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Splash World work continues despite international supply challenges

Work to reopen Splash World in Southport is continuing in the face of international, industry-wide supply chain issues.

Difficulties procuring labour resources and additional materials, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors have had a huge impact on the construction sector.

Contractors working on the refurbishment of Splash World have told the Council they are facing unforeseen challenges in securing specialist resources.

These delays, which are affecting major projects across the UK, mean the re-opening date for the all-weather indoor water park is now likely to be 2023.

Splash World was temporarily closed for the refurbishment in December 2019.

Although work had to be paused as a result of the pandemic, the Council was able to use building to create a specialist SMART testing unit for COVID-19, with the centre playing a pivotal role in keeping thousands of residents and key workers safe from potential infection.

Work resumed in Summer 2021.

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: “Despite a range of nationwide challenges beyond our control, we are making progress on completing the works and welcoming visitors back to Splash World but unfortunately not as quickly as hoped.

“We would like to take this opportunity to place on record our thanks to our various teams and contractors, who have been doing their best in difficult conditions to carry out these essential refurbishments works.

“We would also like to thank local residents and the many thousands of people who enjoy Splash World for their patience while this work is carried out and to assure them that we are working to get the centre open as soon as possible for them.”

Opened in 2009, Splash World usually welcomes thousands of families from across the North West of England each year. Features include fast flumes and river rides, a relaxing bubble spa and toddler area and a water play area

An announcement about the official re-opening date of Splash World will be made in due course.

Sefton calls on telecoms companies to hang up on baffling language

Sefton Council is reminding telecoms providers of the need to be clear when consulting with residents over the erection of often controversial telephone masts.
 
Following concerns raised by Councillors and residents, Sefton Council’s Chief Planning Officer Derek McKenzie has encouraged telecoms operators to ditch what he describes as ‘unintelligible’ documents used during the planning application process for the erection of telephone masts and other infrastructure.
 
Mr McKenzie said that members of the public can often find the language telecoms providers use when consulting with communities about what can be sensitive changes in their area to be ‘confusing’ and ‘opaque’ 
 
The concern is that this type of language can discourage people from providing valuable feedback.
 
A number of operators have since responded to Sefton Council to say they are keen to improve how they communicate.
 
Cllr Daren Veidman, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, said:  
“We recognise that there are members of our community who find the siting of telecommunications masts both concerning and controversial.
 
“Yet, unintelligible language used in communications with local residents and organisations, does nothing to encourage feedback or open discussion.
 
“Describing equipment in terms such as a ‘monopole’, ‘furniture style’, ‘GRP shroud’, ‘antennas’ and ‘cabinets’, without further explanation, is simply meaningless for most people and we want to work with operators to change this.
 
“The irony is not lost on us that a telecommunications operator needs to get better at the way they communicate.”
 
The frustrations of Sefton residents have been also been raised with the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, as well as in the House of Commons.
 
Cllr Veidman continued: “When considering such proposals, Sefton Council’s Planning Committee follows national and international guidelines.
 
“However, the way in which telecoms companies consult with both the Local Authority and members of the community prior to the submission of a planning application needs to be clear and concise.
 
“Recently a Councillor, having received a consultation about a replacement mast which was Permitted Development, wrote to the Chief Planning Officer and me asking :  “What do these documents mean?  I cannot decipher what they are about and how I should interpret for residents?”  
 
“If these pre-application consultations are not easy to understand then they clearly fail at the first hurdle as a form of consultation.
 
“This means that Councillors are unable to carry out their role of serving and representing their communities effectively and residents may never be fully aware of what changes could be happening in the area where they live.
 
“While I understand the legislative context within which telecommunications companies operate, they need to work much harder to engage and consult effectively with local communities when bringing forward such proposals.”
 
Cllr Veidman concluded: “I am pleased that the response to our letter has been positive and operators are showing a willingness to improve their language.
 
“We want to work with operators in a constructive manner to improve the way they communicate with our Councillors and local communities on these very sensitive matters.”

