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Sefton’s Derek praised for tackling mental health issue among town planners

A Sefton Council officer has been recognised for his work to raise awareness of mental health support for town planners with a top industry award.

Derek McKenzie, Sefton Council’s Chief Planning Officer has received an Outstanding Contribution Award by the outgoing president of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) for leading on a project to create a mental health and wellbeing hub for people who work within the high pressure sector.

The ‘President’s Special Award’ for 2021 was bestowed upon Derek after he championed the need for a platform to support his colleagues across the UK and further afield after recognising that more needed to be done.

Derek said: “We all have a duty of care to ourselves, but sometimes our focus in this area can be distracted by the many events that can impact on us in life. Sometimes we just might want some help, advice and support from someone else when all that is in our brain is a fog that inhibits our thought processes.

“Our profession covers a diverse area with public, private and third sector organisations and businesses of varying size and complexity. In my experience, members who work in the public sector or for large private businesses generally have more access to mental health support when feeling under pressure, while smaller private sector business, sole traders, retired members and some students generally have access to none or very little.

“In my own capacity as a Chief Planning Officer at Sefton Council, I am all too aware of the significant and sustained increases in the number of planning applications that have been submitted, which can quickly cause additional pressures on staff so it is vital that efforts are made to keep staff morale and wellbeing high.”

Derek is a well known figure in the Planning sector, having worked across local government organisations for a number of years, as well as playing a key role in delivering the iconic Dubai Palm island projects.

Sefton Council Chief Executive Dwayne Johnson welcomed Derek’s award, saying: “Derek is a fantastic member of our Planning & Building control service and he really appreciates the importance of maintaining good mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

“It is a testament to Derek’s commitment to his position that he has worked on a wider mental health provision for his contemporaries elsewhere in the UK and abroad. Well done Derek!”

For more information about planning processes in Sefton, visit

Have your say on Les Transformations Des Southport

Sefton Council has launched a brand new consultation to seek the views of residents, businesses and visitors to the resort about future improvements to Southport town centre.

In 2020 plans were publicly revealed which would be designed to support Southport’s return to the grandeur of Victorian England, when it was the country’s second most popular tourist destination.

The project, dubbed “Les Transformations de Southport”, aims to support the town’s businesses by improving the connectivity across the whole town centre, including improved pedestrian facilities, better links to the railway station and the creation of new public spaces for hosting events.

Now a consultation has been launched for Phase One of the scheme, seeking out views about public access and how people move and travel through the town centre, as well as looking to gauge support on new public realm enhancements in the Chapel Street and Market areas.

Business owners, schools, visitors, the transport and tourism sectors are being encouraged to contribute their views alongside residents from the wider area around Southport.

People will be asked for their views on a number of areas, including:

• Lighting and benches on Chapel Street
• Improving the appearance of the Southport Station Entrance
• Changes to the Market Street quarter
• Better pedestrian provision on Eastbank Street
• Improved street signage
• Future phases and areas of focus

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, added: “The town centre is dominated by north-south movements, particularly by vehicles, and there are many competing demands for highway space which can be difficult to accommodate.

“The post Covid-19 decline in public transport use may also create additional pressure on the highway network to accommodate private vehicles.

“ Phase 1 is the beginning of our attempts to address these issues, provide infrastructure which allows for better access, along with the associated health and well-being outcomes.”

As accountable body for the project, Sefton Council will administer the consultation process on behalf of the Southport Town Deal board.

The consultation is open until March 18th, 2022. To have your say visit


Storm Eunice warning: Road & Park Closures

Marine Drive in Southport will be temporarily closed on Friday (February 18th) as part of Sefton Council’s response to Storm Eunice.


A closure will be in pace between the Fairway and Weld Road junctions as a precaution due to high tides and the potential for the road to become temporarily flooded.


A number of parks across Sefton will also be closed as a precaution in order to keep visitors safe from any falling trees or branches.


Sefton Council will continue to update its communities on any further closures through its normal channels.


The Met Office have announced that incredibly strong winds from Storm Eunice will affect Sefton and its coastline from early Friday morning, with weather worsening as the day progresses.


As a safety precaution, given the road’s exposed proximity to the coastline, Sefton Council has taken the decision to temporarily close Marine Drive in Southport from Fairway to Weld Road between the hours of 10am and 3pm on Friday (18/02/2022).

Sefton Council is recommending that all travel be kept to a minimum and journeys to only be made if they are essential.

