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Botanic Gardens lakeside mural to be repainted by its original artist Robert Newbiggin

Artist Robert Newbiggin has been given the green light from Sefton Council to create a replacement mural that will adorn the lakeside area of Southport’s Botanic Gardens.

The current mural was painted by Robert around 14 years ago and local students have added to it as part of their studies. 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.

Pastel sketch of the proposed mural background. Victorian figures enjoying the scene will be included in the final design.
Pastel sketch of the proposed mural background. Victorian figures enjoying the scene will be included in the final design.

The initial concept and design have been signed-off by both Sefton Council and the Botanic Gardens Community Association (BGCA).

Robert will now begin the painting process in his studio across a series of boards, that once finished, will be put into position in the park. It is hoped that the project will be completed by spring 2022.  

The Council’s Green Sefton Service works in partnership with the dedicated volunteers of the BGCA to maintain the popular park. The materials required for the mural will be funded by the Association.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“I’m so pleased that we’re seeing another of the phased improvements planned for the Botanic Gardens lakeside area coming to fruition. The park has such a rich heritage and the new mural design will really showcase this to both visitors and park users.

“I’d like to thank Rob for offering his time at no cost to undertake the painting in his studio and to the volunteers of the Botanic Gardens Community Association for their contribution for the mural materials.

“I know that the community is very excited about the mural, as well as the wider park improvements, and can’t wait to see it take pride of place by the lake next year, which by that point will be fitted with new aerating fountains too.” 

Robert grew up in Southport and spent a huge part of his teenage years drawing and painting – often in the Botanic Gardens studying and sketching the flora and fauna. His career as a self-taught artist has taken him around the globe, but closer to home people may know him for his Southport town centre mural of Captain Sir Tom Moore that he painted last year.

Robert Newbiggin, said:

“I’m excited to start as I have the boards now, and the fact I’m the artist I am today will make all the difference.”

David Cobham, Botanic Gardens Community Association (BGCA), said:

“The Botanic Gardens Community Association volunteers have kept the existing mural going for the past few years with a new surround. But, time marches on and we are delighted that Rob has offered to carry out the artwork for free to add to his magnificent portfolio.

“The new mural will be far longer lasting, and we are equally delighted to fund the first-class infrastructure materials.”

The new and improved mural installation works follows last month’s news that two aeration fountains have been ordered as part of the first phase of lakeside improvements at the park.

The costs of the fountains have been met by recent fundraising efforts from the Make a Change for Ben group who have donated their funds raised to the BGCA for improvement projects and on-going maintenance within the park.

A longer-term vision to source a multi-million-pound investment for the park remains at the early stages of development. Next steps will include launching a public consultation in 2022.

Anyone interested in helping to shape the developing project, or would like to volunteer in the Botanic Gardens, can contact the Botanic Gardens Community Association at https://botanicgardensca.org.uk/

Sefton businesses urged to sign up for The Good Business Festival event at Southport Market

A new event from The Good Business Festival, Family Fortunes, Southport Market 5pm on Tuesday 7th December 2021, sign up for free now
A new event from The Good Business Festival, Family Fortunes, Southport Market 5pm on Tuesday 7th December 2021, sign up for free now

Businesses across Sefton are invited to attend next month’s free The Good Business Festival event at Southport Market, in partnership with InvestSefton.

‘Family Fortunes’ takes place on Tuesday 7th December from 5pm. It will offer an insight into family-run businesses and explore how the business dynamic of working alongside those related to you may help, or occasionally hinder, growth and progression.

According to the Institute for Family Business, 87.6% of businesses in the UK are family businesses. They employ more than 14 million people nationwide and make up more than 50% of the private sector workforce.

All businesses based in Sefton, regardless of whether they are family-run or not, are welcome to attend the evening event. It will feature contributions from local entrepreneurs, leaders and family business owners. This will be followed by entertainment from Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell and then networking opportunities and refreshments.