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Update: Green Bin Collections in North Sefton

Sefton Council is asking residents in North Sefton who have been affected by the recent Bank Holiday green bin collection disruptions to continue to leave their bins out for collection.

The local authority’s Waste Management teams are working hard to collect any outstanding green waste bins, following the Bank Holiday for the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Residents in Southport, Birkdale, Hillside and Ainsdale may find their green bins have yet to be emptied. A small number of properties in the Harrington and Ravenmeols wards of Formby, as well as Hightown and Ince Blundell, have also been impacted by this disruption.

Households affected are being asked to leave their green bins out for collection, with crews aiming to clear the backlog by Saturday evening (October 1st, 2022).

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: “We apologise for the disruption and inconvenience this may cause to those with outstanding collections and we are aiming to clear this temporary backlog as swiftly as possible.

“Please continue to leave your green bin out for collection. There is no need to contact Sefton Council at this time.”

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Sell-out Fireworks show wows thousands at Victoria Park

Tens of thousands of people attended the 2022 British Musical Fireworks Championship in Southport’s Victoria Park at the weekend, with a sell-out show on Saturday!

Visitors were treated to a series of spectacular choreographed displays featuring fireworks coordinated to music, by some of the country’s top pyro companies.

Due to unavoidable bad weather conditions a decision was taken to cancel the Sunday evening performances and refunds will be issued for anyone who bought a ticket for that evening.

Over 10 tonnes of fireworks and two tonnes of explosive material were used over the weekend. Displays took teams of up to 15 technicians more than 12 hours to set up and required around five kilometres of wire to connect the electrical firing circuits.

The overall winners of the 2022 British Championship were Optimum Fireworks, who performed second on Saturday evening. Second were Selstar Fireworks and third were Rainbow Fireworks.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills has described The British Musical Fireworks Championship as “the perfect way to round off an incredible summer of events and investment in Southport and Sefton.”

She said: “Having been running for well over 20 years, the Championship is always a hugely popular event and brings in crowds from across the North of England for a unique and stunning experience.

“I would like to congratulate everybody involved in putting on this year’s championship, which was a fitting and fantastic end to our 2022 Sefton events calendar.

“It is a shame that we had to cancel the third night but we are powerless to stop the forces of nature and the safety of both our customers and operational staff remains our top priority.

“We look forward to welcoming those competitors who didn’t get a chance to show off their amazing displays back next year.

“As the season draws to close once again, it is also important that we acknowledge the huge economic impact these fantastic events have on our borough.”

Dates for the return of Sefton’s iconic events in 2023 have now also been announced.

The Southport Food & Drink Festival will kick off the 2023 calendar running from June 2nd – 4th before the iconic Southport Air Show on the weekend of September 9th & 10th and in just under a year’s time the next British Musical Fireworks Championship on September 22nd – 24th

Last few tickets available for British Musical Fireworks Championship

A handful of tickets are still available for the 2022 British Musical Fireworks Championship in Southport later this week.

Following on from the success of the Food & Drink Festival and Southport Air Show, Sefton Council’s Tourism team are busy putting the finishing touches together for the return of the three-day pyrotechnic spectacular at Victoria Park between Friday, September 23th and Sunday, September 25th.

Thousands of fireworks fans will be left in awe of breath-taking colourful pyro displays, light shows and music throughout the competition, which while will see seven pyrotechnic companies battle it out to be crowned champion of the resort.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “The British Musical Fireworks Championship is the perfect way to round off an incredible summer of events and investment in Southport and Sefton.

“Having been running for well over 20 years, the Championship is always a hugely popular three-day event and brings in crowds from across the North of England for a unique and stunning experience.

“Local businesses really benefit from the added footfall to the town over the weekend and I am looking forward to seeing the quality of displays on show this time round.

“If you are thinking of attending please try and get tickets in advance to avoid missing out as tickets sell out!”

Friday and Sunday tickets are from just £8, Saturday tickets start at £10, or you can enjoy a full weekend pass for £22. Children under 5 are FREE but do need an entrance ticket. For further details and to book tickets head to www.visitsouthport.com.

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