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Bootle & Southport schemes among six new City Region cycling and walking routes

Work is set to begin this week on new walking and cycling infrastructure across the Liverpool City Region, including cycle routes through Southport town centre and between Bootle and Liverpool city centre.

Most of the schemes are scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer, making it easier and safer for people to travel by foot or bike across the city region. The 23km of new pop-up cycle lanes and expanded footpaths will be supplemented by traffic calming measures and new secure bike storage.

Since late March, there has been a surge in people cycling and walking for daily exercise and essential journeys, with 6 in 10 of people telling a Combined Authority survey that they expected to walk and cycle more even as lockdown measures are eased.

The new infrastructure will help enable people to travel more safely and support social distancing, connecting key locations like hospitals, workplaces and town centres as well as rail and bus stations.

Schemes to be built with the first tranche of emergency funding include:

  • Halton: Segregated cycle lanes for Hough Green town centre
  • Knowsley: Traffic calming measures for safe walking and cycling in Kirkby town centre
  • Liverpool: Segregated cycle route between Liverpool city centre and Bootle town centre
  • Sefton: Cycle route through Southport town centre, Bootle to Liverpool city centre route
  • St Helens: Upgrade of cycle routes through Clock Face and Chester Lane
  • Wirral: New segregated cycle lane on Fender Lane and upgrade of existing A4 cycle lane
  • Liverpool City Region-wide: Secure bike storage at new cycle hubs

The new pop-up foot and bike paths also mark a significant step towards the city region’s long-term plans for a best-in-class 600km walking and cycling network – with £30.7m already committed to building and upgrading routes across the Liverpool City Region.

Increased funding has also been earmarked for cycle training and repairs as well as bike loan and grant schemes to help more people out of cars and public transport and onto bikes.

The new routes are funded by almost £2 million from the first tranche of the Government’s emergency active travel fund that has been awarded to the Liverpool City Region. The Combined Authority has worked closely with local councils to allocate this funding for new pop-up routes in Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.

 Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Locality Services said: “Our vision for Sefton is a confident and connected borough, where people can enjoy the use of many cycle and walking friendly routes, where we all work together to keep Sefton clean and green with a commitment to low pollution and better air quality.

“The Emergency Active Travel Fund will allow us to make changes to two routes in Sefton, one in Southport and one in Bootle which will encourage cycling and walking and make significant improvements to our streets to enable people to use cars less and move around in a different way.

“We want to encourage people to use active forms of travel by increasing the opportunity for people to walk or cycle, in line with the Council’s commitments to improving Health and Wellbeing and tackling Climate Change.”

As part of its Liveable Streets initiative, Sefton Council is currently seeking local people’s help to identify streets and places which need changes made to make it easier and safer for people to walk and cycle.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said: “Since I was elected, I’ve been working hard to deliver a walking and cycling revolution across our region, with 600km of new and upgraded routes being delivered over the next few years.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has seen lots of people getting back on their bikes and we’re doing all that we can to make it as safe and enjoyable for them as possible.

“Cycling is much better for your health, the planet and for your wallet than taking the car. These new pop-up lanes should make it much easier for people to get about and hopefully help encourage more people to ditch the car!”

To see the maps of the planned routes in Sefton or to tell us your thoughts once the routes are in place,  visit www.activetravelsefton.co.uk/emergencyroutes

Simon O’Brien, Liverpool City Region Cycling and Walking Commissioner said: “It’s fantastic to see that work will be beginning on new pop-up bike lanes and foot paths. Infrastructure like this will help people in our city region to travel actively more safely and with confidence.

“It’s also an amazing opportunity to test out our vision for a 600km network of high-quality, permanent walking and cycling routes for the Liverpool City Region.

“Coronavirus has had a huge impact on our city region, but we now have the opportunity to look at how we can change things for the better in the future – and rethinking the way we travel and taking more journeys by bike and on foot needs to be part of that.”

