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BIPC Liverpool and British Library join forces to announce major new support lifeline for businesses across the Liverpool City Region

The Business & IP Centre Liverpool (based in Central Library) and the British Library have announced the roll out of several new local Business & IP Centres (BIPCs) across the Liverpool City Region.

Tuesday 21st September sees the official launch of more BIPCs in libraries in Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St.Helens and Wirral.

Anyone with a business idea or wanting to develop an existing business can now access a new range of specialist support services.

Following last year’s spending pledge of £13million in government funding towards a major expansion of the British Library’s Business & IP Centre network, many more local libraries are being equipped with dedicated workspaces, business resources and expert support for aspiring business owners. The expansion builds on the proven track record of support delivered by BIPC Liverpool.

Since being set up six years ago, BIPC Liverpool has helped over 3000 people start or grow a small business.

Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson says:  

“Liverpool’s Business & IP Centre is a brilliant success story and has provided a huge amount of support to countless individuals. The concept of providing help to anyone with a business idea, regardless of their background, is social value in action.

“What’s hugely encouraging is that over half of those who have benefited and set up a businesses are women and a third are from ethnic backgrounds – more than triple the national averages for business ownership in the UK.

“This is largely due to the accessibility and community-based ethos of library-based business support, so I’m delighted to see that the success of BIPC Liverpool will now be replicated across the City Region enabling many, many more people to benefit.”

The new BIPCs will be situated in Crosby, Huyton, Birkenhead, St. Helens and Allerton libraries. Each will be equipped with a core set of resources including a powerful range of free business databases, provided by the British Library. There will also be a programme of events, workshops and one-to-one advice sessions delivered in collaboration with local business leaders, professional advisors, successful entrepreneurs and community partners.

Liz Jolly, Chief Librarian at the British Library, says:

“At their heart, libraries are trusted spaces with professional staff who have a mission to connect people with information. Our BIPC Network harnesses the power of libraries, bringing in expertise from the local community to help people from all walks of life turn an idea into a successful business.

“We’re delighted to mark this next chapter in the Network’s journey, growing from 14 to over 100 new regional and local Centres across England. Our mission is to put business support in every library, whilst maintaining our commitment to ensuring IP workshops and events are also open to everyone online.”

Culture Minister, Caroline Dinenage, says:

“It’s brilliant that small businesses and entrepreneurs will now be able to access invaluable support and resources across the Liverpool City Region.”

Details of individual library opening times and range of BIPC services can be found at 

To find out how InvestSefton, Sefton Council’s business growth team, can help your business contact 0151 934 3452 or email or visit

Robotics firm takes last unit at Northwood’s Mersey Reach as work starts on phase 2

A Merseyside firm pioneering the use of industrial robots has become the latest occupier to sign up for the award-winning Mersey Reach development in Aintree.

CNC Robotics industrial unit at Mersey Reach
CNC Robotics industrial unit at Mersey Reach

CNC Robotics is to establish an advanced manufacturing facility in the last remaining unit in phase one. The fast-growing company, which provides robots for a wide range of machining applications, currently occupies two units at nearby Sefton Business Park. The new 12,133 sq ft unit will enable it to bring together its operations on a single site and provide space for further growth. B8 Real Estate and JLL acted as joint agents on the letting on behalf of the investor, Northwood Urban Logistics.

Mersey Reach was named as Development of the Year at Insider’s recent Liverpool City Region Property Dinner. Phase one consists of four units totalled 112,500 sq ft, with other occupiers being precision blade manufacturer Hardy UK, Selco Builders Warehouse and Skinny Drinks, which occupied CNC Robotics’ unit for eight months before moving to a larger unit on the site.

Arial image of whole Mersey Reach site
Arial image of whole Mersey Reach site

Work has already started on phase two which will consist of 12 units totalling 102,000 sq ft. Units will range in size from 4,000 to 30,000 sq ft, with completion due in early 2022.

Thomas Marriott from B8 Real Estate’s lettings team said:

“Mersey Reach is one of the most high-profile developments of its type in the area. The unit attracted interest from a number of parties and was let within a week, demonstrating the level of demand for high-spec industrial and logistics space. We are already dealing with enquiries about phase two, which we expect will also attract strong interest.”

Iain Taylor, Director at Northwood Urban Logistics, said:

“We are very pleased to welcome CNC Robotics to Mersey Reach and enable them to expand their advanced manufacturing business in Aintree. There is a significant lack of good quality industrial premises within the region. Mersey Reach offers a fantastic solution for growing occupiers with features such as 8m-10m clear internal height, fitted offices, good sized yards and electric car charging points.”