Southport Market will host the event, taking place on Tuesday 7th December from 5pm. Interested businesses can sign up for the event by visiting the Eventbrite website: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-good-business-festival-presents-family-fortunes-at-southport-market-tickets-206647928517  

The event will run as follows:

  • 5pm to 5.15pm – registration
  • 15pm to 5.25pm – welcome and introductions
  • 25pmto 6.15pm – panel discussion
  • 15pm to 6.35pm – Q&A
  • 35pm to 6.50pm – comedy entertainment (act to be announced)
  • 50pm to 8pm – refreshments and networking

Contributors include:

  • Karen Potter – Managing Director, Karen Potter Ltd
  • Norman Wallis – Owner, Southport Pleasureland
  • Peter Salt – Director, Immersive Interactive Ltd
  • James Maddocks – Co-Director, Radwraps Ltd
  • Mark Catherall – Head of Tourism, Sefton Council

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

“After an incredibly challenging year for our Sefton businesses, it’s so great to see events like The Good Business Festival reinvigorating and reshaping the way we do business in a really positive way.

“Holding the event here in Southport, where we’re just finalising our plans for the £37.5 million Town Deal transformation, sends a clear sign that Sefton is very much open for business.

“’Family Fortunes’ really is an outstanding opportunity for local businesses to come together to meet fellow entrepreneurs and industry experts, alongside our InvestSefton advisors who can support them with their future growth and expansion.”

Wayne Hemingway, Creative Director of The Good Business Festival, said:

“For us, being a family business means operating with a non-hierarchical structure and approach that prioritises quality of output over process. We are no doubt informal, if not unusual, in our setup. It means grandchildren are regularly in the office and family dogs barking at the post arriving interrupt meetings, but it makes, we hope, for a fun and lively working environment.”

InvestSefton leads on and supports economic growth in the Borough and is the Council’s enterprise, business support and inward investment service. To find out how InvestSefton can help your business contact 0151 934 3452, email investsefton@sefton.gov.uk or visit www.investsefton.com

Commissioned by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, The Good Business Festival, was postponed earlier this year due to Covid-19 restrictions but smaller events have been taking place across the Liverpool City Region throughout the autumn.

For more information about The Good Business Festival visit https://thegoodbusinessfestival.com/

Cllrs told to expect ‘surprising’ results of Southport Cycle Lane consultation

The results of the recent Southport Active Travel Cycle Lane consultation will be presented to the November 9th Overview and Scrutiny committee (O&S), fulfilling the promises Sefton Council has continually made to ward councillors.

This decision preceded a formal request which has been made by five ward councillors to call an Extraordinary General Meeting of the council to discuss the same report.

At a meeting of full council in July, Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Locality Services, guaranteed that an Overview and Scrutiny committee made up of cross-party councillors will be able to take a detailed look into the results of the much publicised consultation.

Ahead of the meeting Cllr Fairclough warned committee members may be very surprised at the picture painted by the feedback of residents and campaigners.

Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Locality Services said: “As promised we will make the full results of this consultation public and subject it to cross-party scrutiny to ensure complete fairness and transparency.

“Those who take a look at the reports findings will see some unusual outcomes including multiple, and in one case 19, submissions from a single IP address and people responding to every single question with ‘strongly disagree’.

“I can understand there are people who do not agree with our proposals and there has been some high-profile opposition expressed.

“However, I have never known people to be so adamantly against plans to introduce crossing points that would improve road safety for pedestrians.

“My concern is that the genuine views of the people of Southport might have been hijacked in a coordinated response by people who don’t want to see these walking and cycling schemes go ahead and I look forward to hearing the views of the Overview & Scrutiny Panel.”

Common concerns expressed included the loss of street on-street parking for some residents and its possible impact on local businesses, the effect on journey times for Birkdale residents and the people driving to rugby tournaments and school events having to park further away.

Cllr Fairclough added: “As the report says, the Council put a lot of effort into encouraging people to take part in the consultation but it seems to have been mainly people who fit a certain profile who have responded in large numbers so we need to look at how we can try to get broader responses in the future.

“And, given the multiple submissions identified, we are going to need to build in ways of detecting this into future consultations, to ensure the outcomes are truly representative of a community’s views.”

A full report of the consultation’s feedback and comments will be publicly published on November 1st before being presented to an Overview & Scrutiny Committee on November 9th for a comprehensive analysis and consideration.

In order to ensure maximum transparency, Sefton Council’s Overview & Scrutiny committees are responsible for scrutinising a whole range of local authority functions and responsibilities and the impact those works may have on the local community.

