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Sefton landlord ordered to pay back money after operating premises without a licence

A Sefton Landlord who had been previously prosecuted in 2019 for operating a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) without the required licence and fined £5,000.00,  has now been ordered to pay back the housing benefit and universal credit that they received for a year whilst the premises was operating without the licence under a “Rent Repayment Order”. This equates to a further £13,293.27 . This follows an unsuccessful appeal by the landlord, against the “Order”, to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) in February 2021.

Landlords who fail to licence their properties in line with the relevant legal requirements will be at risk of prosecution or receiving a Civil Penalty Notice (up to a maximum of £30,000) and potentially a Rent Repayment Order.

68 Civil Penalty Notices have so far been issued on Landlords, for failure to licence houses that are privately rented, since Sefton’s licensing schemes began. The average level of fine for each has been £3,500.00

Sefton’s Housing Standards team are actively seeking out any properties that do not have the required licence and enforcement action is being stepped up by the team. To check if your property requires a licence visit Sefton’s website https://www.sefton.gov.uk/housing/private-housing/

Anyone can check if their property has the required licence by visiting the Council’s public register of housing licences https://housinglicensing.sefton.gov.uk/online-application/public-register/

Licensing schemes aim to improve the conditions and management of privately rented properties across the designated areas of Sefton. A well-managed privately rented sector plays an important role in meeting the Borough’s housing needs.

 

Residents urged to continue to follow lockdown rules prior to schools opening 24/02/2021

Residents in Sefton are strongly urged to continue stay at home to help reduce COVID-19 infection rates even further prior to schools opening. All schools and colleges will open on 8th March in the first stage of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, however infection rates are still high in  Sefton and local hospitals continue to be under pressure.

Margaret Jones, Director of Public Health for Sefton, said:

“Over the next two weeks, it’s really important that residents abide by the current lockdown rules and play their part in reducing infection rates. Although schools and colleges are as safe as they can be, there is the potential that high rates in the community could mean a rise in COVID rates in school/college settings. By starting at a low number of infections on 8th March, we can reduce the risk of rates going up rapidly, as we have seen following previous lockdowns. It is vital that we do everything we can to help our children and young people continue with their education uninterrupted. With lower rates, we can also look forward to the gradual easing of restrictions over the coming months as set out in the Government’s roadmap.”

Under current lockdown rules, people should continue to stay at home and only leave the house for essential reasons such as work, education, shopping and medical appointments. A full list of what is permitted is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

A combination of the vaccine rollout and testing will help control the virus. The vaccine programme is running well with good uptake among priority groups and those who cannot work from home can access regular testing even if they do not have symptoms. Details on asymptomatic testing centres can be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/covid-19-in-sefton

If residents experience symptoms of COVID (fever, new continuous cough or loss/change of taste or smell or other symptoms that may be related to COVID) they can obtain a test by visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119. If the test is positive, residents must follow the guidance including self-isolating immediately. More information on self-isolating can be found at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19

For those who need support during this difficult time please visit www.kindtoyourmind.org which has details of 24/7 crisis helplines and resources to help mental wellbeing.

Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards crowns the Atkinson in its 2020 awards

The winners of the 2020 Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards have been revealed in a unique online ceremony to celebrate the outstanding contributions to the industry in what has been a challenging year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hosted by Coronation Street and Emmerdale actress, Huyton-born Eithne Browne, the ceremony was broadcast live into over 300 homes where the finalists were standing by waiting for the winners to be announced.

Guest presenters from across the city region including the Principal Dancer of the Royal Ballet Matthew Ball, music artist and international DJ Yousef, actress Leanne Best and chef Paul Askew helped distribute the accolades by video link in the 15 categories.

The People’s Choice award which saw 2,300 of votes cast from across the Liverpool City Region, was awarded to The Atkinson Sefton while the Lifetime Achievement award, recognising an individual’s lifelong creative contribution to the Liverpool City Region, was bestowed on photographer, independent filmmaker and visual artist Sandi Hughes.

Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram said:

“I always like to say that the Liverpool City Region is the country’s cultural capital; that creativity is in our DNA and we’ve really seen that on full display during this past year. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, our region has continually responded with imagination, creativity and generosity to keep us all connected and our spirits high.

