into a new, high-tech office space.

Imagined design of the new development
Imagined design of the new development

Planning permission was granted to L51 Developments Limited earlier this month, with construction set to begin on the scheme early next year. Some parts of the site will be refurbished, alongside the new construction, to deliver a mixed-use development of circa 186,000 sq ft.

Founded in 2019, L51 provides a range of technical facilities and services to clients seeking smart office environments.

Sefton Council’s business growth team, InvestSefton, has worked with L51 from their initial interest in the site, through funding options to bringing potential investors to the table.

Advisers will continue to support them as the development takes off, and employment opportunities will be promoted to nearby residents through the Council’s Sefton@Work programme.

Cllr Marion Atkinson Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills said:

“Investment and development of this kind here in Sefton is absolutely critical to not just our Borough, but to the whole of the Liverpool City Region’s digital infrastructure.

“As our ways of working are driven by technology more than ever before, it is vital that Sefton supports those who have the vision to create state-of-the-art facilities and working environments that provide the best opportunities for job creation and business growth.

“Our InvestSefton team will continue to support L51 as they begin construction on the site, looking ahead to the new employment opportunities the development will create for people across our Borough.”

Pa Nolan, Director of L51 Developments Limited, said: “The development will release a refurbished office of 30,000 sq ft, finished in a modern, flexible, contemporary design, designed by leading Architects, Mather & Co and Tim Groom Architects.

“The planning approves a new 36,000 sq ft light industrial unit, designed for several uses. The existing two data centres will be joined by a new structure, to provide a single modern data centre of 120,000 sq ft.

“The support that the InvestSefton advisors have provided to the project to date has been immeasurable and we are really excited about the future of the site now that we can push forward with the project.”

People can find out how InvestSefton can help their business by contacting 0151 934 3452 or email investsefton@sefton.gov.uk or visit www.investsefton.com

Council welcomes Government’s ‘pingdemic’ exemptions but awaits details

Cllr Ian Maher
Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher

Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher has welcomed the Government’s announcement that local government employees will be among those who can carry on working after being pinged by the COVID app, as long as they take daily tests.

Feeling effects

Cllr Ian Maher said: Like companies and organisations across the country, Sefton Council is feeling the effects of the current ‘pingdemic’ which is seeing thousands of people being told to isolate through the NHS COVID app.

“With the recent growth in numbers of people infected because of the coronavirus Delta variant, many of the Council’s staff are currently isolating, which is continuing to have an effect on frontline services.

“With the Government finally announcing the list of those exempt from isolation, we can hopefully start to recover, although we are still waiting to hear the details of what roles are covered.”

The Government has said that exemptions will only apply to workers who are fully vaccinated and then, 14 days after their second coronavirus jab. They will apply until Monday 16th August when wider relaxations for fully vaccinated people are expected

Last night’s announcement by the Government warned “this is not a blanket exemption for all workers in a sector”. The exemptions “will not cover all or in most cases even the majority of workers in critical sectors” and only apply to those whose employer has received a letter on which they are is listed by name.

Rising sharply

Cllr Ian Maher said: “Despite the recent lifting of COVID restrictions by the Government, the Delta variant has meant numbers of cases have been rising sharply, in Sefton, on Merseyside and across the country.

“As with other sectors such as transport and supermarkets and food production, councils are being hit by the large numbers of people having to isolate and I am afraid this inevitably means services will be affected.

“Sefton Council employees have been working to support and protect our communities, our businesses and our vulnerable throughout the pandemic.

“Some have been able to continue working mainly from home while others have carried on as well providing frontline service such as bin collections, social services, care work and the protection of our unique environment. And teachers and other staff have been in Sefton’s schools throughout the pandemic for pupils who were unable to stay at home.

“Some staff have been temporarily transferred to other teams because they have been unable to carry on with their regular jobs due to closures. Instead they have worked in areas such as burials and cremations to ensure the continuation of those key services.

“I can assure Sefton’s residents, businesses and visitors that the Council will continue to deliver the services they rely on even though they may, temporarily, not be at the same high standards they quite rightly expect.”

Cllr Maher went on to say that while the number of employees being told to isolate through the COVID app was affecting Council services, they were doing ‘the right thing’ by following the guidance.

Vital

Cllr Maher continued: “For those of us not covered by these new exemptions it is vital that if we are pinged or contacted by test and trace, we continue to self-isolate.

“Like getting both vaccination jabs and continuing to take regular tests if you’ve not got symptoms, isolating when we’re told to, is vital to preventing the further spread of COVID in this latest peak of infections.

“And I have been pleased to see that, while the Government has removed most restrictions, many people across Sefton are continuing to show care and consideration for each other by wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and, I hope, washing their hands frequently and thoroughly.”

Find out more about COVID in Sefton.

Sefton Council reports best performing Council Tax collection rate across Liverpool City Region

Sefton Council is thanking the Borough’s residents and businesses for their prompt payment of Council Tax and non-domestic rates, making the Borough’s collections the highest across the Liverpool City Region.

The Council remains committed to collecting all debts, as it pays for facilities and services including to some of the most vulnerable in our communities such as safeguarding children and providing vital support through Adult Social Care provision.

Despite the challenging circumstances that the health crisis has created, communities across Sefton have supported the Council in its collections during the last financial year, while the authority has also offered help to those struggling financially.

Sefton Council’s Council Tax collection rate stands at 95% and non-domestic rates at 96.4% for the year 2020/21. While both have decreased compared to the previous year as a result of the pandemic, the reduction is less than the average nationally, and put Sefton top across the Liverpool City Region according to latest figures published by the Government.

However, anyone continuing to face hardship is assured that there are solutions and advice available to support those struggling to pay their Council Tax or Business Rates.

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulation and Compliance, said: “These high levels of collection will ensure we can continue to deliver vital services Borough-wide, for the residents and businesses paying them, despite the rollercoaster of a year we’ve all just faced.

“We will always fulfil our duty to collect fairly what is owed to us through Council Tax and Business Rates and we use that income to offer many valuable services. This remains a key issue for the Council and we will continue to work with our residents to get collections rates and incomes back up to pre-pandemic levels over the coming months.

“We do recognise that some people struggle to pay their Council Tax bills. If this is the case, please don’t suffer in silence and contact us as early as possible. This is particularly pertinent given the difficulties many have facing job uncertainty and reduced incomes owing to the pandemic.

“Help is available, and the earlier people get in touch regarding their debts, the quicker we can assist them.”

A wide range of advice and support is available to people facing difficulties paying Council Tax and other household bills. Council staff can put people in touch with organisations providing free, independent financial advice such as Citizens Advice Sefton, Sefton Advice Services, Sefton Credit Union, National Debt Line and the Step Change Debt Charity.

There are also a number of ways that people can reduce their Council Tax liability. These include the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme for people on a low income and the Exceptional Hardship Fund. And there are several discounts and exemptions including for people who are sole occupiers.

Similarly, eligible businesses have received Business Rates discounts and holidays during the last financial year, with further automatic discounts already applied in line with Government guidelines for the current year.  

Cllr Lappin added: “Every 1% of Council Tax we collect, results in about £1.4m being spent on vital services that support our communities. It makes sense that the more we collect then the more we have to spend in the future.”

For more information, including help and advice on paying your council tax, please call 0345 140 0845 or visit www.sefton.gov.uk/counciltax

Information for businesses can be found on the dedicated support page of the Council’s website www.sefton.gov.uk/business/business-rates/covid-19-business-support-for-202021-202122/

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