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Southport’s historic Victoria Baths being market tested as investment opportunity

External photo of Southport's Victoria Baths buildingA historic Southport landmark is now being market tested as an exciting major investment opportunity.

Works have been taking place at the Grade II listed Victoria Baths building on Southport Promenade ahead of a potential major third party investment.

New lease of life

Now the building, which originally opened in 1839 as a luxurious facility for the then brand new holiday destination of Southport, is set to undergo a new lease of life for one lucky investor.

By market testing the venue, Sefton Council will be able to seek initial proposals by third parties that would revitalise the historic Baths.

Bolster

The successful investor will be chosen for their vision of transforming Victoria Baths in new and creative ways that will ultimately generate new communities and bolster the local economy.

Any investment will also encourage new local employment opportunities and look to work with local businesses.

Sefton Council is working with local firm Fitton Estates to test the market for delivering a new use for  building.

Bathers on aslide at Southport's Victoria Baths during its heyday.Ambitions

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “The successful investor will need to share both Sefton Council’s and the Southport Town Deal’s ambitions to boost the town’s reputation as both a leading national visitor destination and an attractive place to live and work.

“We have wider ambitions for Southport as a leading national visitor destination and with the regeneration of Southport Market and our plans for the incredible Marine Lake Events Centre, we want to make sure we are utilising every opportunity to improve the resort.

“The Victoria Baths building of today presents a magnificent opportunity to a developer with vision and drive to modernise this iconic and landmark facility. Through this market testing exercise we look forward to seeing initial options and proposals brought forward by third parties”

Opportunity

Investors can find out more about this opportunity from the Victoria Baths Investment Opportunity Brochure at www.victoriabathssouthport.co.uk or by calling Graham Bowling at Fitton Estates on 01704 500345 or by emailing gb@fittonestates.com .

The operation and running of the adjoining Victoria Leisure facility is not affected by this market testing.

 

 

 

Sefton Council Child Poverty Strategy agreed at today’s Cabinet meeting

Cover of the Sefton Council Child Poverty StrategyThrough its new Child Poverty Strategy for 2022 to 2030, Sefton Council will continue to focus on reducing the numbers of children living in poverty, families with no qualifications or skills training, young people aged 16-17 who are not in education, employment, or training and families who are unemployed and in receipt of out of work benefits.

It also aims to reduce the impact of fuel poverty on families, increase the amount of affordable housing across the Borough and raise average household incomes.

Priorities

Introducing the Strategy at today’s Sefton Council Cabinet meeting, Cllr Trish Hardy who is Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said: “Tackling childhood poverty is key to us achieving all our priorities and should be squarely at the centre of everything we do, and this is the next step in the work we have been doing since 2015 on welfare reform and anti-poverty.

“The facts in this Strategy are sobering and the number of children in our Borough at risk or in poverty is frightening.

“But it doesn’t have to be like that. In the 1990s and 200s under a Labour Government we demonstrated how you can lift children out of poverty.

“It’s a political choice that been inflicted on our children and we know that all of the life expectations of children in poverty are limited by their experiences which they have personal control over.

“It makes me sick.

“As a council we can’t change it, but we can do our damnedest to minimise the impact of poverty on the children we have a responsibility to in this Borough.”

Opportunity

The Strategy says that Sefton Council is committed to increasing opportunity in employment and education and supporting the most vulnerable members of its communities.

It also says the Council will take a collaborative and evidence-based approach to achieving that and they ways in which investment is targeted.

Sefton Council will continue working closely with partners in the voluntary sector, health, trade unions, further education facilities and community groups.

Pledges

Cllr Hardy added:
“We are committed to honouring the pledges we have made as corporate parents to children in our care and those who are leaving care.”

You can find the agenda and papers for the Cabinet meeting here.

 

Eligible Sefton households need to apply for discretionary Energy Rebate payments before this month’s deadline.

Sefton Council is reminding eligible households across the Borough that they need to apply for discretionary Energy Rebate payments before this month’s deadline.

Some households in Sefton that have not received a one-off £150 Energy Rebate payment can now apply online for a payment through the discretionary scheme. But the  deadline for applications is Monday 31st October.

Inviting

Sefton Council is inviting applications from residents of properties that have been excluded from the core scheme due to them not being liable for Council Tax.

This could include applicants who are directly responsible for energy costs but whose Council Tax is paid by someone else such as a housing provider, a charity or a non-resident owner. It also includes those who became liable for payment of Council Tax to Sefton Council on or after 2nd April 2022.

You can find out more and apply here.

Evidence

Completing the form will require applicants to provide evidence of occupation and direct payment of energy costs.

This means having their Tenancy Agreement, Rent Statement or Completion Statement and their energy bills.

They will also need to provide their Bank Sort Code and their Bank Account name and number.

