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No BBQs reminder for Sefton beaches after toilets burnt down at Crosby beach

Fire damaged toilets at Crosby beach car park
Fire damaged toilets at Crosby beach car park

Sefton Council’s Green Sefton officers, alongside Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, are reminding beach goers that BBQs and fires are not allowed anywhere at the Sefton coast.

Last week two portaloos were burnt down at Crosby beach. It’s thought that a hot BBQ was disposed of in a wheelie bin causing the damage.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“It’s incredibly disappointing to see the damage that occurred to our facilities at Crosby. Not only does this now reduce the number of toilets available for the public to use on busy days, the Council will also have to meet the costs of repairing the damage caused.

“Fires and BBQs are not permitted anywhere along the coast, be that at Crosby, Formby, Ainsdale or Southport. Not only do they pose a risk of harm to people, but fires can also devastate the rare and protected habitats we are so lucky to have here in Sefton.”

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Group Manager, Paul Kay, said:

“We would like to remind people that during periods of hot and dry weather not dissimilar to what we have experienced recently across the region, the risk of fires in public areas increase.

“Please ensure that if you are visiting the Sefton coastline, do so safely. Disposable BBQs and campfires at any of our beaches are NOT allowed anywhere on the Sefton coast, the dunes, or the woods. Please take your rubbish home with you, don’t drop cigarettes or leave bottles on the ground as these can quickly become the source of a fire. Though some fires are accidental, unfortunately, most are anti-social behaviour fires that are deliberately started, which is arson.

“If you see fire, report it immediately by calling 999, asking for the Fire Service and giving as much detail as possible including the nearest main road – this will help crews mobilise and fight fires as quick as possible, without delay.”

A number of organisations across Sefton have joined forces once again this summer to ensure local communities, and visitors from across the North West, can enjoy Sefton’s coastlines safely.

Find out more in this news article

The agencies who make up the Sefton Coast Landscape Partnership include Sefton Council, Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, National Trust Formby, Natural England, the RNLI and other key partners like Merseyrail. They are sharing important messages covering many of the issues faced on the Sefton coast throughout the school summer holidays.

People can follow the Sefton Coast Landscape Partnership agencies Twitter accounts for more advice, news and videos throughout the summer: @SeftonCouncil @MerseyFire @MerseyPolice @RNLI @MCA_media @BTPMersey @NaturalEngland @NTFormby @Merseyrail

The continued work of the partnership will also be communicated through the Council’s My Sefton website, Sefton Council’s Facebook page  and on Instagram Sefton_Council.

Sefton Council commissions artist Paul Curtis for Toad Hall transformation

Paul Curtis next to his Red Rum mural in Southport, commissioned as part of Sefton’s Borough of Culture celebrations for 2020.
Paul Curtis next to his Red Rum mural in Southport

Award-winning street artist Paul Curtis starts work on his largest ever mural this week, to brighten up Ainsdale’s Toad Hall.

Sefton Council has commissioned Paul, who last year created a huge image of Red Rum in Southport, to carry out the work as part of its plans to invest in and develop the Ainsdale-on-Sea coastal area.

Paul, who burst onto the street art scene around three years ago, is due to start on the 780m2 mural, the equivalent size of about four tennis courts, this week.

The ‘coastally appropriate’ design is being kept under wraps for now and is expected to be completed in three to four weeks, weather permitting.   

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“This is the third art installation that we have commissioned from Paul here in Sefton.

“We cannot wait to have this exciting coast-inspired piece added to the list of local street art where people can enjoy his incredible talent. The design will be revealed as each drop of paint finds its place on the Toad Hall canvas and will celebrate our unique and environmentally-important coast.

“This latest addition to Sefton’s public art collection will provide a brilliant welcome to each and every person who visits Ainsdale beach. It really is kickstarting our commitment to improving the look and feel of the destination so that our communities and visitors can enjoy this protected landscape for generations to come.”

Artist Paul Curtis said:

“I am excited to be involved in this large-scale project – my largest piece to date and I think the biggest mural in Britain outside of London! I’m itching to get started. This will be my first in Ainsdale and I hope the building’s unique face-lift will have a positive impact.

“The mural itself is a secret at the moment, but it will have an obvious link to the area and people will start to work it out as it progresses. 

“It will definitely be a challenge. The scale is one thing, but the building is also full of angles, contours, corners and recesses. This is not a straight forward flat canvas, but I am looking forward to rising to these challenges. Let’s hope the weather is on my side!”

