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Transforming Bootle:- 'Area Action Plan' sets out vision for Town's long term future

SEFTON Council is inviting the community to help shape ambitious plans that will ensure Bootle is a great place to work, live, shop and socialise. To achieve this, the Council is planning to produce an:- 'Area Action Plan' which will set out a clear vision for the Town. It will identify the locations in the Town where investment is needed. It will also help to secure the homes that people need and want, good quality open spaces and facilities, as well as job opportunities.

The Area Action Plan will be rooted in the people, businesses and organisations of the Town. It will be a plan for the future of Bootle created by its residents and other stakeholders. The aim of the plan is to stimulate further investment in the Town, creating more opportunities for local people and businesses. Once adopted, it will form part of the Development Plan for Sefton alongside the Local Plan. Everybody will have an opportunity to get involved in shaping the Area Action Plan and over the coming months Sefton Council will set out how they intend to engage with local people and when.

To help kick start the wider regeneration of the Town, Sefton Council has purchased the Strand Shopping Centre and recently secured some of the neighbouring sites. In 2020 the Council shared ambitious plans to bring the Strand back to life and in December 2020 work started on site to clear the land adjacent to the Strand and the Leeds Liverpool Canal. This work will open up a disused area around the Strand for new and imaginative interim uses, the 1st step in repurposing the Strand and opening it up its canal frontage. Further information will be shared on these new and exciting uses in the coming weeks. The future of the Strand will be integral to these conversations with local communities.

Councillor Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said:- "We want to use the redevelopment and improvement of the Strand to help transform the Town into a better, healthier place for residents and visitors. We are proudly and passionately committed to Bootle and are looking forward to engaging with local people and stakeholders in a conversation about the future of their Town. We want to ensure that everybody has the chance to get involved in this exciting opportunity and we will be sharing more details soon."

Further information about the Area Action Plan and details of how you can get involved will be shared in the coming months. To register your early interest to be part of this exciting opportunity please email:- BootleAAP@sefton.Gov.UK.

RSPCA campaigns for a change in the law to help the charity re-home neglected and abused animals

THE RSPCA is calling for a new animal welfare law which will give animals involved in legal proceedings in the Midlands the chance to be re-homed much more quickly. Currently, some neglected and abused pets which are rescued by the RSPCA as part of an investigation cannot be re-homed until the case itself has completed, which sadly means some animals can wait months and even years before finding their 2nd chance. As part of its Second Chances campaign, the charity is calling for a change in the law which would mean an animal's future is no longer dependent on Court proceedings. A new animal welfare law allowing the charity to re-home an animal following a 2 month appeal process would mean the RSPCA can give those pets the forever home they deserve much more quickly rather than waiting for lengthy Court cases to conclude. In 2019, the RSPCA re-homed over 100 animals a day (39,000), 10,459 in the Midlands, and around a quarter of these animals were in our care as a result of an investigation. The charity also spent ₤4.9m in costs for animals involved in prosecutions in 2019.

Shelley Phillips, Senior Campaigns Manager at the RSPCA, said:- "Our animal care staff go to great lengths to make sure all the animals in our rescue centres get the care and attention they need and are treated as if they were their own pets but a rescue centre can never substitute the comfort and security of a permanent home with loving owners. We know that spending extended periods of time in kennels and temporary accommodation can impact an animal's psychological welfare. This is particularly true for puppies which are at a critical stage of their development and we are seeing increasing numbers of puppies coming into our care as part of our investigation work. This is why we are urging the Governments in England and Wales to make a change in the law which would allow us to re-home a pet after 2 months, similar to what has also been proposed in Scotland with the SSPCA."

Kirsteen Campbell, chief executive of the Scottish SPCA, said:- "The introduction of the Animals and Wildlife (Scotland) Act 2020 will be transformational for animal welfare in Scotland as it allows harsher penalties for those found guilty of the worst types of animal welfare offences, and for the ability to re-home animals seized on welfare grounds after three weeks. Seeing the tangible benefits this will bring for animal welfare in Scotland, we fully support the positive changes being championed by the RSPCA, our animal welfare partner doing great work in England and Wales. It would be fantastic to see the UK Government follow the Scottish Government's lead in freeing up vital resources for the RSPCA at a time when they are needed as much as ever."

Studies using dogs kennelled for a variety of reasons have shown that many animals find kennel life challenging and dogs can show considerable physiological and behavioural distress. Research has also found that for dogs neither bred nor raised in kennels the transition is especially stressful.

Dr Sam Gaines, dog welfare expert at the RSPCA, said:- "Sadly, our welfare teams are frequently required to deal with behavioural problems in dogs due to spending long periods in kennels. Some dogs may show their frustration by barking or whining while others will hide away and despite the best efforts of our animal care staff this can have a long-term impact on their wellbeing. Some may even display repetitive or compulsive behaviours which require medication and behavioural treatment. The RSPCA goes to great lengths to provide a stable environment for all the pets in our care and work hard to rehabilitate those dogs who struggle with kennel life but we feel that these issues could often be avoided if the animals were re-homed much more quickly."

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