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£3 million to improve journeys and safety at Switch Island

A total of £3 million is being invested to improve journeys and safety at one of the North West’s busiest motorway junctions.

Highways England has announced plans for major improvements to Switch Island in Merseyside, where the M57, M58 and 3 A roads all join together.

The scheme is being funded by the government’s £220 million congestion relief programme, which was announced by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling last month.

Construction work at the junction, which is used by over 90,000 vehicles every day, is expected to start next year.

The scheme is designed to improve the flow of traffic and enhance safety, following 49 collisions at the junction in the past 2 years.

New traffic lights will be installed at a height of over 5 metres – higher than HGVs and double-decker buses – so that drivers approaching the junction can clearly see when the lights are changing.

Other improvements will include changes to the road layout and lane markings, new barriers between carriageways, coloured high friction surfaces and better signs.

Bruce Parker, Asset Development Manager at Highways England, said:

“We’re delighted we’ve been able to secure funding from the government for this scheme, and can now carry out the detailed design and planning work before construction starts next year.

“The improvements we’re making at Switch Island will improve journeys and safety at the junction, benefitting the tens of thousands of drivers who travel through it every day.”

Jerry McConkey, Transportation and Highway Infrastructure Service Manager at Sefton Council, said:

“We’ve been working with Highways England and Merseyside Police over the last 12 months to investigate the issues at Switch Island and to develop these improvement proposals.

“It is great news that Highways England has secured this funding and we will continue working with them to improve the junction and make it safer for everyone using it.”

Tony Jones, Chief Inspector of Roads Policing at Merseyside Police, said:

“We welcome any improvements to the road infrastructure which assists drivers and makes the network safer for drivers and pedestrians.”

Four congestion relief schemes, worth £6.4 million, have already been announced in the North West, with a further £21 million set aside for other schemes in the region, including the Switch Island upgrade.

The four schemes will see improvements made to two junctions where the A595 meets the A66 in Cumbria, at Norcross roundabout on the A585 near Thornton-Cleveleys in Lancashire, and at junction 3 of the M55 near Kirkham in Lancashire.

Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital

Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, Thomas Drive, Liverpool L14 3PE

 Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital is holding a free public health information event on Cardiac Devices. 

Consultant Cardiologist Dr Jay Wright will give an easy to understand presentation on a range of cardiac devices including pacemakers, ICD and CRT defibrillators.

Find out more about:

  • Which patients need a pacemaker, ICD or CRT defibrillator device?
  • What do devices look and feel like?
  • How to live with a device.

There will also be an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the session.

Everyone is welcome including patients, families, carers, students and colleagues.

Our Election Information Open Evening is also taking place at 5.30 – 6.30pm before Cardiac Devices for anyone interested in becoming a Public Governor at LHCH for our Merseyside, Cheshire or North Wales constituencies.

To book your place at either of these events or for further information, please contact the LHCH Membership Office by emailing membership.office@lhch.nhs.uk or call 0151 600 1410, visit www.lhch.nhs.uk or follow us on Twitter @LHCHFT 

Our next events are:

  • Saturday 6 May, 10am-1pm, LHCH:  Annual Open Day
  • Wednesday 24 May, 7pm, Ramada Plaza Wrexham:  Diabetes

Cash Boost for Southport Pier

The Pier in Southport is set to benefit from a significant cash boost to make improvements to the popular tourist attraction. 

Sefton Council has secured an additional £2 million, thanks to an award from the coastal community fund, to carry out important repairs and maintenance on the oldest cast iron pier in the country. 

Planned works will include extensive structural repairs, improvements to the end pavilion, the creation of new retail units, easier access to the beach, and improvements to the railings on Marine Lake.  

The overall project will deliver over £2.9 million worth of improvements creating additional jobs, increasing visitor numbers and securing Southport Pier as a valued asset for many years to come.  

Phil Cresswell, Head of Regeneration and Housing, said: ‘We are delighted to have received this funding from the coastal community fund. The grant will allow us to deliver significant improvements with added features and attractions, along with better accessibility for more people to enjoy the Pier.  

“All of this will be supported by a comprehensive visitor welcome package that allows us to showcase the Pier as a main focal point of Southport.” 

The coastal community fund, managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, is designed to support economic development of coastal communities by promoting sustainable economic growth and jobs. Southport is one of 33 projects in England to receive funding at this stage. 

