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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/

Mikhail Leisure Group to run incredible Southport Market bar

An incredible feature bar will be the centrepiece of the new Southport Market crown after Sefton Council appointed a locally based leisure group to manage its day to day running.

Following a tender process last year, Mikhail Hotel Leisure Group, famous for the Bold Hotel, Lord Street Hotel and Punch Tarmey’s, have been revealed as the team Sefton Council have chosen to manage the feature bar at the revamped Southport Market.

The new look venue will officially open its doors soon, following the reveal of 9 incredible stalls and traders who will take up permanent residence in the building alongside the new bar operators.

Andrew Mikhail, owner of The Mikhail group, said: “Yet again, the great team at Sefton Council have had fabulous vision with their regeneration plans for the market.

“Not only creating jobs for locals but I am certain that this will bring people from far and wide to Southport.

“My team are fabulous at what they do and running great venues is what we are known for, which meant we were the obvious choice to run the bar, the impressive centrepiece to the market.

“The market is looking really impressive and we look forward welcoming those customers who are regulars at our other Southport businesses and to welcoming some new faces. ”

Finishing touches are being applied to the iconic market space as it undergoes a major transformation into a leading food, drinks and events space that will boost the local economic and tourism sectors, thanks to the hard work of Sefton Council and funding by both the Liverpool City Region & Southport Town Deal.

Aesthetics work will soon be completed to give the market space a sleek and modern look, while still combining elements of Southport’s proud seaside heritage.

Nine market stall traders have now been revealed; from artisan pizzas and Mediterranean delicacies to Canadian inspired poutine and spicy Mexican street food.

The full list of confirmed traders is as follows:

Blackhurst Butchers
600 degrees (Pizzas, Italian)
Hector’s Mexicana (Mexican street food)
Down and Oot (Canadian steaks, poutine, hot sandwiches)
King St. Bakery (Portuguese tarts)
Messy Moments (Desserts)
Birkdale Pie & Mash (Assorted pies)
Allotment – (American Burgers et al)
Pitamu (Greek & Mediterranean)

Alongside the brand new Southport Market space is a monthly Maker’s Market, taking place in the surrounding market quarter are of the town, including a mix of artisan craft and food stalls.

The £1.4m market scheme, which is a key enabler and an early part of Sefton Council’s Covid-19 recovery plan for Southport, will see 10 new locally based food units and a feature bar installed. This will be supported by a flexible events area able to host high-quality markets along with other events.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “It is incredible to see all our hard work nearing completion and I cannot wait to see the Market open for everyone to enjoy.

“We are absolutely delighted to have confirmed the Mikhail Group as our Market bar operators and look forward to working with them at what is an iconic location.

“Southport Market is a venue that is of considerable historic importance to the resort, which is why we have ensured the space is brimming with local touches and influences.

“Our amazing tourism team have been hard at work with The Atkinson to source old images of Southport to be used throughout the market and the excitement is really building for our big launch soon!”

New ‘night-time ambassadors’ supporting Borough’s busy hospitality sector’s safety

People eating and drinking outside in Southport
People eating and drinking outside in Southport

Night-Time Ambassadors took to Sefton’s streets for the first time on Friday 21st May to support businesses in the Borough’s busy hospitality sector.

The first weekend since the latest COVID-19 lockdown lifting, which includes a return to seated indoor drinking and dining, saw the Council’s five, two-person teams out and about.

Funded through the Council’s Public Health Service, their role is to provide landlords, owners and managers with advice on how to comply with the latest coronavirus restrictions. These include the need for customers to remain seated while eating and drinking and the requirement for everyone to be signed in using the COVID app QR Code process.

Welcomed

Over the first weekend they managed to visit around 700 businesses, the vast majority and which welcomed the initiative. The Ambassadors reported that the overall level of compliance was good and that they were able to provide advice at a small number of premises that weren’t aware of all requirements.

Over the coming weekends, Sefton Council’s Night-Time Ambassadors will be visiting pubs, bars and restaurants, cafés and take-aways between 12 noon and 10pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Huge change

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services said: “The lockdown relaxation introduced last week represents a huge change in what people can and can’t do, particularly in relation to Sefton’s busy hospitality sector.

“With many people keen to take advantage of the changes, which include being able to eat and drink indoors while seated, at pubs, bars and restaurants, this weekend, we are keen to provide support in helping those businesses manage the revised restrictions and requirements. Which is where our Night-Time Ambassadors come in.

“Over this first weekend, the teams managed to visit around 700 premises, received a good reception and reported back that once again the Borough’s businesses have stepped up and are implementing the required restrictions.

“Between 12 noon and 10pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, they will be out visiting a range of premises, offering advice and information to managers, landlords and owners.”

Licensed

To ensure they are easily identifiable by managers and customers, all 10 will be wearing high-viz showing they are ‘Night-Time Ambassadors’. Each of the staff, who are licensed employees of leading Merseyside security provider Logika Security Limited, have been trained by Sefton Council.

As well as visiting businesses to provide support, the Ambassadors will discuss any breaches of the coronavirus requirements they see, to try and help resolve the situation and ensure the safety of customers and staff.

Initially, the Night-Time Ambassadors are focusing on those parts of Sefton, where there are concentrations of hospitality venues, but they will aim to visit establishments of various type and sizes right across the Borough.

Enjoy

Cllr Lappin continued: “Although the recent relaxation measures represented a major change in restrictions, which we’re all keen to enjoy, it’s important that we remember the COVID-19 virus, including the variant first identified in India, is still definitely with us across Sefton.

“Businesses in the hospitality sector need to make sure they have the measures in place to protect their customers and their staff. And we, as customers, drinkers and diners, all need to do our bit by making sure we follow the restrictions that are in place to keep us, our friends and families safe.”

