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Robotics firm takes last unit at Northwood’s Mersey Reach as work starts on phase 2

A Merseyside firm pioneering the use of industrial robots has become the latest occupier to sign up for the award-winning Mersey Reach development in Aintree.

CNC Robotics industrial unit at Mersey Reach
CNC Robotics industrial unit at Mersey Reach

CNC Robotics is to establish an advanced manufacturing facility in the last remaining unit in phase one. The fast-growing company, which provides robots for a wide range of machining applications, currently occupies two units at nearby Sefton Business Park. The new 12,133 sq ft unit will enable it to bring together its operations on a single site and provide space for further growth. B8 Real Estate and JLL acted as joint agents on the letting on behalf of the investor, Northwood Urban Logistics.

Mersey Reach was named as Development of the Year at Insider’s recent Liverpool City Region Property Dinner. Phase one consists of four units totalled 112,500 sq ft, with other occupiers being precision blade manufacturer Hardy UK, Selco Builders Warehouse and Skinny Drinks, which occupied CNC Robotics’ unit for eight months before moving to a larger unit on the site.

Arial image of whole Mersey Reach site
Arial image of whole Mersey Reach site

Work has already started on phase two which will consist of 12 units totalling 102,000 sq ft. Units will range in size from 4,000 to 30,000 sq ft, with completion due in early 2022.

Thomas Marriott from B8 Real Estate’s lettings team said:

“Mersey Reach is one of the most high-profile developments of its type in the area. The unit attracted interest from a number of parties and was let within a week, demonstrating the level of demand for high-spec industrial and logistics space. We are already dealing with enquiries about phase two, which we expect will also attract strong interest.”

Iain Taylor, Director at Northwood Urban Logistics, said:

“We are very pleased to welcome CNC Robotics to Mersey Reach and enable them to expand their advanced manufacturing business in Aintree. There is a significant lack of good quality industrial premises within the region. Mersey Reach offers a fantastic solution for growing occupiers with features such as 8m-10m clear internal height, fitted offices, good sized yards and electric car charging points.”

Situated on a 13.5-acre site off Dunnings Bridge Road, Mersey Reach was developed with support from Sefton Council’s business growth team, InvestSefton, and is expected to create up to 350 jobs when complete.

Stuart Barnes, Sefton Council’s Head of Economic Growth & Housing, said:

“The Mersey Reach development is enabling fast-growing Sefton-based companies like CNC Robotics to continue to operate from our borough, not only improving productivity in the advanced manufacturing industry but bringing new jobs for local communities.

“Having the infrastructure to accommodate the needs of expanding businesses is what makes Sefton the ideal place for them to flourish and offers a real sense of confidence about the future of business here as we focus on recovery post-pandemic. I have no doubt that the next phase of the Mersey Reach development will bring a wealth of training and employment opportunities to our residents.”

Sefton helps Southport sports club swing for success

Sefton Council have helped a Southport Sports Club ensure they’re swinging for success after contributing towards brand new safety netting for their cricket and football offer.

Fleetwood Hesketh Sports Club on Fylde Road, Southport were recently given a grant of nearly £20,000 to erect much needed mesh netting to stop wayward cricket balls and footballs from leaving the grounds and hitting road users or neighbourhood properties.

A total of £19,978 was granted to the club from Sefton Council’s Community Transition Fund, which now forms the first stage of a major refurbishment and improvement project the sports club are undertaking.

Bobby Addison, Chairman of Fleetwood Hesketh Sports Club, thanked Sefton Council, saying without the grant they would have been forced to suspend cricket and football at the venue.

Bobby said: “Many residents around Marshside and those who have visited our club will remember our wonderful tree lined boundary with Fylde Road.

“Unfortunately we became aware of a need to remove and replace these trees as they were becoming a health and safety issue.

“Once these works were complete, we needed a long lasting alternative to protect our neighbours and we approached Sefton Council for help.

“The council were fantastic and gave us a much needed grant of £19,978 which allowed us to purchase and erect the safety netting.

“Without the council’s help we may have had to suspend cricket and football at the ground, which would have had a significantly negative impact on our community.

“This is the first stage of the project and we are now looking to raise funds for a new fence and ball stop netting for our other boundary.”

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Fleetwood Hesketh is a wonderful community sporting venue that has been serving Marshside and Southport for nearly a hundred years!

“To be able to see the physical benefits of what the Sefton Community Transition Fund can do is incredibly heartwarming and we are delighted that we have been able to play a part in ensuring both cricket and football remains a staple part of what Fleetwood Hesketh offers.

“The Community Transition Fund has been developed by Sefton Council for this exact reason; to assist community organisations on a one off basis to ensure their long term success which will be passed onto our residents and neighbourhoods.”

To find out more about the fund, please visit

For more information on Fleetwood Hesketh Sports Club, visit

Sefton’s simplified online renewals services for taxi driver & vehicle licencing remains in place

A queue of taxi cabs waiting for customersSefton’s taxi drivers are being reminded that despite the relaxation of some COVID-19 restrictions, vehicle licence renewals are still being processed through a simple e-mail service.

Ten-day turnaround

We aim for a turnaround of ten working days for the renewal of vehicle licences with a high proportion being processed more quickly. We ask that as much information regarding vehicle renewals is included within the subject line of the e-mail enabling us to prioritise our workload.   

Driver licences continue to be considered for auto renewal for a period of six months. A number of licence holders will be invited in for interview if a new DBS check is required, Immigration status check is required, a Medical check is required or there are pending criminal matters.


Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Councils Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services said: “Since the start of the COVID pandemic, to ensure the safety of drivers and its own staff, the Council has been carrying out online renewals rather than the drop-in system at Bootle One Stop Shop.

“Infection rates show that the coronavirus is still very much with us, so the online process remains in place for now.

“We have a 10-working-day-target for the process and the majority of applications are being done more quickly.

“And, owners can apply for renewal of their plate 28 days before their current one expires so there should be no reason why anyone should be without a plate.”

To renew, all drivers need to do is email a copy of their Mechanical Fitness Test, which they get from one of the Council’s authorised testing centres to Their application needs to be accompanied by an image of their application form, their V5 Registration certificate and evidence of insurance.

The Council then collects the fee from the driver over the telephone and the renewal certificate is sent to them.


Cllr Lappin added: “As with many of our services, Sefton Council quickly adapted the way we managed taxi vehicle and driver licence renewals to ensure the safety of drivers and our own staff.

“This has mean that the popular drop-in service that took a few minutes, which drivers had got used to now takes a little longer but with a 28-day lead-in time for renewals, no-one need miss the deadline.

Since taking renewals online to prevent the chance of COVID-19 spreading, between drivers, with Council staff and with taxi users, Sefton has processed around 9500 renewals.

Cllr Lappin continued:

“Inevitably taxi drivers in Sefton have had to get used to a change from the drop-in, face-to-face process they have been accustomed to but the vast majority of them have adapted and have been using the system without any problems.

Find out more about the application process on the Sefton Council website.


During the pandemic, Sefton Council has distributed close to £1,000,000 in grant funding through two sets grants to support taxi drivers who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Over 4,000 taxi drivers licensed in Sefton, and who live in the Liverpool City Region, were eligible for an initial £100 support grant followed up by a further £200 support grant.

Sefton businesses supported with £97.7 million in grant payments throughout pandemic

Sefton Council has supported its local businesses throughout the pandemic making 23,000 grant payments, totalling £97.7 million, through local, regional and national financial support schemes.

Rate paying businesses have also been helped through business rates discounts saving them £41.8 million during 2020/21, with a further £22.5 million in discounts awarded to eligible businesses for this financial year.

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

The past year and a half has been incredibly challenging for every single businesses owner here in our Borough. Hundreds of businesses were forced to close at various stages throughout the lockdowns and many will still be facing uncertainty about their future as we focus on the economic recovery now needed.

“The mammoth efforts of our Council officers have resulted in an incredible number of payments being issued to our businesses, offering a lifeline when they needed it the most.

“We recognise the key contribution these businesses make to the Sefton economy and we’ve been proud to support them through this time. Our businesses have been patient with us – as we’ve had to follow stringent processes and checks when administering these financial support packages – showing incredible resilience during these unprecedented times.”

The Council’s InvestSefton and Business Rates teams would normally have been delivering business growth and inward investment support while administering and collecting business rates. Instead the focus has been on supporting businesses financially, ensuring they could access important grant payments and other means of support as the health crisis continued.

Colleagues from different departments such as Tourism, Corporate Resources, Housing, Planning, Sefton@Work, Early Years and Adult Care have supported this vital stream of work to ensure that grants were issued to all eligible businesses.

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, said:

 “We’ve also helped businesses with practical support, issuing them with PPE, providing vital infrastructure for Covid-19 testing and our Environmental Health colleagues have supported the re-opening of the retail, hospitality and personal care sectors.

“We will continue to do all we can to ensure businesses get through this period, thriving and ready for the next challenge that they may face.”

A snapshot of statistics of the support offered to businesses since the pandemic began
A snapshot of statistics of the support offered to businesses since the pandemic began

Sefton Council has put together a snapshot of the support offered to businesses since the pandemic began:

  • The Business Rates team has received 27,000 requests for assistance compared to around 4,000 that would usually be received annually;
  • InvestSefton has dealt with more than 4,000 enquiries from manufacturers to cafes and all sorts of businesses in between;
  • To date, the Council has administered 23,000 grant payments through local, regional and national financial support packages and schemes;
  • That totals £97.7 million in payments to businesses right across the Borough – from taxi drivers to childminders to pub landlords – with the total expected to increase further as the remaining schemes and payments are administered;
  • A total of £41.8 million in business rates retail discounts were awarded in 2020/21 with a further £22.5 million awarded in 2021/22;
  • The Council has expanded its connections across the Borough, and after key Government updates it has regularly contacted over 2,600 businesses with the latest updates relevant to them;
  • The InvestSefton website has had 40,000 visitors looking for help and support since March 2020 and similarly the dedicated Business Support page of the Sefton Council website has had 15,000 site visits from local businesses seeking support.

Stuart Barnes, Sefton Council’s Head of Economic Growth & Housing, said:

We know that as these financial support schemes draw to a close, the scale of the economic recovery will become clearer. We’ll be here to help all Sefton businesses in whatever way we can to ensure that they continue to succeed.

“Our InvestSefton advisors are only a phone call, email, video call or coffee away and our Business Rates team are available to support our rate paying businesses Borough-wide. There’s no question they haven’t heard and are very much looking forward to better days ahead, where they’ll be right there beside our businesses on the road to recovery and beyond.”

To find out how InvestSefton can help your business contact 0151 934 3452 or email or visit

Details of business rates support can be found on the Council’s website at

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

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