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₤15m boost for brownfield development in the Liverpool City Region

LIVERPOOL City Region Combined Authority has been awarded an additional ₤15m from the Government's Brownfield Land Fund, which will enable a further 1000 homes to be built on previously developed sites across the Region. The funding, from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and announced in the Government's Levelling Up white paper, takes the total available for brownfield development in the Liverpool City Region to ₤60 million, which will enable around 4500 homes to be built. The Combined Authority has already identified 21 brownfield sites where around 3500 new homes will be built.

Speaking about the funding, Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:- "New homes are an investment in all our futures - they give families the opportunity to realise their home ownership ambitions; attract new funding into our towns, and help us to retain the very best talent that fuels our economy. We know that our journey to building a strong, prosperous community starts at home, which is why we are helping thousands of families across the Liverpool City Region to invest in good quality, genuinely affordable, and accessible houses. By specifically targeting brownfield sites, we can help to turn once forgotten areas back into thriving communities; and help to protect more of our green spaces. We've already made great strides to achieve this ambition, having committed ₤45 million to build around 3,500 new homes across the City Region, and we'll be using this additional funding to build a thousand more."

In planning terms, any land that has been previously developed is classed as brownfield. In the Liverpool City Region, much of this land is derelict and formerly industrial so must be cleaned up before it can be developed. The Combined Authority investment will be used for site remediation and other measures required to make sites ready for development. The Combined Authority has worked with the 6 Local Authorities in the City Region to develop a register of brownfield sites. The recently updated register shows that there are 428 brownfield sites in the Region, with room for 28,000 houses. The number of sites has reduced over recent years as previously derelict brownfield sites have been developed.

Councillor Graham Morgan, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Spatial Framework, said:- "Building on brownfield sites is crucial to our ambitions to tackle the housing shortage by building a great choice of high quality homes across the Liverpool City Region. We have more than 400 sites in total with enough space for 28,000 homes. We need to ensure that, across the City Region, we are building high quality homes to suit everyone."

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WORK is getting under way on a series of measures designed to make the transport network in Liverpool safer for women and girls. Safer Streets Liverpool is a ₤270k scheme funded by the UK Home Office, secured in a joint bid by Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell.

Merseyside's Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said:- "My Safer Streets Merseyside survey highlighted that more women feel unsafe using public transport at night than any other area or location in our Region. It is completely unacceptable that any woman or girl feels too worried or scared to use local buses or trains. Safer Streets Liverpool is completely focused on responding to those concerns. Through this multi agency project, our goal is to make it as clear as possible that there is no excuse for sexual violence and harassment. It will not be tolerated. We are also putting in place some significant, long term improvements to help women feel safer using the transport network and ensure if any incident does occur that causes them concern that they can report it quickly and easily and there is someone on hand who is trained to respond effectively. My thanks go to all the partners who have worked so hard delivering this project. While there is still a long way to go if we are to solve the fundamental issue of male violence against women and girls, I hope Safer Streets Liverpool will help women to be safer and feel safer."

Launching on Monday, 7 March 2022, Safer Streets Liverpool will be promoted through a powerful visual communications campaign targeted at potential perpetrators and highlighting unacceptable behaviours such as touching, groping and stalking.

It followed a survey, run by the Commissioner, which showed 54% of women felt unsafe using public transport, within Merseyside, at night, and nearly 42% had concerns about using it in the day.

It also came after extensive consultation with stakeholders, those using public transport, student groups and young people, all of which highlighted how fears around using public transport had increased since the tragic murder of Sarah Everard.

In response, Safer Streets Liverpool aims to provide:-

Enhanced CCTV coverage at City Centre Bus Stations in Liverpool One, Queens Square and Sir Thomas Street.

New 'help points' connected to the CityWatch control room and better links with emergency services.

'Safe spaces' for anyone who feels vulnerable within Travel Centres at each of the Bus Stations.

Bus drivers and frontline Bus Station staff to receive:- 'Bystander Training' to better understand and know how to prevent sexual violence. The training will equip them to act as:- 'Guardians' to make passengers feel safer.

A new text message service, specifically requested by young people, which can be used to report concerns and help to identify offenders.

Educational training for up to 70 Schools across Liverpool raising awareness of sexual harassment and misogyny.

Increased Police and uniformed presence on the transport network.

Monthly awareness events and partnership days at transport hubs.

The use of the mobile Police unit in hotspot areas and at times when women feel most unsafe.

Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson commented:- "Everyone should feel safe on our public transport network, and it is of great concern that a large proportion of women do not. If we are going to tackle this issue properly then it is vital that we do all we can to change the behaviour of those responsible. That is why we are taking a two-pronged approach to tackling the issue: putting in place practical measures while at the same time making absolutely clear the types of behaviour that no woman should have to encounter, and how to report them."

In a press release about this initiative, Chief Superintendent Ngaire Waine, Force Lead for Violence Against Women and Girls, responded:- "Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls is a key priority for Merseyside Police and together with our partners we are actively addressing the fears being raised by women and girls, with the ultimate aim of making our streets safer. The launch of Safer Streets Liverpool will be instrumental in helping us to address some of the concerns raised by women and girls who feel unsafe on our transport network and will complement our existing proactive policing response, Operation Empower, aimed at preventing sexual violence within the City Centre. As a society we need to take a strong stance against attacks on women and girls who should be empowered to live their lives without fear of sexual objectification, harassment, or physical and mental abuse."

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, also added:- "Part of the journey to making our transport network safer for women starts with the conversations we have in our homes and in our classrooms. It is incumbent on men to moderate our behaviour and think about what we can do to make women feel safer in public spaces. Whether using public transport at night, or just walking home, too often women in our communities feel they are unable to do simple things that men take for granted. It is encouraging to see that practical steps are being taken to amplify the voices of women and help change men's attitudes and behaviours. It cannot be right that half of our City Region can be denied the freedom to go about their daily lives without worrying about their safety."

The website can be found online at:- SaferStreetsLiverpool.Com.

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