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Hundreds attend Southport BID investment meeting

Over 100 local businesses, regional property agents, investors, and other stakeholders with an interest in taking Southport forward were brought together last week by Southport BID.

Southport has been hit hard, not helped by recent announcements of further store closures, and the town will take time to recover. However, the event was designed to focus on the positives, the investment that’s already happened, and the millions of pounds that could potentially come to the town from funding applications already in the pipeline and from private sector investors.

Speakers at the event included the Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, and members of his investment team; Sarah Kemp, Executive Director, Sefton Council; Caroline Baker from property specialists Cushman Wakefield; Dr Steve Millington from The BID Foundation; and Agsteribbe from Bliss Investments.

Rob Uffendell, Chair of the BID, says:

“It’s clear that Southport, our town, is experiencing the same sort of issues that are facing many other towns and cities across the country. So, we’re not alone in having to face up to some really significant challenges.

“Our speakers consistently highlighted the big advantages that helps set us apart from our competitors. Our reputation as a significant coastal destination is increasing year on year (as demonstrated by the annual rise in visitor numbers). We have some unique assets in our town.

“We’ve already seen a lot of investment in our town. And we have dedicated partners from both the private and public sector who are determined to get things done.

“There is evidence from around the UK that those areas with BIDs in place are more successful in attracting external funding because it demonstrates a strong partnership between the private and public sectors and a willingness to work together”.

Delegates raised the issue of parking and the need for more flexibility in setting tariffs. Improving east – west transport links and doing more to increase residential living in the town centre were also highlighted.

Rob Uffendell continued: “Southport was described as a speciality town with plenty of opportunities for development.

“Attracting investment is hard work as was made clear by our speakers. All of them were clear on one thing: there are huge opportunities for this town but to get it right we need to demonstrate confidence and pride in what we have.

“That said, many of the solutions raised at the event have been talked about for years. If we’re going to take this town forward and make things happen, it’s time for action and not words”.

Baroness Newlove to visit Sefton school for anti-gang initiative

A scheme which sees schoolchildren across Sefton receive vital advice and tips on staying safe from gangs and crime is being honoured by the government’s Victim’s Commissioner.

Baroness Helen Newlove will visit St Oswald’s Primary in Netherton later this month to observe the successful partnership between Sefton Council and the Get Away ‘N’ Get Safe (GANGS) initiative.

GANGS course leader James Riley, a former probation officer, works closely with Sefton Council’s Localities teams to deliver an intensive educational, preventative and diversionary programme to schools across the borough to warn young people on the dangers of gang lifestyle.

The work by GANGS and Sefton Council has now been recognised on a national level, with Baroness Newlove observing a session at St Oswald’s on January 25 as an example of best practice.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “Through our Sefton Safer Communities Partnership we identified that there was a need for a project that could be implemented at an early stage to deter children from making bad life decisions.

“The impact that James’ sessions have had is incredible and we are always receiving feedback from schools and parents commending the work that GANGS have done

“We look forward to showing Baroness Newlove the incredible work we have done in our communities.”

James Riley, founder of GANGS, added: “The partnership between GetAwayNGetSafe and Sefton has developed incredibly well over the last few years.

“We want to use GANGS to inspire young children at an early age to make positive decisions about their lifestyles in the future.

“Through our early intervention work and by changing attitudes and behaviour, we will continue to make Sefton a safe and secure borough for all.”

Emma Murtagh, Head Teacher of St Oswald’s, said: “James has worked with a number of our pupils over the years and the partnership has been invaluable.

“The workshops are informative and provide an insight into the dangers of being in a gang, as well as how the law works.

“I hope that this work will continue to keep our younger generations from harm.”

For more information about the GANGS initiative please visit www.getaway-n-getsafe.co.uk/

Cinderella must go to the Hall! Tickets now on sale for Bootle panto

Tickets are now on sale for the annual Waterloo and Crosby Theatre company’s pantomime production at Bootle Town Hall

The theatre group will perform the classic Cinderella, as written by Roy Hartley and directed by Julie Cook, at the Town Hall on Oriel Road between Friday December 7 and Sunday December 16.

Adult tickets are priced at £10 while concessionary tickets  (children, OAPs and students) are on sale for £8.

Group rates and family tickets (two adults and two children) are also available for £30.

Bootle Town Hall is fully wheelchair accessible and parking outside the Town Hall is available but limited.

For those travelling via public transport Bootle Oriel Road train station is a short one minute walk from Bootle Town Hall.

Performance times are as follows:

Friday December 7 (7.30pm)
Saturday December 8 (2pm)
Sunday December 9 (2pm)

Friday December 14 (7.30pm)
Saturday December 15 (2pm)
Sunday December 16 (2pm)

To book tickets visit www.theatreaco.org.uk or call 07490134581.

Sefton warns prospective tenants of rental property scam

Sefton Council is warning tenants in the borough to be vigilant after a renting scam was uncovered in Southport.

The local authority’s Trading Standard’s team are investigating after a rental property in the town was advertised on a popular classified advert website, in a bid to lure potential tenants into paying deposits overseas.

While the property was legitimately on the market via a local letting agent, it was also fraudulently placed online at a significantly reduced rental.

When a prospective renter made an enquiry to the online advert, they were told ‘the owner’ had emigrated overseas and they would be required to pay a large deposit before they could access the property.

It was then that the alarm was raised and Trading Standards began their investigations. 

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulation and Compliance, said: “As soon as we were made aware of this scam we have requested that the fraudulent listing be taken down and we are investigating the matter further.

“In this instance the person who was being scammed raised the alarm in plenty of time and thankfully did not part with any cash, but others may not be so lucky.

“If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is and we would encourage everyone to be vigilant.

“Trading Standards regularly receive complaints about scams across the borough, ranging from rogue traders and doorstep salesmen to phone calls and letters designed to trick people into providing bank details.

“If you suspect any kind of fraudulent activity please report it on the Action Fraud hotline via 0300 123 2040 or by calling the Citizens Advice Bureau on 03454 04 05 06.

For more information on tackling fraud and spotting the signs, visit www.sefton.gov.uk/fraud.

Next phase of Southport Pier improvement works set to begin

The next phase of multi-million pound improvement works on Southport Pier is set to start in October.
Phases one and two of the Pier project are now complete which includes extensive structural repairs and painting – all completed ahead of programme and below budget.

More than 800 individual repairs have been completed by a specialist contractor and the work has also seen the construction of a new kiosk on the Pier incorporating seating and improving the overall offer of the Grade 2 listed building.

The third phase will begin on October 1 and will see the construction of a second retail kiosk, essential power upgrades, a refurbished pavilion and timber decking repairs.

The work is scheduled to run until the Christmas period and during this time the seaward pier and pavilion will be closed to the public from the halfway house to the pavilion. The landward section will remain open to the public, including the recently completed kiosk.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “This important improvement work on Southport Pier is really starting to take shape.

“The first two phases went really well coming in under budget and ahead of schedule so we are delighted the next phase will start in October.

“While not all of the Pier will be open during the next phase, we believe it is a small price to pay for what will be crucial to this important scheme.

“Hundreds of thousands of people visit Southport Pier every year boosting the local economy and this whole scheme will secure an important landmark for generations to come.”

The final phase of works planned in 2019 will see improved access and restoration of the Marine Lake railings.

The £2.9 million project is funded via The Coastal Community Fund and Sefton Council.

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