Ainsdale Beach parking charges to be re-introduced from Friday 7 August

From Friday, (7 August), Sefton Council’s Green Sefton team will be reintroducing charging for parking on Ainsdale Beach.

The all-day charge for parking on Ainsdale beach is £8 and payments will be by cash only.

Green Sefton Manager Mark Shaw said:  “Owing to a combination of the huge additional costs of supporting local people and organisations through coronavirus and a loss of most sources of income generation streams, Sefton Council is facing a significant funding shortfall.

“Re-introducing payments for parking on the beach is one of the ways we can start to reduce those effects and generate income for local service include the care of our 22 miles of beautiful coastline.

“For the past six weeks, since we re-opened Ainsdale Beach for parking at no charge, we have been trying to introduce a card payment system but connection problems due to the removal of a nearby mobile phone mast have made this impossible.

“We have, therefore decided to go ahead with a cash only system instead.  Visitors are asked to have the right money available to hand over but we will have change that will be sanitised before use. However, as with any cash transaction, we wold recommend people clean their hands afterwards.”

For regular visitors, Sefton Council offers a money-saving £20 annual season ticket for parking on Ainsdale Beach.

Find out how to apply for a season ticket.

Sefton Council has joined fellow Sefton Coastal Landscape Partnership members in a campaign to remind people to continue to be sensible and when visiting its coastline.

The campaign includes advice to on the need to maintain social distancing and asks visitors to remain respectful and protect Sefton’s public spaces.

The Council has been asking people not to light barbecues or fires or to take glass bottles and other items onto the beach as they can cause fires and dangerous litter if left behind.

People are also being reminded that a Public Spaces Protection Order is in place preventing the outdoor consumption of alcohol in areas of Formby & Ainsdale Beaches, Southport Promenade and town centre, Crosby & Waterloo including by the Marine Lake as well as Bootle and Formby town centres. The Order can be enforced by Police officers and authorised Council officers and fines for breaching it start at £50.

Sefton Coastal Landscape Partnership members include Sefton Council, Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, British Transport Police, HM Coastguard, National Trust Formby, Natural England and the RNLI.

Grant funding support for Sefton Businesses

Council has started preparations to close its grant schemes to business. This follows the Government’s announcement to close all local authority grant support funds on 30th September. The schemes are part of the wider government business support response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The final date to submit an application for a Small Business Grant or a Retail, Leisure & Hospitality Grants will be 16th August 2020. Businesses can apply online at https://forms.sefton.gov.uk/covid19businessform/

In a final call to help support businesses the Council is reopening its Discretionary Business Grant Fund. The fund has already paid out over £1.3 m to businesses and a short application window will be made available to support struggling Sefton businesses who have fixed property costs that can be evidenced by a commercial lease, commercial rent or commercial mortgage agreement or other commercial property related costs such as business insurance.

The fund is open on a first come first serve basis to new applications from the 3rd August with the window closing at 11am on 26th August or until all funds are exhausted. This is to allow time to ensure all approved payments can be met by the Government deadline

The Government has asked local authorities to give priority to groups of small businesses that were unable to access the Small Business Grant and Retail, Leisure and Hospitality grant schemes. These include charities in receipt of charity rate relief, B&Bs which pay council tax, businesses in shared workspaces and regular market traders. Other small businesses, not in these highlighted groups, will also be welcome to apply where eligibility is met.

The Council has extended the scheme to certain businesses operating in commercial premises who have a rateable value of £51,000 or a commercial rental or mortgage agreement which is more than £51,000. (businesses who employ more than 50 staff are ineligible, as well as large national chains or their subsidiaries).

To support the grant process, rigorous checks are being undertaken to ensure businesses meet the eligibility criteria.  Applicants are urged to read the application guidance before applying and to ensure they provide all the required supporting information to avoid unnecessary delays with approval.

Businesses can apply online at https://www.sefton.gov.uk/business/business-rates/covid-19-business-support-for-202021.aspx

Local Testing Site for Southport- Updated Statement

One of the first Local Testing Sites in Merseyside will be in Southport.