The art installation is being funded through the Council’s already agreed £350,000 of investments to improve facilities around the entrance to Ainsdale beach. People are also reminded that they have until the end of September to submit their views on the wider, long-term development of the Ainsdale-on-Sea area and can take part online at www.yourseftonyoursay.sefton.gov.uk  

The idea for an art installation on the Toad Hall building has been developed by the Green Sefton team. They have consulted with members of the community and community groups as well as ward Councillors on the design for the mural. Everyone has positively contributed to the creative process and are excited to see Paul’s work come to fruition.

Toad Hall re-boarded and ready for the artwork installation.
Toad Hall re-boarded and ready for the artwork installation.

The Council’s Estates department, who manage the building, has carried out the necessary safety checks ahead of the work and re-boarded the doors and windows ready for the fresh paintwork.  

The Hall itself was originally constructed in the 1920s and was set to be the start of a promenade but it never fully materialised. Many local people may remember the building as a popular nightclub, but since it closed the building has remained empty.

Chester Vice Chancellor welcomed as new Chair of The Mersey Forest

Professor Eunice Simmons, Vice Chancellor at the University of Chester, has been appointed as the new Steering Group Chair for The Mersey Forest Partnership.

With a strong background in forestry and conservation, Professor Simmons takes over the reins of the Steering Group at a time of increased woodland establishment and a wide range of exciting health, education and climate change projects that are already underway across the Mersey Forest.

In early 2020, Professor Simmons became Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Chester after an illustrious career that has taken her from research to head the National School of Forestry at the University of Cumbria and then to Nottingham Trent University.

She has a PhD is in Forest Ecology and Conservation and her professorship in Sustainable Environments was awarded for teaching and research in land use and environmental habitats.

Professor Simmons said: “Mersey Forest Partnership re-connects people with their place, their planet and their potential. I am proud to be able to support its great work.”

Mersey Forest Team Director, Paul Nolan, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Eunice to the Partnership. She was the standout candidate for the role and we’re looking forward to working with her as we continue to deliver our long-term ambitions for The Mersey Forest. There are huge opportunities ahead but no doubt challenges too, which we are sure that Eunice’s knowledge and experience can help us overcome.”

Working with landowners and communities, The Mersey Forest Partnership has planted over nine million trees, creating large areas of publicly accessible woodland across Merseyside and Cheshire. With plans to establish a further 6,000 hectares of woodland by 2025, the Partnership will also continue to develop and deliver programmes such as the Natural Health Service that maximise the value of trees and woodlands for health, education, biodiversity and the economy.

Vice Chair, Councillor Barbara Murray, representing Liverpool City Council, said: “The Mersey Forest is an important delivery mechanism for our climate response delivery plans helping the area to achieve its ambition to become carbon neutral and tackle the climate emergency. We are pleased that Eunice is joining the Partnership at such a pivotal moment as we accelerate our work to establish more woodland, engage more people and create spaces for nature.”

Sefton Council regularly works with the Mersey Forest on woodland planting projects within the community across the Borough.

A Green Sefton spokesperson said: “In Sefton we’re very much looking forward to working with Eunice as she takes up her role with the Mersey Forest Partnership.

“She is joining us just weeks after we confirmed that our Borough is on track to reach net zero carbon by 2030 and our tree planting efforts saw 3,230 new trees taking root in the last year. It’s an exciting and important time to take action on climate change and through our work with the Mersey Forest we know we can make a difference for future generations.”

Join Sefton Council in celebrating Love Parks Week!

Running from Friday 23rd July to Sunday 1st August, Love Parks Week, is a chance to visit and appreciate the many wonderful parks we have here in Sefton.

Sefton’s parks and greenspaces have been a vital lifeline to many of us during the pandemic, acting as a place to escape to, to exercise and to play. Keep Britain Tidy will be running their annual campaign this summer with a clear message; to Love, Respect, and Protect our parks throughout the summer of 2021 and beyond.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Protecting our parks and greenspaces continues to be a priority for the Council and our Green Sefton team. Love Parks Week is an excellent opportunity to remind our residents and visitors of the role we all play in respecting and protecting our parks and greenspaces. From taking litter home to keeping dogs under control, there are many easy ways to help keep Sefton a clean, green and beautiful borough.”

To show our support, Sefton Council will be hosting a community event to help restore the Rose Garden in the historic Derby Park, Bootle, back to its former glory. The garden was a popular place for local residents with many having wedding photographs taken amongst the rose beds, known for their abundance of colour.