“I’d like to congratulate everybody who has been nominated for an award and give a special congratulations to our award winners. I know that all of these fantastic organisations and people will play an integral role in the region’s recovery after this pandemic – I can’t wait to see what they will produce.”

A panel of judges including Co-Chairs of the Culture Partnership Phil Redmond and Maggie O’ Carroll, chose the finalists from more than 700 nominations this year.

Maggie O’ Carroll said:

“Despite the region’s museums, art galleries, theatres and music venues having to close their doors for the best part of the last year, it was heartening to see how many nominations we still had for this year’s awards and the quality of work we received which made the judging all the more difficult!”

The cultural and creative sector has been responsive and has shown to be a lifeline for many communities. It has proved invaluable in supporting people in their own health and well-being during these extraordinary times.”

Phil Redmond said:

“Congratulations to all the winners tonight at what was a dynamic digital ceremony. I’m delighted we could still get together using the power of technology to celebrate this year’s achievements in what has been a crippling year for many cultural organisations. It just shows the resilience of the people of the Liverpool City Region who even now are making a significant impact to culture and creativity.”

During the ceremony, the Borough of Culture title was handed from Sefton to Halton, the next of the city region’s six boroughs to hold the title.

Sefton Councillor and Cabinet member for Communities and Housing Trish Hardy said:

“I’m incredibly proud of how everyone took up the challenge to think differently about how we could present this year’s Borough of Culture in Sefton. Covid-19 has had a massive impact in all areas and I am grateful for all the hard work that went into what has been a difficult year for the cultural and creative sector.”

Councillor Eddie Jones, Portfolio Lead for Visitor Economy, Heritage and Events, and Lead Member for Borough of Culture at Halton Council said:

“As we move forward into 2021 and into Halton’s Borough of Culture year, hopefully with the ongoing vaccine roll out there will be the opportunity to enjoy some of the culture and creativity the borough has to offer in more normal circumstances. We are looking forward to celebrating Halton’s Borough of Culture year and to further build on the fantastic work we have seen in previous years.”

Liverpool Designer Mary Lamb, Head of Liverpool based costume and fashion production space fabricationstudios, also announced the winner of the Dress it Up competition which was awarded to Velma Von Bonbon in the amateur category and Emma Russell in the professional category.

They have both taken away a prize of bed and breakfast at the soon to open INNSiDE by Melia Liverpool Hotel, cocktails in the Sky Lounge at the INNSiDE by Melia Liverpool Hotel, dinner for 2 at Luban Restaurant with a bottle of Drappier Champagne, and 2 x tickets to a Liverpool City Region located theatre show and the chance to exhibit the winning creation at the INNSiDE hotel.

The Culture and Creativity awards were created as part of the Metro Mayor’s Percent for Culture initiative, to recognise the value and power for change that the arts, cultural and creative sector can bring in reinforcing the city region as one of the most vibrant and exciting places to live, work, study, visit or do business. The 2020 awards are delivered in partnership with Sefton Borough of Culture 2020 and sponsors including LuBan Restaurant, LuBan Kitchen, INNSiDE by Melia Liverpool, Davies Partnership and Accountable Recruitment.

This year’s awards covered arts and cultural events, innovation and creative activity that took place within the Liverpool City Region during the period 1st April 2019 to 12th November 2020.

Exciting plans for the future of Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre are now underway

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has agreed to fund a significant investment of £3.1m to transform the facility, which on completion will provide a new and improved hospitality offer including enhanced wedding, conference, hotel, dining and bar facilities.  A new residential bunkbarn will also be built, to provide overnight accommodation for groups.

This new investment will also allow Sefton Council to ensure delivery of the new hospitality offer, as it plans set up it a wholly-owned company to manage these operations at the facility. Sefton Council’s Cabinet Meeting of 4th February 2021 is expected to approve the incorporation of a new company that will manage the new food, beverage and accommodation offer being provided.