A decision has also been made to close Hall Road Car Park in Blundellsands due to adverse weather conditions. This closure will also take place throughout Friday.

Botanic Gardens, Hesketh Park, Moorside Park, Derby Park and Victoria Park will be closed on Friday and a safety assessment will be carried out at each park prior to reopening

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: “The UK is going to be seriously affected by Storm Eunice this weekend and Sefton is no exception.

“These pre-emptive closures are designed to keep our communities safe from any harm this storm may cause and we continue to monitor the situation as it develops.

“This means other roads may need to be closed at short notice. We strongly advise people stay away from coastal areas, especially our beaches and unsheltered areas.

“Please only travel if absolutely essential. The stormy weather could cause significant issues to road and rail transport and there is a strong possibility that a number of trees may be brought down by high winds.

“There is also potential for widespread power outages and damage to weakened/loose structures like roof tiles, fences and chimney stacks.”

With the right precautions taken and journeys limited to only essential travel, many residents will be able to safely wait out Storm Eunice, with the worst of the weather passing by Sunday (20/02/2022)

For more information and to find additional support, visit


Sefton successful in £3m Department for Education bid to improve outcomes for children and families

Sefton Council has successfully secured £3m of new funding to improve the support it offers to children, young people and families across the Borough. The Council is working in partnership with Leeds City Council to deliver the ‘Leeds Family Valued’ model, part of the Government’s Strengthening Families, Protecting Children programme.

The partnership will launch in Spring 2022 and will last for an initial two years. The aims of the programme are to improve outcomes for children and families, improve practice across children’s services, improve the effectiveness of the local authorities’ children’s social work and safely reduce the need for statutory social work intervention, particularly reducing the need for children to be looked after.

Specifically, the Family Valued model aims to bring about wide-ranging improvements across Children’s Social Care across several areas including culture change, leadership and practice. The ambition is to embed restorative practice further across the children’s workforce; beyond Sefton’s children’s services and into partner agencies across the Borough, with the recognition that practitioners play a key role in preventative approaches and culture change.

This funding is in addition to a £10m investment announced by Sefton Council in 2021 to deliver key improvements across Children’s Social Care which is already helping to deliver increased capacity across several teams, reduce caseloads and bolster recruitment and retention efforts.

Welcoming the successful funding bid, Cllr. Mhairi Doyle, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care said:

“I am delighted that Sefton Council has been awarded this evaluated programme and I would like to thank all of those involved in putting together a strong bid to The Department for Education.

“We want all children, young people and families across Sefton to be heard, happy, healthy and achieving, and the Family Valued programme will enable us to deliver key improvements across Children’s Social Care that will ultimately allow us to achieve these aims.

“Working closely with the team at Leeds City Council will ensure colleagues across Sefton have access to a range of training, development work on various aspects of practice and leadership & management development opportunities.

“I look forward to this partnership bringing professionals across the Borough even closer together for the benefit of all of our children, young people and families.”

How to plan a street party for the 2022 Platinum Jubilee

Community spirited Sefton residents considering hosting a street party for Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee are being asked to contact the council as soon as possible.

While food, drink and tablecloths may be high on any party planner’s list for the celebrations, which take place over the long weekend of June 2nd – June 5th, many residents may not be aware of the need to formally close off their street.

There is no cost involved for this service but party organisers will need to let Sefton Council know of their plans by Wednesday, May 11th, in order for the local authority to begin official street closure proceedings.

Apply Here

Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Locality Services, said: “Sefton Council is keen that as many people as possible enjoy this once in a lifetime special occasion and for many closely knit communities, that will likely mean a street party is being planned!

“In order for street parties to take place however, Sefton Council has a legal duty to formally publish notice of any road closures where parties are taking place.

“Already we have been contacted about a number of Jubilee celebration road closures and we would urge anyone thinking of doing similar to get in touch with us as soon as possible.

“Organising a street party has many different rewards and brings together neighbours and local communities, showing off Sefton at its very best as a warm hearted and caring borough for everyone.”

It will not be possible to process any street closure requests for the Jubilee weekend after the May 11th deadline.

Organisers will need to provide their contact details, proposed closure dates and the road or section of road they wish to close.

Each application will be assessed on a case by case basis, however residents are reminded that all parties should take place away from busy roads, such as main roads and bus routes.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has released some useful links to websites to assist organisers of street parties.

More information and additional support packs on street party planning can be found via

To apply for a temporary road closure in Sefton please click here or call 0345 140 0845.

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