When the scheme was launched in September Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory Compliance and Corporate Services said: “Having already paid out nearly £15 million to around 106,000 Band A to D households in Sefton through the original scheme, we are targeting households that may have missed out.

“That includes those who do not pay their Council Tax directly, or who moved home during the qualifying period, who now have the opportunity to apply by visiting www.sefton.gov.uk/discretionary”.

Fixed fund

Sefton Council has a fixed fund available to allocate to Sefton households in need through discretionary funding. 

It is also targeting Sefton households that are in need, as well as those that do not fall into the Council Tax bands A to D category

People living in Council Tax bands A to D have been receiving further payments of £20 on top of the £150 they have already received making a total of £170. Residents granted a full Council Tax exemption, due to being severely mentally impaired are receiving £170.

Additionally, the Council has  also been making  £170 payment to Council Tax-payers in band E to H properties who are in receipt of means-tested Council Tax Reduction at that property.

And, payments are being made to households with children that are in receipt of Council Tax Reduction. Amounts would be £20 for households with one or two children and £30 for those with three or more children.

You can find out more and apply here.

Spectacular Angel Wing art installation will highlight desperate need for more local people to look after children and young people in Sefton

A selection of the 614 decorated feathersA magnificent pair of angel wings will soon adorn the entrance of Crosby Library in Waterloo, as Sefton honours foster carers and highlights the need for more people to open their homes to vulnerable children.

Six hundred & fourteen feathers

The Angel Wing art installation will be made up of 614 individually decorated paper feathers. The feathers represent the 614 children and young people from across the Borough who are currently living in care.

The fostering team has been at Sefton’s libraries getting children and adults involved by asking them to decorate or write a message on a paper feather about what family means to them.

Fostering families, school pupils and community groups are also invited to send their designs to the team.

The giant installation will begin to take shape from the Monday 3rd October at Crosby Library and will take a week to complete.

Interactive and creative

Councillor Mhairi Doyle, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care said:  “It is just fantastic to be able to engage with communities with such an interactive and creative project.

“Some people see angel wings as a symbol of guardianship. Therefore, this installation will not only recognise our carers, who are like guardian angels to foster children, but the 614 feathers will really put into perspective the need for more people to become foster carers.

“I urge anyone who is thinking about fostering to find out more. Just imagine, one of these feathers represents a life that you can turn around.”

Feathers from Sefton’s schools have already begun to flock in, as children have been getting creative in the classroom.

Creating some of the 614 decorated feathersPositivity, hope and diversity

Mrs Eborall, Head of Art at Maghull High School said: “A selection of KS3 students relished the opportunity to create artwork for the mural. The students wished to convey positivity, hope and diversity, which was shown through their bright and bold designs.” 

Schools or community groups that would like to get involved in the Angel Wing Project, should email fostering@sefton.gov.uk

Sefton’s Foster Carers are paid for their skills, receive full training and support, plus allowances. Anyone who is thinking about fostering can find out more by visiting the dedicated website at https://seftonfostering.co.uk/ 

People can also speak to one of the team by calling our freephone number on 0800 923 2777 or email fostering@sefton.gov.uk 

 

Sefton Council Cabinet member ‘shocked and heartbroken’ by need for Cost of Living report

Cllr Trish Hardy
Cllr Trish Hardy

At their meeting today, Sefton Council’s Cabinet endorsed actions planned to help the Borough’s residents and business cope with the growing Cost of Living crisis.

Sefton Council has already set up a dedicated Cost of Living section on its website, at www.sefton.gov.uk/cost-of-living where people can find quickly information on a range of topics including Fuel Bills and Energy Saving and help with Rent and Council Tax. Health & Wellbeing, Foodbanks & Food Pantries and Jobs & Volunteering are also covered.

Factsheet

It is also producing an accompanying easy-to-print factsheet detailing ways people can get support and advice. It also reminds readers there is free computer and Wi-Fi access at all Sefton Council Libraries for people who don’t have access to an online computer or smartphone.

Additionally, the Council is committed to showing strong leadership and working with partner organisations to reduce the impact of the crisis on local people. It will work to protect local jobs and incomes by providing what support it can to companies and organisations across the Borough if they are struggling to stay in business in the face of steeply rising operational costs. 

And the Council will continue to work at the highest levels nationally to influence policies towards tackling poverty. It will also highlight the harmful physical and mental health impacts that poverty can have and how young people’s long-term life chances are restricted as a result.

In addition, the Council is producing a quick reference fact sheet that can be printed off as well as downloaded, providing people with quick links on where to go for support and advice.

Heartbroken

Introducing the report to at today’s meeting, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing Cllr Trish Hardy, said: “I’m shocked and heartbroken that Sefton Council has this report on the agenda today. 

