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Local businesses vote ‘yes’ to renew Southport BID for five years

Southport BID has announced that the investment it brings to Southport and the work that it does in the town will continue for another 5 years. This news comes as a result of local businesses voting ‘yes’ for the continuation of Southport BID (Business Improvement District) for 2019-2024.

Businesses have been voting over the last month, having responded to the results already achieved by the BID and its plans for the future. These include the promotion of Southport, attracting external investment, developing and supporting initiatives to enhance the town, creating events, and championing the issues important to the town’s businesses.

58% of businesses voted in favour of renewing the BID. All businesses in Southport within the BID area and with a rateable value of over £7,000 were entitled to vote in a process managed by the Electoral Reform Service. The ‘yes’ vote means that the levy paid by businesses will see over £2 million invested directly into the town over the next 5 years.

Hugh Evans, CEO of Southport BID, says, “We are delighted that businesses have recognised the difference that having a BID is making in Southport and want our contribution to continue. This will ensure an important economic boost for Southport, which we want to thank the business community for making possible. In developing our plans we consulted with local businesses and will continue to do so as we begin to put these into place and look forward to working them and leading partners in the region in the coming months to do our very best for Southport.”

Robert Uffendell, chair of Southport BID, says, “Southport BID is voice for the business community with a focus upon improving the town for the benefit of those living and working in Southport or visiting the town. The yes vote is wonderful news and we thank all those who are helping and supporting us to move forward with our vision for a stronger, more successful Southport.”

For further information on Southport BID and its plans visit www.SouthportBID.com or contact the Southport BID office on 01704 538 382.

Thousands enjoy delights of 2019 Southport Food & Drink Festival

Thousands of food and drink lovers descended on Southport last weekend to sample the very best that the North West has to offer.

Occasional rain showers did not deter the crowds at Victoria Park between Friday May 31 and Saturday June 2 with hundreds of stalls offering a range of tasty delights and delectable treats to buy.

New additions to the festival this year included Oktoberfest tent, live DJs, added children’s entertainment and a reptile park.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “The Southport Food & Drink Festival is a fantastic annual event which benefits the whole town and the wider borough.

“Over the years the festival has evolved into an incredibly huge and diverse event and is now one of, if not the, biggest food festivals in the North West.

“Hundreds of our amazing local traders in Southport are joined each year by some of the finest food and drink producers from across the region in the fantastic setting of Victoria Park. It is a testament to the festival’s incredible popularity that so many people turned out despite the occasional rain shower! With so many people attending the event, the whole of the resort receives a real boost with added footfall right across the town.

“The Food & Drink festival kick starts what is an exciting programme of events for Southport over the coming months with the Air Show and the British Musical Fireworks Championships in September. We look forward to welcoming thousands more visitors for each of these events.”

Sefton welcomes over 8.7 million visitors a year contributing over £518 million to the local economy.

For more information about upcoming events in Southport please visit www.visitsouthport.com.

Merseyrail launches 15-minute Sunday service between Southport and Liverpool for summer

Merseyrail has announced that it is introducing its Sunday 15-minute summer service between Southport and Liverpool this year.

Beginning this Sunday (26 May), services will become more frequent with trains every 15 minutes, rather than every 30, to match those running throughout the week until 22 September.

These regular services will run all day, and between 10am and 11pm on Sundays, with regular 30-minute trains running outside these times, giving passengers a great opportunity to make the most of the bank holiday weekend.

Merseyrail passengers will be able to make the most of the longer evenings, sunny days and array of destinations and outdoor spaces along the line, with the rail operator taking them right to wherever they want to be with 68 stations across the network.

Passengers can take advantage of the Merseyrail Day Saver, which is a great value way of making as many journeys as they like throughout the day for as little as £2 for 5-18 year-olds and £4 for adults.

This ticket is valid off-peak (after 09:30 on weekdays), anytime on weekends and bank holidays, making Merseyrail the perfect way to get around this summer.

Families can also enjoy a day out with Merseyrail’s Family Ticket offering unlimited off-peak travel throughout the day for just £11 for a family of five.

Paul Bowen, Deputy Managing Director of Merseyrail, said: “We have reintroduced our summer 15-minute service on our Northern Line this year to provide a quality service for our passengers during the warmer months, when we see a greater demand for services on the Southport line.

“This is one of our busiest lines with some fantastic destinations and outdoor spaces within walking distance of the stations and this additional frequency means passengers can travel with greater flexibility.”

Passengers will never be stuck for things to do using Merseyrail’s Destination Merseyside online planner – a dedicated leisure site showcasing the best destinations, attractions, events and outdoor spaces across the network.

The site also incorporates a journey planner ensuring passengers get to where they want to be for the best value.

LFC fans urged to follow travel advice and plan ahead of Champions League final weekend.

Travel advice and information is now available for Liverpool Football Club’s big weekend – the Champions League final (Saturday June 1) and the potential homecoming parade (Sunday June 2).

The information is being made available now to ensure LFC fans, and those travelling for other reasons – such as those attending the Bordeaux Wine Festival and the River Festival in Liverpool City Centre – can plan their journeys in advance.