Southport Town Hall will host a walk-in test centre from 6th August.

Some neighbouring businesses had expressed concern about the location of the test centre and in particular the exit and entrance to the Test Centre being within the One Stop Shop via Cambridge Arcade.

Sefton Council have negotiated with the private sector providers working on behalf of the DHSC, and they have agreed to make some changes to the layout of the test centre, including how people enter and exit the building, which should address the concerns of local traders.  Access to the Test Centre will be via Corporation Street.

The availability of a semi-permanent test facility within walking distance of a large proportion of residents is vital to the country’s recovery from Covid-19.

It’s important that anyone who has the coronavirus symptoms of a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss or change in their normal sense of taste or smell visits www.nhs.uk/coronavirus  or calls 119 to book a test.

Local children are being asked to brighten up the test centre by sending in drawings, paintings, and other colourful artworks which will be displayed in the two test sites in Sefton (Bootle and Southport).  You can post completed masterpieces to Sefton Council, Bootle Town Hall, Oriel Road, L20 7AE, or email them to communications@sefton.gov.uk

Joint plea to public to continue to be sensible and respectful at Sefton’s beauty spots

A number of organisations across Sefton are joining forces to remind people to continue to be sensible and respectful if they choose to spend time outdoors during the warm weather.

The agencies who make up the Sefton Coastal Landscape Partnership include Sefton Council, Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, British Transport Police, HM Coastguard, National Trust Formby, Natural England, the RNLI and other key partners.

Today (04 August) the partnership launches a campaign covering many of the issues faced on the Sefton coast.

Since restrictions were lifted allowing people to spend more time outside, we have seen a rise in the number of people using local beaches, parks and beauty spots including Formby nature reserve and many of Sefton’s beautiful beaches.

The advice remains that everyone should maintain social distancing at all times.

People also should check in advance of visiting places like National Parks and beaches to make sure they are prepared for visitors.

We are also asking people to remain respectful and protect our public spaces.

During the recent nice weather, the partnership has received reports of excessive littering and fires and BBQs being lit as well as people parking illegally and inconsiderately by blocking driveways and residential roads.

Mark Shaw from Sefton Council’s Green Sefton service said:

“Our beaches are tempting but they are not able to cope with high level of visitors at the moment.

“For those few who do visit our coastline at this time, they are advised that stringent parking restrictions are in place, all rubbish must be taken home and BBQs are strictly prohibited along the entirety of the Sefton coastline.

“At this time, we need people to think about their safety and the safety of others, as well as the wellbeing of our communities and Council staff.”

Sefton Chief Inspector Mike O’Malley from Merseyside Police said:

“We continue to work closely alongside our partners to deal with all issues on Sefton’s beautiful coastlines, and this August – with many choosing to holiday in this country due to travel restrictions – will be no different. We want all visitors to enjoy a safe, relaxing and enjoyable time, and show consideration for those who live in these areas.

“During spells of good weather this year we have had reports of excessive littering and fires and BBQs being lit as well as people parking illegally and inconsiderately by blocking driveways and residential roads.

“Anyone acting antisocially should expect to be dealt with by police in a robust manner, and we will also support other agencies in their work.

“I want to reassure those affected by anti-social behaviour, underage drinking and other issues affecting the communities of Sefton that we will again make a co-ordinated effort to prevent such incidents from occurring.

“Throughout August, officers will be on foot, in vehicles and on quad bikes across the Sefton coastline including Formby, Ainsdale and Crosby beaches, as well as parks and beauty spots including Formby nature reserve.”

PC David Baier from British Transport Police said:

“Everyone wants to enjoy this gorgeous weather and may head to the coast but it’s really important that people continue to social distance and wear compulsory face coverings when using public transport.

“These may be strange times, but the same rules apply regarding anti-social behaviour – we won’t tolerate any abuse of passengers or rail staff and we’ll continue to take a robust approach to anyone who breaks the rules.”

ENDS

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