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Work to transform Thornton park with much-needed improvements beginning this spring

Runnells Lane Park in Thornton is going to be being transformed with much needed improvements to its play and recreation facilities, as well as its paths and landscaping.

Contractors will be carrying out work to enhance the park for two and four-legged users on behalf of Sefton Council’s Green Sefton service.

Play area

A new children’s play area will be created, the existing multi-use games area will be refurbished, and new paths will be created around the edge of the site. New bins and benches will be installed, and trees are to be planted around the boundary of the park to improve the local environment and wildlife.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “This is the only public park in Thornton, and it provides an important community space. It’s fantastic to see improvements that will benefit people of all ages in the area in the pipeline.”

Funding has been secured by Manor Ward funding, the Council’s Green Sefton service in partnership with the Neighbourhoods Team though the Veolia Environmental Trust, who support community projects across the whole of England. A contribution of Section 106 Planning monies has also been allocated to the park improvements.


A drop-in session at the park was held last year to provide residents and park users with the opportunity to see the improvement plans and share their views with the Council.

A final design that takes the views of the local community on board, has been agreed and after an extensive procurement process, Horticon is the successful company that has been chosen to deliver the project.

Sefton Council is seeking members of the community to help establish a Friends of Runnells Lane Park group who would undertake volunteer duties and support events and activities. Those interested can contact Green Sefton by email

The work is scheduled to be completed and open to the public by the end of summer.

Find out more about Sefton’s parks and greenspaces.


Sefton Council welcome food and drink outlets return to coast this summer

Sefton Council has launched a tender process to continue its coastal offering of food and drink at Ainsdale beach and Crosby coastal park after successful trials through the summers of 2020 and 2021.

In recent years the Council has received huge numbers of visitors flocking to the coast. With the goal of continually enhancing visitors’ experiences, the Council seeks to expand the coastal concessions from summer trials into longer term arrangements.

Ainsdale beach food and drink concession trial, B-Eat On The Street, manager Alex with Cllr Ian Moncur and Green Sefton staff earlier this summer
Cllr Moncur with Green Sefton staff at Ainsdale beach food and drink concession trial during summer 2021.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We were overwhelmed with positive feedback from residents and visitors alike after previous trials and we are pleased to confirm the Council has gone to tender for more food and drink outlets for this summer.

“We feel that there is a market for good quality food and drink offering along our coast, while ensuring the scheme supports the Council’s Climate Change Agenda by offering vegetarian and vegan options and using biodegradable and recyclable cutlery and cups.

“Previous trials have proven how initiatives such as this help create jobs and offer a boost to the local economy as well as enhancing our visitor attractions, complementing our longer-term vision to get the right offer for everyone while protecting our special landscape.”

Tender packs can be obtained by emailing

As part of the wider investment at Ainsdale, the implementation of a new ‘off beach’ car park at Ainsdale Beach is set to be operational by the end of 2022, subject to final planning approval.

Toilet facilities at Ainsdale-On-Sea are undergoing refurbishment work in March to prepare them for reopening from 1st April as the beach car park re-opens. The men’s, women’s and disabled people’s toilet facilities will be re-opened. 

Mayor of Sefton swung into action to officially open Bootle’s new driving range

Earlier this week, Sefton Council hosted an event to celebrate the official launch of the new driving range at Bootle Golf Course.Mayor of Sefton photographed putting at the new driving range at Bootle Golf Club

Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Clare Louise Carragher was joined by pupils from nearby Litherland Moss Primary and Litherland High School and the Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Ian Moncur, to help the new facility swing into action.

Since its opening at the end of January, the 10-bay Bootle Golf Course driving range has proven popular with local players and newcomers to the game. Last week 18,750 balls were sold and 36 under 16s took part in the recent half-term offer of a free bucket of balls.

Speaking at Monday’s event, the Mayor of Sefton, said:
“We proudly describe Sefton as the centre of England’s Golf Coast, and it is wonderful to see the Council continue to develop our sports offering and promote fit and healthy lifestyles.

“The new driving range will mean golfers, both new and experienced, in Sefton will be able to practise all year round.”

For many of the local pupils, Monday was an opportunity to try out the sport for the first time. There were smiles aplenty and air shots all round.

Cllr Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:
“As a Council, we have a firm commitment to investment in sports facilities for all of our residents.

“We are fortunate in our Borough to have a wide range of opportunities for golfers and now we hope the new driving range will provide many more people with a chance to try golf and take it up as a sport.

“A huge thank you to Green Sefton for their hard work in delivering and managing the fantastic new driving range facility.”

Sefton Council’s decision to build the new £420,000 floodlit driving range at Bootle Golf Course was backed by local people and course users during a consultation that took place in 2019.

Players can use its 10-bays to practise their swing between 8am and 9pm Sunday to Friday and from 8am to 7pm on Saturdays. Prices are just £6 for 100 balls or £4 for 50 and people can just turn up to the course shop, pay and play.

Adult prices to play a round at Bootle Golf Course start at just £9. Information about Sefton Council’s Bootle and Southport Links courses, including prices, can be found at

People can also contact the Bootle Golf course office on 0151 928 1371 to book tee times.

At their meeting on Thursday 10th March, Sefton Council’s Cabinet gave the go-ahead for the Council’s Green Sefton team to seek a commercial partner to invest in its Southport Golf Links course.

Improvements for the course itself and the on-site White House Café building are included in the plans.