Situated on a 13.5-acre site off Dunnings Bridge Road, Mersey Reach was developed with support from Sefton Council’s business growth team, InvestSefton, and is expected to create up to 350 jobs when complete.

Stuart Barnes, Sefton Council’s Head of Economic Growth & Housing, said:

“The Mersey Reach development is enabling fast-growing Sefton-based companies like CNC Robotics to continue to operate from our borough, not only improving productivity in the advanced manufacturing industry but bringing new jobs for local communities.

“Having the infrastructure to accommodate the needs of expanding businesses is what makes Sefton the ideal place for them to flourish and offers a real sense of confidence about the future of business here as we focus on recovery post-pandemic. I have no doubt that the next phase of the Mersey Reach development will bring a wealth of training and employment opportunities to our residents.”

Sefton’s response to Peel Ports – 10/09/2021

Sefton Council has reaffirmed its unwavering support for the Friends of Rimrose Valley group and the wider community after campaigners were sent a misleading letter from the Peel Ports Group.

Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Locality Services, says the open letter fails to understand or appreciate the experiences and concerns of the local community, who will be detrimentally affected by a planned dual carriageway cutting through Rimrose Valley Park.

The letter also cites out of date statistics and data which is no longer relevant to the issues that would arise as a result of the road’s creation.

While there is some common ground to be found within the letter, issued by Peel Ports’ Chief Executive, Cllr Fairclough lamented what he describes as a lack of sympathy to the community.

Cllr Fairclough said: “For years we have repeatedly said we want to work with all parties, from our communities to our businesses, to find a workable, safe and environmentally sound solution to an increased demand on the port.

“Not only will National Highway’s plans deprive us of a much loved urban green space, it will also, by their own admission, have a negative impact on significant HGV vehicle pollution which goes against the Government’s own agenda to improve air quality.

“The letter I have read today from Peel’s Chief Executive is equally misleading and misguided and I would like to set the record straight on a number of points.

“While we wholeheartedly agree that ‘getting freight off road’ should be a key strategic aim for Peel’s business, it should not be remedied by building a new road that moves this issue from one area to another.

“Getting freight ‘off road’ is vital for communities who have long been affected by the operations associated with the port. The long standing real world lived experiences of local residents, of which some of our elected members are, does not align with the ‘benefits’ laid out in this letter.

“Social and environmental issues continue for our communities, not just from port-related traffic but from the underlying operations of the port itself, and economic benefits have been limited in terms of the quality and quantity of employment opportunity generated for local people by the port. And also we have the potential designation of Freeport status, the implications of which are unspecified at present, but will need to be taken into account too.

“This should not be a trade-off of one versus another – solutions are required that deliver positive economic, social and environmental outcomes.

“I note that in his letter, Chief Executive Mark Whitworth refers to detailed studies suggesting that only 10-15% of the traffic assessed is connected with port operations.

“While we have always challenged this historic statistic, which was taken from several years prior, it is particularly important that we take a fresh look at new and up to-date data.

“The world of work has changed significantly since then, not least in the context of the pandemic. These changes, as well as increased growth in the port’s traffic volume, have greatly affected traffic flows in the area and a fresh study is needed.

“It is also important to understand the greater impact of HGVs, compared to other vehicles, on local air quality.

“We have always shared the belief of our communities that National Highways should explore and identify alternative technologies and solutions that would be far less detrimental to the health and wellbeing of our residents.

“This letter does nothing to change our minds.”


Sefton businesses supported with £97.7 million in grant payments throughout pandemic

Sefton Council has supported its local businesses throughout the pandemic making 23,000 grant payments, totalling £97.7 million, through local, regional and national financial support schemes.

Rate paying businesses have also been helped through business rates discounts saving them £41.8 million during 2020/21, with a further £22.5 million in discounts awarded to eligible businesses for this financial year.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said:

The past year and a half has been incredibly challenging for every single businesses owner here in our Borough. Hundreds of businesses were forced to close at various stages throughout the lockdowns and many will still be facing uncertainty about their future as we focus on the economic recovery now needed.

“The mammoth efforts of our Council officers have resulted in an incredible number of payments being issued to our businesses, offering a lifeline when they needed it the most.