The Champions League final will kick off at 8pm. Fans choosing to watch the game in pubs, bars and at specially organised events are being advised to plan how they will get home, especially if the game goes to extra time and penalties, with most last public transport services scheduled around 11pm.

Should a parade go ahead, thousands of people are expected to come into Liverpool and the gathering of crowds along the route will cause disruption to the transport network, both in the period up to the start of the parade, during it and afterwards as services work to get back to normal.

In addition, Sunday service provision, with some engineering works on the rail network, will mean that the transport network is extremely busy.

Detailed information on bus, rail, Mersey Ferries and the Mersey Tunnels is available at www.merseytravel.gov.uk/lfcparade, but key pointers include:

• We want you to have a brilliant weekend. Please plan your travel in advance to ensure you can get where you’re going to go and home again.
• Use public transport wherever possible, but consider that trains and buses will be running to a Saturday/Sunday timetable with some rail services affected by engineering works, and bus services will be disrupted as a result of parade road closures. Check before you travel.
• If you live along or close to the parade route, stay local and walk or cycle. This may give you the best vantage point and means you can avoid a busy transport network.
• The open top bus won’t be stopping so take advantage of the full length of the route.
• Decide which part of the route you want to wait at and arrive in plenty of time.
• The transport network will be very busy. Prepare to queue and factor this in. Don’t aim for the last service home.
• Be patient – it is impossible to predict how long it will take the team bus to travel along the route. This will also impact on when road closures will be lifted and when affected bus routes can get back to normal.
• On the Sunday, Merseyrail will have an amended timetable in place. James St and Lime Street (low-level) stations will be closed all day, as will Green Lane, Bromborough Rake and Capenhurst on the Wirral line. These closures will remain in place whether or not a parade takes place.
• Should the parade take place, for passengers travelling in Liverpool city centre, Northern line trains will call at Moorfields only and Wirral line trains will call at Liverpool Central only.
• On the Sunday, should the parade go ahead, Mersey Ferries will be running a shuttle service from 1500, with the last service back to Seacombe at 1930.

Wayne Menzies Head of Rail for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, and Chair of the Major Events Transport Board, said: “Both events on the Saturday and the Sunday will put significant pressures on limited weekend transport services. The sheer volume of people and road closures will also bring disruption, particularly to bus services.

“We want people to have a weekend to remember for the right reasons, so it’s essential that you plan your travel in advance so you know you can get where you are going and home again. We also encourage people to keep an eye on the latest travel information.

“We have been working closely with Liverpool FC, transport operators, Liverpool City Council, Merseyside Police and other partners to ensure that we are doing all we can to help people get to the events and home again safely.”

‘Live’ travel updates before, during and after the parade will be available on Twitter @Merseytravel, #LFCparade

Sefton leads the way in protecting Heritage At Risk sites

Sefton Council is leading the way in protecting the borough’s most culturally and historically important sites for generations to come.

Working closely with English Heritage and other partners, the local authority has created a proactive and contemporary approach to taking care of Sefton’s Heritage At Risk sites.

This approach led to the creation of a dedicated Sefton Heritage At Risk Officer and, although originally planned as only a temporary position, approval has now been received to make it a permanent fixture of the local authority.

Stuart Barnes, Sefton Council’s Head of Economic Growth and Housing, oversaw the creation of the role and outlined the authority’s ambitions to better manage the borough’s incredible heritage sites.

Stuart said: “We really stepped outside the ‘planning box’ in our bid to protect our Heritage At Risk sites.

“Firstly we had to address what could be done to keep our assets from the ‘At Risk’ register. What were the root causes and could potential problems be headed off before sites became at risk?

“We know heritage assets are important to our communities, providing a historical context to neighbourhoods and townscapes.

“But due to increasing pressures on resources it was necessary to look at different ways of tackling risk, which is why we created the Heritage At Risk officer’s position.

“The wide scope of the role allows us to focus on innovative partnership work, improved community understanding and exploring possible future savings and funding streams.

“Our work has been so beneficial that Southport, one of our key heritage sites, was chosen as a pilot project for Historic England’s national ‘Heritage Action Zone’ scheme.

“This led to a number of fantastic initiatives including the Southport Development Framework, the Lord Street Verandah Project and community led Heritage Trails.”

“A number of key buildings and spaces within Sefton – listed buildings and other buildings in conservation areas – have been targeted for intervention, investment and re-use.

“This is a complex, large scale and long term project, particularly so with the resources at our disposal, but nevertheless is a key priority for Sefton Council”.

Daniel Longman, Sefton’s dedicated Heritage At Risk Officer, added: “My role is to make sure our heritage sites are at the forefront of any work we do while continuing to encourage community resilience.

“I put a lot of focus into working closely with our communities and partners, using our combined knowledge to identify future projects, potential ‘At Risk’ sites and finding new funding streams.

“We want our communities and visitors to be better informed of the history and character and value of the borough and this has a positive knock-on effect on tourism, the economy and housing.”

Sefton Council is now working alongside partners and community groups in the delivery of the Southport Townscape Heritage Project, with the explicit aim of enhancing the quality and strength of the linkages between the town centre and the seafront.

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.

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