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Police and council working together following discharges

Police officers in Sefton are working with Sefton Council following two discharges in the borough last night (Wednesday, 30 May).

The first incident took place in Church Walk, Bootle at around 7pm, when officers received reports of several loud bangs. There were no reports of anyone being injured and there was no property reported damaged.

The second incident took place in Bispham Road, Southport at around midnight, when damage was caused to the upstairs front window and downstairs window of a property. The damage was consistent with a firearms discharge. Again no-one was injured during this incident.

Merseyside Police operates in partnership with Sefton Local Authority and are committed to reassuring the communities of Bootle and Southport, with an increased police presence in both areas.

CCTV from the areas is being examined and house to house enquiries are on-going. Both scenes have been subjected to a line search and Crime Scene Investigators have examined both sites.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “As a council we are totally committed to putting our residents first and creating safe communities right across the borough.

“Unfortunately, our strong and vibrant neighbourhoods have been disturbed by a number of anti-social behaviour incidents taking place in Sefton.

“This has got to stop and we would appeal to anyone with information to do the right thing and report it. Through partnership work with Merseyside Police we are working hard to bring those responsible to justice and ensure that our communities remain safe for our residents.”

Chief Inspector Jerry Harris said: “While no-one was injured during either incident, we recognise the impact that incidents such as this have on our communities.

“I’d like to reassure residents in both Bootle and Southport that these are on-going investigations and we are doing everything we can to find those person(s) responsible for these shootings and bring them to justice.

“Guns and those who use them have no place in our communities and residents should not be forced to live in fear. Alongside our partners we are working hard to prevent these types of crime happening on our streets.

“I would also like to appeal for anyone who was in either area, around the times of the discharges, who may have seen anything to get in contact. We’re also particularly keen to speak with anyone living in these areas who may have CCTV or who may have dashcam footage, to get in contact.”

Anyone who saw or heard anything which could assist either investigation, is asked to contact @MerPolCC,101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Council leads call for more domestic abuse support

Sefton Council is calling for more support to tackle domestic abuse and to be addressed at every stage from prevention through to rehabilitation in its response to the Government’s latest consultation.

The consultation has been seeking views nationally on both legislative proposals for a landmark draft Domestic Abuse Bill and a package of practical action to tackle domestic violence.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Cabinet Member for Communities, said:  “Domestic abuse is an absolute priority for the Council and our partners and we have embraced the opportunity to feed into such important proposals for a Domestic Abuse Bill.

“As a society, we need to challenge the acceptability of any sort of abuse.

“We need ensure that domestic abuse is at the top of everyone’s agenda, break the silence and encourage people to talk more openly about the issue, particularly young people, and reduce the stigma for children and young people to access services.

“In Sefton, we already have in place a robust strategy for tackling domestic and sexual abuse. It is based around partners working effectively together, the provision of educational and awareness raising programmes, providing vital victim support and perpetrator programmes, and protection through the criminal justice system.

“Any proposed measures to tackle domestic abuse are welcome but it will take more than new laws to help victims and survivors rebuild their lives, we need more support and to do as much as we can to raise awareness, support victims, and ensure perpetrators are stopped.

“We are determined to ensure victims feel safe and supported and will continue to work closely with our partners to address the needs of survivors and victims, and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.”

Delights aplenty at Southport Food & Drink festival!

Thousands of culinary explorers are expected to attend the free, three day, annual Southport Food and Drink festival this weekend.

The superb setting of Victoria Park, Southport will host the Sefton Council run festival of fabulous fare and delicious drinks between Friday and Sunday (June 1-3).

Street food stalls serving a variety of international flavours and healthy treats will be tantalising tastebuds throughout the three days.

Foods on offer include crepes, gourmet burgers, hot wings, churros, spiral potatoes, paella and curry, to name just a few of the culinary delights visitors can enjoy.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “Southport Food & Drink Festival is a fabulous event for all the family, with plenty of entertainment taking place alongside a vast international array of food and drink.

“The festival gets bigger and better every year and we look forward to welcoming people of all ages to this superb free event.

“This is just the start of an extensive events programme taking place across our beautiful borough throughout the year which we are very proud of.”

A huge variety of food and drink producers from the region will also set up shop in Victoria Park, showcasing the very best creations imaginable; from Posh Pots to Retro Shots, herbs and spices, to pies and puddings.

The atmosphere is brought alive with live music throughout the day, including a children’s festival where circus workshops, food themed activities and more to keep little ones will be entertained all day long.

