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Issue Date:- 27 January 2009

Merseytravel on the move

Leaders of all three political parties on Merseytravel’s Passenger Transport Authority come together with Merseytravel Chief Executive Neil Scales, Neptune Developments’ Steve Parry and Countryside Properties’ John Grealis to celebrate the signing of the landmark deal.

MERSEYSIDE Passenger Transport Authority and Executive, Merseytravel, has signed one of Liverpool’s biggest commercial property deals in years.

The organisation will move to Neptune Developments and Countryside Properties’ Mann Island site [currently known as Building 3] on the banks of the River Mersey following a long and exhaustive two-year search for a new headquarters building.  The organisation hopes to move into the 11-storey 140,000 sq ft building, designed to some of the country’s highest environmental and accessibility standards, in around 2 years.  The new headquarters will bring Merseytravel staff from 4 sites into 1 location for the 1st time.

Councillor Mark Dowd, Chair of Merseytravel, said:- “This is a landmark deal and one that will bring all our staff together in one central location.  It will mean we are in the heart of the city and situated right next to all our major assets, the rail and bus network, the Mersey Tunnels and the Mersey Ferries.”

Neil Scales, Chief Executive and Director General of Merseytravel, added:- “This is the right location for an organisation that is striving to be the best that it can be and will help us work much more closely across all divisions of our business.  Our vision has been to unite our staff under one roof and put ourselves in the best possible position for the future.  There is a great deal of history at our current headquarters in Hatton Garden.  However, the age of the building is also one of the biggest problems.  Staying there was no longer a long-term option as the ongoing maintenance costs were very high and the site just wasn’t big enough to pull all our staff together.”

The Mann Island development is being delivered as a joint venture between Neptune Developments and Countryside Properties plc.  As well as the 140,000 sq ft commercial office building adjacent to The Strand, the £135m scheme includes two striking granite buildings containing apartments, shops, restaurants and a series of sheltered waterside public spaces.

Steve Parry, Managing Director of Neptune Developments, added:- “This is one of the biggest commercial property deals in the country and certainly the biggest office letting in Liverpool for several years.  Securing the letting has been greatly assisted by the quality of the public realm and new buildings at Mann Island and the Pier Head which will make this the premier office, residential and leisure location in the City.

Mann Island is an excellent location for Merseytravel due to its close proximity to the ferries, tunnels, Merseyrail and bus services at James Street and Paradise Street, providing a highly accessible location for its customers and staff. 

The high standard of the office space, which is one of the first offices in the city that achieves the BREEAM Excellent environmental standard, fits in with Neptune and Countryside’s philosophy that delivering developments of exceptional quality leads to commercial success.”

CGI impression: Building 3 (right) at Mann Island.

Merseytravel scoured many potential sites before short listing the Mann Island site as its preferred location.  The fit out, design and layout of the new building will be fine-tuned over the coming months, including a number of improvements for customers.


A call to double the number of people on the NHS Organ Donor Register (ODR) to 16 million has been achieved, 12 months before the planned date.

The appeal was launched in 2001 by former Health Secretary Alan Milburn when the Register stood at 8 million and 5,532 people were waiting for transplant.  Now more than a quarter - 26% of the UK population – have joined the ODR pledging their organs for transplant after their death but the number waiting for the call telling them that a life-saving organ has been found for them has risen to almost 8,000 and continues to steadily increase.

Since January 2001, 23,551 life-saving organ transplants have been made possible thanks the generosity of donors and their families but during the same period, at least 4,500 people died while waiting because a suitable organ could not be found in time.  NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), the UK-wide organ donation organisation, pays tribute to those who have made this achievement possible.

Lynda Hamlyn, Chief Executive of NHSBT, said:- “Reaching 16 million on the NHS Organ Donor Register a year before planned is testament to the support that exists for donation in the UK.  More than quarter of the population have demonstrated their commitment by signing the Register.  But, with 8000 people in the UK currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, we need to do more.

Around 3,000 organ transplants take place in this country every year, but during the same period approximately 1,000 people – 3 a day - die while waiting because of the shortage of donated organs.  Please join the NHS Organ Donor Register.  If you have already signed up, please talk to your friends and relatives about doing so.  Every time someone joins, they offer the possibility of transforming someone else’s life and the lives of their families through their generosity,”
Ms Hamlyn added.

Most organ transplants are carried out as a result of donation after death but today at least one in three of all kidney transplants take place through living donation, most often between couples and other family members.

Health Minister Ann Keen said:- "It is fantastic news that 16 million people have put their names on the Organ Donor Register.  But there is still much to do.  We remain firmly committed to helping many more people benefit from a transplant and want to see organ donation rates rise significantly over the next 4 years from the current 800 donors to 1,400 per year by March 2013."

The most popular ways to join the ODR are through the driver licence application and through applications to register with a new GP practice.  Other ways to register include the Boots Advantage Card, passport applications, a number of local authority SmartCard schemes and through the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).  Joining the Register is easy, call the Organ Donor Line on 0845 60 60 400, go online or text GIVE to 84118.  Alternatively, write to NHSBT, Fox Den Road, Stoke Gifford, Bristol, BS34 8RR

"Targeted drink drive campaigns work"

THE IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) has welcomed the news that 9,000 drink drivers were removed from our roads during the festive season.  Neil Greig, Director of Research and Policy at the IAM, said:- "Targeted enforcement campaigns work, and it is encouraging to see these initiatives improve road safety for all road users. Although there are now fewer irresponsible drivers on the road than there were in 2008, there are still too many people who are prepared to risk their own and others' lives by driving after drinking or taking drugs. We need more targeted enforcement all year round; safety is for life - not just for Christmas."  Between December 2008 and January 2009, 183,397 drivers were breath tested - an increase of more than 25,000 from the same campaign in 2007. The typical test failure rate is 4.99%. Worryingly, drivers aged below 25 represented a higher proportion (5.62%) of those who tested positive.  "We don't want to demonise young drivers, but IAM research has shown that young men are more likely to drink and drive than older motorists. These drivers also have a high risk of crashing and there is a perception among their peers that they can 'get away with it'. Young people must be convinced that the only way to drive is sober and one way to achieve this is through targeted enforcement," added Mr Greig.

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