“For years we have worked hard to mitigate Government policy that has hurt our communities – whether that has been the roll out of universal credit and the system failings leading us to support a network of food banks across the Borough, the systematic cuts in funding to public services, an NHS service in crisis that relies on our social services provision and of course supporting the most vulnerable children in this Borough. 

“The social security framework and welfare state in this country has been hollowed out – expecting people to survive on low paid, long hours with no protection and nothing more than a zero-hour contract.  Incomes and prospects have been routinely downgraded – not matching prices and bills.  Central Government safety nets have more holes than net.

Storm

“And now this cost-of-living crisis.  We use the word crisis a lot in the UK – I feel we are teetering on the edge of a catastrophe. Some of the families and residents of this Borough cannot withstand this storm being unleashed on them.

“As we meet today, inflation in the UK stands at around 10%, the highest level in 40 years, which means people across Sefton and the UK are facing steeply rising prices in shops, for basics and for vital services.

“In April, households across Sefton and the UK faced a 54% price hike in their gas and electricity bills, the equivalent of an average £700 extra per year.  We haven’t even had a Winter at these prices before we are told the cost must increase again.

“In October, those bills are forecast to go up by a further 82% meaning the average energy bill could shoot up to £3,582.

“A further rise in January could see those bills top £4,000 next year.

Eye-watering

“These are eye-watering figures that are going to affect the finances of all but the most affluent households across the country.  And let’s not forget these so-called caps are no such thing – many households in Sefton will face bills much higher – not because of posh houses but because families with disabilities, babies living in poorly insulated homes will have to spend more to heat badly insulted homes.  Let’s not forget that the Tories have also slashed funding for home insulations.

“In Sefton, where over 20% – or around 58,000 residents – live in the poorest areas, those effects are going to be huge. In some cases, unthinkable.

“Unthinkable the pressure being felt by people who are already struggling to make ends meet and are having to make difficult decisions.

“By people who use foodbanks but are worried about the cost of cooking the food they collect from them.

“By people who have struggled to afford uniforms to send their children back to school in.

“By pensioners where the cost of energy is over half the UK state pension by January.”

By businesses contemplating their survival and having to close businesses and lose local jobs

“When they know these frightening price hikes are just around the corner and that there is nothing, they can do about it. 

Debt

“Yesterday we found out that debt is already soaring on credit cards. I just pray that people don’t turn to loan sharks and find themselves hocked up with debt with people who are mercenary at best and criminal at worst.  But when you are cold and hungry with nowhere to turn, I can see how it will happen.

“That is why it is vital that Sefton Council, working with its partners, does all it can to help and support our communities.

“Our officers and our partners are already working to develop a range of ideas and proposals to support local people in crisis.

“We are working on ways through our website for instance to highlight the wide range of support that is currently available.

“Next month’s Cabinet will be considering the Council’s Child Poverty Strategy which will be underpinned by a partnership Action Plan. 

“And we will do what we can to prevent organisations and businesses across our Borough crumbling under the weight of rocketing outgoings, which would further threaten local jobs and incomes. 

Life chances

“We will also continue to work at the highest levels nationally to influence policies towards tackling poverty and highlight the harmful physical and mental health impacts that that poverty can have and how those young people’s long-term life chances are restricted as a result.

“It’s disgusting that the effort here in Sefton doesn’t seem to be being matched in both government and the Tory leadership hustings.

“We haven’t seen those at the highest levels of Government taking much interest in the survival of our communities facing a winter of misery.

“Since being deposed by his party, our Prime Minister has been even more notable by his absence than usual and has refused to get involved, beyond making some vague claims that ‘something must be done’. And as the newspapers reported with surprise on its front page recently, actually turning up for a meeting.

“Meanwhile, the two candidates battling to replace Mr Johnson as Conservative Party Leader and Prime Minister have not spelled out any specific measures to help households survive over the coming months.

“Let’s hope that when the 0.2% of the electorate – Conservative Party members – have voted and the leadership battle is resolved in a few days’ time, Minsters will be able to stop accusing each other very publicly of their decade or more of failings in Government and focus on the people they are supposed to represent.

Investing

“In this absence Labour has set out a very real plan to get us through the Winter – both to stop prices rising and investing in long term energy and insulation measures.

“Sadly, we haven’t got a Labour government.

“We have got a Labour Council though.

“So, in the meantime, I can assure people across Sefton, this Council and it partners do care – very much

“Throughout the pandemic, people and communities across the Borough have shown how they can stand together.

“I want to let them know that Sefton Council will be standing with them.” 

Next month’s Cabinet will also be considering the Council’s Child Poverty Strategy which will be underpinned by a partnership Action Plan.

Cost of Living crisis advice and support can be found here.

You can also find our print-off Cost of Living factsheet here.

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