Southport Food and Drink Festival runs from 10am-6pm between Friday June 1 and Sunday June 3.

For further information and to plan your day visit www.VisitSouthport.com

Mayor launches plea to find family of Seaforth war hero

The Mayor of Sefton is asking for help to trace the family of a Seaforth World War One hero.

Arthur Evans received the Victoria Cross after an incredible act of single-handed bravery under heavy German fire in France, 1918.

On the day in question Lance Sargeant Evans’ patrol spotted an enemy machine-gun on the east bank of a river.

Heroically Evans volunteered to swim across and singlehandedly forced four German soldiers to surrender after shooting two others.

Later Evans’ fellow soldiers came under fire and he again, singlehandedly, used cover fire to help withdraw the injured.

Little is known about Arthur’s life away from the battlefield and he sadly passed away in Sydney, Australia at the age of 45.

He is one of five local Victoria Cross recipients who are being honoured by Sefton Council and the Department for Communities and Local Government with special commemorative stones at civic memorials across the borough.

Ahead of Arthur’s stone being laid on August 31, the Mayor of Sefton is urging any members of his family to come forward to be a part of the service.

Cllr Dave Robinson, Mayor of Sefton Council, said: “We know Arthur was born and raised in Seaforth and after the First World War emigrated to Australia.

“All efforts so far to locate any family have proven unsuccessful and now we are hoping a public appeal may bring to light any existing family who still live in the area or perhaps further afield.

“Arthur was a true hero and his actions on the battlefield of Etaing, France, are something of legend.”

Any one who believes they may be related to Arthur Evans or knows more about his family are encouraged to email shaun.pimblett@sefton.gov.uk or call 0151 934 2062.

Sefton Council’s Southport Heritage project wins National Lottery support

Sefton Council has received initial National Lottery support for the Southport Townscape Heritage Project.

The Council managed to beat off fierce competition from 23 other submitted bids nationally to be one of only 5 areas within the UK awarded the grant.

The grant (which is made possible by National Lottery players), will fund a project which aims to:

• enhance the quality and strength of the linkages between the town centre and the Seafront so that the two become better integrated: and
• increase the levels of economic activity within the target area to reduce the number of vacant and underused properties.

The project will focus on historic properties between Lord Street and the Promenade in order to complement the previously awarded Heritage Lottery Funded restoration of Kings Gardens and the recent £2m award from the Coastal Community funds for the pier.

Development funding of £70,100 has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help Sefton in partnership with Southport BID progress their plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant of £1.6m at a later date, which it is hoped will contribute to a combined funding pot of around £2.4m.

The project aims to carry out essential conservation work, involving structural and external repair of historic buildings; the reinstatement of authentic architectural features (e.g. traditional shopfronts, windows) and works to bring vacant floor space in historic buildings back into use.

The project will also bring community and educational benefits to the town and in conjunction with partners such as Southport Civic Society and education and training providers, will include a programme for promoting the heritage of the town including education, training and skills development for the repair and looking after historic buildings. It is hoped that this will bring about significant volunteer opportunities.

The target area for the project is located within Lord Street and the Promenade Conservation Areas which includes a rich and nationally significant collection of historic buildings, layout and landscaping. This heritage is important to residents, businesses and visitors alike, contributes to the economy of the town as well as giving a strong sense of identity, local pride and community value.

Cllr Daren Veidman, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member Planning and Building Control, said: “Considering we were competing against other local authorities for this funding and how massively oversubscribed it is, the fact we are successful is a testament to the strength of our bid.

“This was a real team effort and involved a lot of hard work with our planning and conservation officers along with partners.

“The project will focus on the areas between Lord Street and the Promenade linking up the town centre with the seafront to build on the recent Heritage Lottery Funded restoration of King’s Gardens and the Coastal Communities Fund of £2m for Southport Pier.

“We strongly believe the money will enhance these links so that the two areas become more integrated while increasing economic activity with the aim of reducing the number of vacant, underused and poorly maintained properties.”

Rob Uffendell, Chair of Southport Business Improvement District, said: “This is a great example of an effective and strong public and private sector partnership working together to attract external funding to Southport.

“BIDs aren’t just about delivering events and organising marketing and promotional campaigns. There is increasing evidence that investors and funding bodies are becoming more attracted to areas where BIDs operate and that has to be good news for the future development of our town”.

Southport Townscape Heritage Project has initially been granted round one development funding of £70,100 by the Heritage Lottery Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second round, where a final decision is made on the full funding award of £1,625,000.

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