“We recognise the key contribution these businesses make to the Sefton economy and we’ve been proud to support them through this time. Our businesses have been patient with us – as we’ve had to follow stringent processes and checks when administering these financial support packages – showing incredible resilience during these unprecedented times.”

The Council’s InvestSefton and Business Rates teams would normally have been delivering business growth and inward investment support while administering and collecting business rates. Instead the focus has been on supporting businesses financially, ensuring they could access important grant payments and other means of support as the health crisis continued.

Colleagues from different departments such as Tourism, Corporate Resources, Housing, Planning, Sefton@Work, Early Years and Adult Care have supported this vital stream of work to ensure that grants were issued to all eligible businesses.

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, said:

 “We’ve also helped businesses with practical support, issuing them with PPE, providing vital infrastructure for Covid-19 testing and our Environmental Health colleagues have supported the re-opening of the retail, hospitality and personal care sectors.

“We will continue to do all we can to ensure businesses get through this period, thriving and ready for the next challenge that they may face.”

A snapshot of statistics of the support offered to businesses since the pandemic began
A snapshot of statistics of the support offered to businesses since the pandemic began

Sefton Council has put together a snapshot of the support offered to businesses since the pandemic began:

  • The Business Rates team has received 27,000 requests for assistance compared to around 4,000 that would usually be received annually;
  • InvestSefton has dealt with more than 4,000 enquiries from manufacturers to cafes and all sorts of businesses in between;
  • To date, the Council has administered 23,000 grant payments through local, regional and national financial support packages and schemes;
  • That totals £97.7 million in payments to businesses right across the Borough – from taxi drivers to childminders to pub landlords – with the total expected to increase further as the remaining schemes and payments are administered;
  • A total of £41.8 million in business rates retail discounts were awarded in 2020/21 with a further £22.5 million awarded in 2021/22;
  • The Council has expanded its connections across the Borough, and after key Government updates it has regularly contacted over 2,600 businesses with the latest updates relevant to them;
  • The InvestSefton website has had 40,000 visitors looking for help and support since March 2020 and similarly the dedicated Business Support page of the Sefton Council website has had 15,000 site visits from local businesses seeking support.

Stuart Barnes, Sefton Council’s Head of Economic Growth & Housing, said:

We know that as these financial support schemes draw to a close, the scale of the economic recovery will become clearer. We’ll be here to help all Sefton businesses in whatever way we can to ensure that they continue to succeed.

“Our InvestSefton advisors are only a phone call, email, video call or coffee away and our Business Rates team are available to support our rate paying businesses Borough-wide. There’s no question they haven’t heard and are very much looking forward to better days ahead, where they’ll be right there beside our businesses on the road to recovery and beyond.”

To find out how InvestSefton can help your business contact 0151 934 3452 or email or visit

Details of business rates support can be found on the Council’s website at

Tens of thousands enjoy brand new Southport Market in just 48 hours

More than ten thousand excited and hungry customers passed through the doors of the brand new Southport Market in its first 48 hours of opening.

After much excitement, Sefton Council opened the doors of the refurbished £1.4m Southport Market on Thursday, July 22 and immediately traders were made to handle the heat of what is the North West’s latest place to be for good food and drink.

In fact nearly 15,000 tasty treats, from wood fired pizzas to mouth watering bubble waffles, were served up to customers in the first 48 hours of the market’s launch, as thousands descended on the resort’s market quarter for a taste of the action.

Gavin Williams and James Kennedy, co-owners of Allotment; one of the ten stunning food stalls in the new look market, said they were delighted to be firing up the grills and serving up a selection of burgers, hot dogs and loaded fries meals.

Gavin said: “The council have been phenomenal and the market is already buzzing! I am sure this is the start of something amazing for Southport.

“We chose to be a part of the market after walking into the building for the first time and became instantly struck by how spectacular it looks.

“It is a real eye catching site and we know it will draw in so many people to the town.”

James added: “The investment that has been put into the market is fantastic and it is something that is completely different and we are very excited to be a part of it.”

Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “It’s no surprise that already we are seeing tens of thousands of people visiting Southport Market in its first few days of opening.

“Across the region word is spreading quickly about the market and we cannot thank our incredible traders, bar team and council staff enough for all the hard work that has been put into making this a reality.

“We look forward to welcoming even more people through our doors this coming weekend!”

Southport Market’s opening hours:

Mon and Tue closed
Wed 10-10
Thursday 10-10
Friday 10-11
Sat 10-11
Sunday 10-8

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