With the quality of customer service and experience at the foundation of the offer, the company will aim to be the ‘employer of choice’ locally in the sector, offering a fantastic work culture with industry-leading terms and conditions for employees, and training programmes to support career development opportunities in the company and across the hospitality and leisure sectors.  It is intended that the company will in turn attract, develop and retain the best workforce available in the sector, which will strengthen the offer to customers. Furthermore, the operating company will remove the subsidy currently provided to the venue, delivering a surplus to the council over the next ten years and beyond.

Construction works will soon be underway on the £3.1m transformation of the Centre. Situated at the entrance to the beautiful Crosby Coastal Park and adjacent to Anthony Gormley’s Another Place (the ‘iron men’), the facility provides an events venue, food and drink, hotel accommodation, watersports, a gym and fitness studios and, for many years, has been a popular destination for Sefton residents, visitors from the Liverpool City Region and further afield.

Artists impressions, detailed designs will be available soon

Councillor Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said:

“I am delighted that works can soon begin to take place and we will start to see these exciting new plans develop.”

 “The establishment of a new Council-owned company will allow us to implement a first-class hospitality offer which will put the customer experience at the heart of everything we do, whilst creating positive outcomes for Sefton residents by generating quality employment and training opportunities within the borough.

“I understand that visitors may currently miss being able to take advantage of our bar and café facilities while works are ongoing, but I assure people that it will be worth the wait

“This development means Crosby Lakeside can reach its full potential of being an impressive leisure and hospitality destination in a perfect location.”

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said:

“The Lakeside Adventure Centre is a fantastic facility, enjoyed by people not just from our region but from all over.

“Sefton Council have some really exciting plans for the site, and we’ve invested £3.1m to ensure that it keeps improving and attracting more and more people. When its transformation is finished, Crosby will have another fantastic leisure and hospitality destination to add to the City Region’s visitor economy.”

In addition to the transformation of Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre, Sefton Council is also leading on improvements to the surrounding areas, to complement the project and to further fulfil the potential of this spectacular area of Crosby’s coast. Improvements to lighting along cycle and pedestrian paths in the coastal park will also be delivered, along with the restoration of the lake water management system to enable easier on-going maintenance of the Lake.

The construction project and external works are expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

Cheshire & Merseyside Directors of Public Health join call for supermarkets to closely adhere to COVID-19 guidance

Directors of Public Health across the region are appealing to all supermarkets and food/convenience stores to adhere to the COVID secure public health guidance. Several national supermarkets have recently confirmed that they will be tightening up the rules and enforcing the use of face coverings in their stores which is welcomed by Directors. The Directors of Public Health, who are leading the local public health response to COVID, would like to ensure the public are as protected as possible in light of the high numbers of COVID cases in Cheshire & Merseyside.

The public health guidance for supermarkets includes ensuring the use of face coverings by customers and staff (unless someone is medically exempt), a one way system, a limit on numbers of shoppers in store, social distancing markers for 2 metres and allowing only one person to shop with exceptions such as people who need a carer. It also asks supermarkets to remind customers to only handle products they intend to buy.

Ian Ashworth, current Chair of the Cheshire & Merseyside Directors of Public Health Board said, “Despite the great progress being made with the vaccine roll out, it is still important that organisations continue to keep people safe. Supermarkets and food stores can help reduce the spread of COVID by strictly adhering to the public health guidance. Our hospitals are still extremely overwhelmed with COVID patients so we must do everything we can. If supermarkets and food stores can closely follow the guidance, it will contribute to fewer positive COVID cases in our community. We all want to see an end to this lockdown. We would like to thank everyone working in the food/retail sector who have worked tirelessly to serve their customers throughout this difficult time.”

Directors of Public Health would also like to remind members of the public to stay at home and only leave the house for permitted reasons such as essential shopping, exercise and medical appointments. They are also encouraging people to shop locally and use online deliveries where possible. A full list of exceptions to the “stay at home” rules can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

If you develop symptoms of COVID (fever, new continuous cough or loss/change of taste or smell) you can obtain a test by visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119. If your test is positive you must follow the guidance including self-isolating immediately. More information on self-isolating can be found at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19

For those who need support during this difficult time please visit www.kindtoyourmind.org which has details of 24/7 crisis helplines and resources to help mental wellbeing.

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