The Pier project is included as part of the Southport Development Framework, receiving this grant enables us to make a start and attract further inward investment, this shows that Sefton is open for business with a continued focus on growing the visitor economy.

Care at the Chemist scheme to continue

Health commissioners in Sefton have confirmed that following a recent review the Care at the Chemist scheme, available via community pharmacies, will continue from the 1st April 2017 although it will be available from fewer pharmacies. 

Pharmacists ordinarily and routinely provide health advice to their customers regardless of Care at the Chemist but the scheme additionally ensures residents have access to a range of medicines for minor illnesses for which they might otherwise consider a trip to the doctor.     

Medicines that are supplied to a patient as a result of their Care at the Chemist consultation are free for those who do not already pay for their prescriptions. All items available on the scheme are also available to buy over the counter.

NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, like many other CCGs, are required to make savings where possible but are keen to keep this valuable service where they can to help those residents who need it.

Following reviews of current services the CCGs have informed pharmacies that the consultation fee for the scheme will be reduced for 2017-18 which has led to a number of pharmacies choosing to no longer provide the additional  service. There will however be 14 pharmacies across Sefton who will continue to offer the service.

The range of medicines currently available is also being reviewed in order to make the scheme more efficient.

Dr Rob Caudwell, local GP and chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “In this challenging financial climate we are having to make savings on many of our services but we do understand how valuable Care at the Chemist is, particularly for the borough’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. We are therefore pleased to be able to support the pharmacies who voluntarily wish to offer this service to patients.”

Dr Andrew Mimnagh, local GP and chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “We are still reminding people to use their pharmacy for health advice for minor illnesses. Whether it is through the Care at the Chemist scheme or not, pharmacists can offer you advice on a wide range of minor health conditions and offer medication to assist.” 

 

A full list of pharmacies offering Care at the Chemist as of 1st April 2017 can be found on each CCG web page below:

www.southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk/your-health-and-services/care-at-the-chemist
www.southseftonccg.nhs.uk/your-health-and-services/care-at-the-chemist

Formby Point Update

Comments in relation to the potential land transfer of land in Formby from Sefton Council and the National Trust have been received.

Earlier this month, Sefton Council published a formal notice considering the disposal of land to the northern and southern side of Lifeboat Road (Formby Point).

The closing date for comments was March 22 with most correspondence in support of the scheme. This included a petition with 69 names on it in full support of the potential land transfer.

Positive conversations have taken place and will continue regarding the transfer of land at Lifeboat Road and Ravenmeols from Sefton’s ownership to The National Trust.

If agreed, it would see more than 204 hectares become part of the National Trust Formby portfolio which is home to one of the very best mobile sand dune habitats in the entire UK.

The comments made will now form part of a report going to Cabinet in May which will look at the possibility of transferring the land to the National Trust.

Sarah Kemp, Executive Director at Sefton Council, said: “So far the feedback over the potential transfer of land in Formby to the National Trust has been very supportive.

“We strongly believe this potential land transfer will enable the National Trust to make a significant contribution to the outcomes of the Sefton 2030 Vision. It will also enable a positive impact in terms of managing the broader landscape for the benefit of people, the local economy, natural wildlife and the environment.

“Further discussions will take place with National Trust with the view of transferring the land to them to develop a richer visitor experience with local communities and secure the future of this extraordinary coastline. This will be reported back in May.”

The dunes themselves are home to rare wildlife including sand lizards, Northern Dune Tiger Beetles and the rare Natterjack toad. The pine woodlands that fringe the coast provide a wonderful habitat to rare and much loved red squirrels. 

The significance of the land at Lifeboat Road recreation area and Ravenmeols has been recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection Area.

Rebecca Burton, National Trust Assistant Director of Operations, said: “We are really encouraged by the feedback received to the potential land transfer and the petition in its support. We appreciate just how important the Formby Coast is to the people who love it and use it and for the rare wildlife that makes its home here.

“As we head towards the milestone 50th anniversary of our care for land at Victoria Road on 12 April, our aim is to continue to ensure that this special place can to be used and enjoyed by future generations. We want to continue caring for and protecting this special piece of coastline, working closely with our neighbours, key stakeholders and partners.

“We are excited about the future opportunity the land transfer would offer to invest in things that local people and users have told us they would like. These include better visitor facilities and access, working alongside local people to shape our plans.”

The potential land transfer coincides with 2017 being the Year of Sefton’s Coast and also the 50 year anniversary of the National Trust in Formby.

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