At the time Cllr Moncur said an investment partnership would enable the Council to achieve its huge, long-term potential and deliver the kind of course on which local golfers have said they would like to play.

Person takes a swing at Bootle's new driving range Golf club and ball at the new driving range in Bootle

Council freezing Ainsdale and Southport beach car park season ticket costs for Sefton residents

Aindsdale Beach Car ParkSefton Council is continuing the price freeze on season tickets at its Ainsdale and Southport beach car parks for all Sefton residents.

Just £30

This means Sefton residents who are regular visitors to the coast, will pay just £30 for the annual tickets. And, as part of Sefton Council’s drive to combat climate change, the £30 offer is also available to any electric or hybrid car users.

A £2 reduction to the standard day visitor rate will mean parking on Southport beach will cost just £8 per day, while the daily cost at Ainsdale beach will remain at £10. Prices are halved after 4pm subject to available space and the cost for horseboxes or minibuses at both sites is £16 per day.

Beach parking re-opens at Ainsdale on Friday 1st April and at Southport from Tuesday 5th April, because of high tides.

Season tickets are now available to buy online at

Ainsdale, which has 2,000 spaces and Southport, which has 400, are among just a handful of on beach car parks across the UK. Unsurprisingly they are closed at some high tides and there may be limited in capacity at other times.


Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member Health and Wellbeing said: “I am pleased that we have been able to retain the £30 season ticket cost for Sefton residents and to also offer that price to people with less-polluting electric or hybrid cars.

“Income from our beach car parks will be used to improve facilities for visitors and reduce inconvenience for local residents along our coast, as well as to fund the vital conservation work of the Nature Reserve and preserve the natural beauty of our coastline for generations to come.”

Car parks provide essential funding support and contribute to the provision of Green Sefton services, including the delivery of a Coastal Visitor Action Plan to ensure Sefton’s coastline is safe for residents and visitors.

People queuing for ice creams on Ainsdale BeachAction Plan

The Coastal Visitor Action Plan for 2022 will include seven additional rangers on the ground and the launch of evening patrols along the coast.

Following extensive consultations, two areas of improvements recognised were to car parking and toilet facilities at Ainsdale-On-Sea.

The implementation of a new ‘off beach’ car park at Ainsdale Beach is set to be operational by the end of 2022, subject to final planning approval.

Toilet facilities at Ainsdale-On-Sea will be undergoing refurbishment work in March to prepare them for reopening from 1st April as the beach car park re-opens. The men’s, women’s and disabled people’s toilet facilities will be re-opened.

Beach car parking charges for 2022:

  • £8 per day for cars at Southport beach
  • £10 per day for cars at Ainsdale beach
  • £16 per day for horseboxes or minibuses
  • 50% off the above rates after 4pm subject to car parking management arrangements
  • £30 season ticket for Sefton residents and those who drive an electric or hybrid vehicle
  • £60 season ticket for non-Sefton residents

Find out about Sefton’s Nature Coast and countryside.

Sefton Council’s Public Engagement and Consultation Panel asked to consider plan for Southport’s historic Botanic Gardens

Next week’s meeting of Sefton Council’s Public Engagement and Consultation Panel will be asked to consider proposals for a consultation on the future development and improvement of Southport’s historic Botanic Gardens.

Long-term vision

If the report is approved, the Council’s Green Sefton service will be asking residents, regular park users, visitors, and the dedicated volunteer groups to steer the longer-term vision for the Botanic Gardens.

It is expected to ask people for their views on plans to restore many of the park’s Victorian buildings and help the Council to develop new attractions that would bring more visitors and generate income that would be earmarked for the park’s maintenance and management.


As well as offering better facilities for local communities, developing Botanic Gardens would generate a positive boost to the local visitor economy and support the creation of new jobs.

Improvements already underway include the ordering of two new floating fountains that will aerate the water in the lake, which are currently on their way to Southport from Italy, where they are made. Around £30,000 of short-term works, including the Botanic Gardens lakeside mural to be repainted by its original artist Robert Newbiggin are also progressing. Plans are also being drawn up to use recently raised funds to make further improvements.

Using the outcome of the planned consultation, Sefton Council intends developing a £5 million programme to improve Botanic Gardens supported by a Heritage Lottery Fund Bid.

Lottery Fund Bid

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said:
“Southport’s Botanic Gardens are incredibly popular and mean so much to so many people and carrying out this planned consultation would enable us to plan their future and together a Heritage Lottery Fund Bid that is in line with people wishes and views.”

Southport's Botanic Gardens lake
Southport’s Botanic Gardens lake


The £8,500 cost of the new aeration fountains is coming from fundraising efforts from the Make a Change for Ben group. The Group donated the sum to the Botanic Gardens Community Association, a long-standing voluntary group overseeing maintenance and activities at the park. Sefton Council is overseeing the installation.

In November, Sefton Council announced that artist Robert Newbiggin will be creating a replacement mural that will adorn the lakeside area of Southport’s Botanic Gardens. Robert painted the current mural was around 14 years ago. It has weathered in the elements over the years and now Robert has offered his time, at no cost, to replace the mural. The new design will depict Victorian scenes within the park, reminding people of the history of the site and its inclusion on the Historic Parks and Gardens Register.

Details of the Sefton Council Public Engagement and Consultation Panel, which talks place at 10am on Friday 11th March can be found here.

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