Mark Patrickson, Director of Logika Security Limited said: “I am pleased that we have been able to work with Sefton Council and that our employees are providing this valuable service to help create an environment where people can enjoy themselves while also staying safe.”

Find out more on the Sefton Council website. 

Construction of new homes by Sefton Council’s housing development company Sandway Homes Ltd underway

Photo at he site gates to mark the progress on the first Sandway Homes development
(l-r) Tim Webber MBE, MD & Chairman of Barnfield Group; Christian Rogers, MD Sandway Homes; Cllr Trish Hardy; Cllr Ian Maher; Sandway Board member Cllr Diane Roscoe

Construction work on Sandy Brook, the first development by the Sefton Council’s wholly-owned housing development company, Sandway Homes Ltd, is now underway.

With support from Homes England, main contractors, Barnfield Construction Limited, have cleared the site and started piling work for the foundations of the development’s 48 high-quality, two, three & four-bed homes.

Scenic backdrop

The development is located on land next to Ainsdale’s Meadow Lane on the former site of St. John Stone R.C. Primary School. It takes its name from the adjacent Sandy Brook, one of three watercourses which forms part of the Three Pools Waterway. This waterway forms a natural boundary between Sefton and West Lancashire a scenic backdrop, with views across rural meadow and farmland.

Sandy Brook is the first of the Sandway Homes developments to reach construction stage. The properties, which are a mix of detached and semi-detached, are named after wild birds that can be seen locally. Styles include the Peregrine, Kingfisher, Sandpiper, Sanderling, Curlew, Lapwing, Wagtail and Skylark.

The majority of these homes will be for sale on the open market and all commercial returns from Sandway Homes developments will be returned to the Council for reinvestment in the Borough.

Vision

Established in 2018, Sandway Homes directly supports Sefton Council’s Vision 2030 commitment to creating 11,000 new, high-quality homes across the Borough by 2030. Vision 2030 was drawn up by key stakeholders including local residents in 2016. Sandway’s aim is to develop the types of high-quality, mixed-tenure housing that commercial developers might not consider, in line with the Council’s housing policy commitments and Vision 2030. This includes social housing and affordable homes. Another site is now in development, Hey Farm Gardens at nearby Crossens, for which Sandway Homes has obtained planning permission for 30, two, three and 4-bed homes.

Sandway is also planning a development at Sefton Grange, on the edge of Netherton, comprising of two, three and 4-bed homes and one and 2-bed apartments. While the majority of these will be for sale on the open market, Sefton Grange will also provide Sefton Council with its first new rented housing since its stock transfer in 2006, in the form of nine apartments.

High-quality living

Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “I am delighted to see our ambitious commitment to creating housing that will give high-quality living choices to local residents actually taking shape on site.

“By establishing Sandway Homes, we are ethically and sustainably creating people-centred homes that will provide more housing choice across Sefton.

“Plus, any funds generated will be used to support other Sefton Council developments and services.”

Place and communities

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said:  Sandway Homes and Sefton Council are fully aligned in our commitment to providing people with a choice of new homes while at the same time minimising any disruption or inconvenience to existing local residents.

“By delivering attractive, high-quality homes across the Borough, including social and affordable housing, these developments can only enhance Sefton’s quality of Place and Communities.”

Balance

Sandway’s Managing Director, Christian Rogers, said: “Sandway Homes is an exciting new venture that strikes just the right balance between achieving strong commercial performance whilst directly supporting the Borough’s strategic objectives for new quality housing and the creation of resilient communities with quality housing that meets the highest ethical and environmental standards.”

Sandway’s Main Contractor, Barnfield Construction is part of the Barnfield Group who are a North West-based, family-owned firm established over 45 years ago.  Barnfield are employing a number of Sefton construction workers for the Sandy Brook project. Barnfield are accredited Ambassadors of the Considerate Constructors Scheme and are committed to uphold the values of Sandway Homes and Sefton Council.

Track record

Tim Webber MBE, Managing Director and Chairman of the Barnfield Group said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Sandway Homes and Sefton Council on the Meadow Lane development.  We have many development partnerships with councils in the North West, where we have a successful track record of delivering high quality homes, proven to benefit local areas.  We look forward to working on other local schemes together in the near future.”

Find out more about Sandway Homes Ltd.

EU transition webinars for Sefton businesses: Tuesday 25th May & Tuesday 15th June

The EU transition period has now passed, and business who trade with the EU must ensure that their operations are compliant with new trading regulations, or risk penalties and delays.

On Tuesday 25th May and Tuesday 15th June, InvestSefton is hosting two free live webinars on common issues faced by businesses in the Liverpool City Region, along with the LCR Local Growth Hub, and Department for International Trade.

Whether you currently import or export goods and services, or are thinking of doing so in the future, these webinars will provide valuable information.

The webinars will be split over two sessions, with topics including:

  • EORI and Incoterms
  • Rules of Origin
  • Northern Ireland Protocol
  • Visas
  • Recovering UK import VAT

There will also be a Q&A session, and information on free resources and business support available from InvestSefton, the Growth Hub and DIT, including one-to-one support.

Who should attend

Any business, any size, any sector located in Sefton. Open to importers, exporters and those considering it now or in the future.

Timing

10.15am Zoom log in
10.30am Introductions Webinar, Q&A Business Support
11.45am Ends

Location

The webinars will be accessible via Zoom. Delegates will be sent a link to the webinar, once their booking is confirmed.  

Booking

To book your place(s) call Dominique or Sharon on 0151 934 3452, or email investsefton@sefton.gov.uk

 

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