/Ends

Sefton revamps cycling & green travel infrastructure in Southport

Work has now begun to repair and refurbish cycling and green transport provisions in Southport Town Centre.

Hundreds of thousands of cycle journeys have been made on the town centre cycle scheme, which was introduced in the town as part of Central Government’s mandated Emergency Active Travel Scheme.

Now Sefton Council’s Active Travel team have commissioned contractors to begin works to refurbish road markings, signage and replace vandalised traffic bollards along both Hoghton Street and Queen’s Road.

These works will ultimately improve the facilities available to cyclists and other road users

Refurbishment works include:

  • Amended and retouched road markings
  • Changes to cycle lane width where space permits
  • Enhanced junction marking
  • Installation of permanent separation wands
  • Implementation of additional signage

Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Locality Services, said: “We are all too aware that Sefton, like many other councils, were told by the Government to quickly implement strict active travel schemes.

“Owing to the timescales set to us by Central Government, there was relatively little time to develop the Hoghton Street project fully and this was further compounded by a national shortage of materials available to our contractors.

“Now following a detailed series of independent reviews, we have identified and implemented a series of modifications which we feel are necessary to ensure this scheme is as effective as possible.

“Once these modifications have been implemented, we remain fully committed to reviewing the scheme after six months

“Neither the Department for Transport nor the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority have provided definite criteria on which to judge the successes of such a scheme.

“As such our teams will use detailed and publicly available cycle usage data, along with further survey work, to inform future decisions over whether this scheme becomes permanent, modified further or is ultimately removed.”

For more information about Active Travel schemes and provision across Sefton, visit www.sefton.gov.uk/parking-roads-travel/transport-policy/your-streets-your-say/

 

The Mersey Beatles bring number one hit-packed show to Southport

All 17 of The Beatles sensational UK Number One hits will be delivered in an all-new live show by the world’s favourite Liverpool-born tribute to the Fab Four.

The Mersey Beatles have played to sold-out audiences around the globe for more than 20 years and they are bringing their unmissable theatre show to The Atkinson, Southport, on Saturday September 4.

This will be one of the first full-capacity shows at the historic coastal venue since the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

And to celebrate the return of live music – and, of course, the hits of the greatest band of all time – The Mersey Beatles will play every Beatles’ chart-topping single in this magnificent two-hour show alongside more than 20 other classic songs.

So, get your dancing shoes ready as such smash-hits as From Me To You, She Loves You, I Want To Hold Your Hand to Lady Madonna, Get Back and Hey Jude will all be delivered in a truly authentic way.

Formed in Liverpool in 1999, The Mersey Beatles – Mark Bloor (John), Steven Howard (Paul), Craig McGown (George) and Brian Ambrose (Ringo), together with keyboard player and percussionist Tony Cook – were the resident Beatles’ band at the legendary Cavern Club between 2002-2012 – clocking up more than 600 gigs.

Since leaving The Cavern, The Mersey Beatles have toured the world many times over – winning legions of fans, including John Lennon’s sister Julia Baird and The British BeatlesThe Mersey Beatles tour image Fan Club who rate them as “The best Beatles tribute band around”.

They exude the inner and outer spirit of the real thing, from the costumes, instruments, Scouse charm and, of course, that unmistakable era-defining, Liverpool-born sound. Their show wonderfully flows from the ‘Mop Top’ hits of Beatlemania, through the psychedelic creativity of Sgt Pepper to the melodic wonder of the Fab Four’s later work.

Steven said: “We can’t wait to play Southport – The Atkinson is a brilliant venue and the audiences are always up for a great night.

“As for everyone, this last year has been incredibly difficult. Our 2020 World Tour was postponed and not being able to go and play shows has been so frustrating.

“But live music is back at last and so we thought what better way to celebrate than to create the ultimate feel-good night by playing, for the first time, every Beatles’ Number One in the same show.”

Mark added: “That’s 17 chart-toppers – from 1963’s From Me To You to 1969’s The Ballad of John and Yoko – played totally live, as they should be, plus many, many, more Fab Four hits.

“We’ll play around 40 songs in the show so it’s going to be a brilliant night for Beatles fans. My advice is bring your dancing shoes!”

Final tickets for The Mersey Beatles at The Atkinson, on Saturday September 4, are available now from theatkinson.co.uk or by calling (01704) 533 333

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