Event details as follows:

Saturday 31st July and Sunday 1st August

Rose Garden, Derby Park (Oxford Road entrance), Bootle L20 9HE

Two sessions each day from:

10:30am – 12:30pm

1:30pm – 15:30pm

All residents are encouraged to get involved whether they want to help out at every session or just pop by for half an hour to offer their support. Gardening tools will be supplied or people can bring their own along. However, people are asked to bring their own gardening gloves if they would prefer to wear them.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, added: “It’s incredibly important that we all continue to play our part in protecting parks and greenspaces across the borough. The event in Derby Park is a fantastic opportunity to meet new people, enjoy light exercise and reap the many benefits of spending time in nature.”

To get involved and find more information on the event, please contact our Green Sefton team by email at greensefton@sefton.gov.uk

Anyone who might have an interest in joining a ‘Friends of…’ park group or would like to spend more time at parks and greenspaces as a Park Ambassador should get in touch by email at greensefton@sefton.gov.uk

Using #LoveParks, Sefton residents are being encouraged to take photos and videos of the various ways they Love, Respect and Protect our parks and tag @SeftonCouncil on Twitter, @OneCouncil on Facebook and @sefton_council on Instagram.

To find out where your local park is in Sefton, visit www.sefton.gov.uk/parks and to learn more about Keep Britain Tidy and their work, go to www.keepbritaintidy.org/

North West RNLI in school holiday safety plea as youth rescue figures revealed

Stark figures released by the RNLI last week reveal lifeguards on the North West’s beaches assisted 2,314 children and 2,007 teenagers last summer – more casualties under the age of 18 than anywhere else in the UK and Ireland, including on the popular South West coast. Most of those offered help on the RNLI’s lifeguarded beaches in Sefton and the Wirral were simply out enjoying a walk and not expecting to even get their feet wet.

A total of 1,530 teenagers (aged 13-19) were assisted whilst out enjoying a stroll and 1,522 children (aged 1-12). This figure is markedly higher than anywhere else in the UK and Ireland. Those rescued in the walking category is significantly higher than all other activities including paddling where 23 children and 19 teens were rescued, with 62 children and 31 teens assisted by lifeguards whilst playing on the coast.

Now, with the school holidays underway, the charity and Her Majesty’s (HM) Coastguard are calling for families to take extra care at the coast.

Huddersfield mum Zoe Powell was enjoying a visit to Crosby beach with her family when son Monty, who was then 13, required help from RNLI lifeguards after becoming stuck in mud. She said: “Children are naturally inquisitive and looking for the next adventure, so the figures about the number of Under 18s rescued in the North West are not too surprising. Monty jumped off one of the outflow pipes into soft mud and quickly became stuck. One minute we were walking, the next he couldn’t move and had mud up to his knees. It can happen so very quickly and a simple day out can take a very unexpected turn.

“Luckily the two brilliant RNLI lifeguards who were on patrol saw the situation and came to help really quickly. I can imagine this summer will be exceptionally busy once the schools break and more people choosing to holiday in the UK. I’m really keen to share our family story to encourage others to just be that extra bit careful on the coast this summer.”

Crosby beach is a two and a half mile wide expanse of sand, mostly backed by promenade, with a one-mile tidal range. Many visitors come to see the popular Antony Gormley sculptures, which can be partially or totally submerged depending on the state of tide.

Crobsy is the only RNLI beach to be lifeguarded 365 days a year and is not the only location where tidal cut off is a common occurrence. Local search and rescue agencies continue to see a rise in incidents to people cut off by the tide and stuck in mud and requiring help from the RNLI on Wirral and in the wider Merseyside area.

RNLI statistics for the West region which includes the North West, show people enjoying a walk and getting cut off by the tide caused almost 10% of all RNLI lifeboat launches over the last decade – more than double the UK average.

With school children in England now on their summer holidays and joining those from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland already enjoying their school break, the RNLI and Coastguard are reminding them and their families how to stay as safe as possible when in and around the sea.

RNLI Water Safety Lead Chris Cousens says: “We see a big increase in the number of incidents involving children and teenagers during the school summer holidays and we would urge everyone – but families in particular – to be aware of the risks and know what to do in an emergency.

“Our main advice is to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags. RNLI lifeguards will be patrolling around 245 beaches this summer to offer advice on how to stay safe and they are also there to help anyone who gets into trouble.

“We want people to enjoy the coast but urge everyone to respect the water, think about their own safety and know what to do in an emergency.”

The key summer safety advice is:

  • Visit a lifeguarded beach & swim between the red and yellow flags
  • If you get into trouble Float to Live – lie on your back and relax, resisting the urge to thrash about
  • Call 999 in an emergency and ask for the Coastguard

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