Frustrated Southport Lib Dem Councillor cleans up Council office

ots-cllr dawson cleaning sefton council southport ots onthespot ots

Frustrated Councillor cleans up Council office

Central Southport’s Lib Dem Councillor Tony Dawson has responded to the frustration of traders based in the town’s central Cambridge Arcade, about the need to improve the look of the area, by ‘doing it himself’.

Traders in the Arcade have complained month after month about the lack of cleaning and repair done by the Council and cited the cobweb-covered front of Sefton’s own One Stop Shop as being one of the worst examples which was bringing the area down.

There are also serious concerns about the state of the former Cafe Matisse and underwear shop on the corners of the Cambridge Walks and Cambridge Arcade which have, in recent months, fallen prey to fly posting and vandalism and show no signs of being let out by the private firm which owns Cambridge Walks. They also suffered years of serious loss of business during the construction work of the Atkinson Centre refurbishment. Cllr Dawson feels that they deserve a hand.

Using borrowed equipment and forty gallons of water Cllr Dawson spent a couple of hours on Sunday morning washing down the paintwork of Sefton Council’s One Stop Shop in the Arcade which appeared to have not been done in years.  He also washed down the frontage of the vacant Cafe Matisse, opposite.

Councillor Dawson said:

“With the present budget situation of the Council it seems hard to get anything done by the Council itself. So, just as with our litter picks and gutter cleaning of the Lord Street awnings, I thought councillors could show the way with a bit of ‘do it yourself’ in the Arcade. Perhaps this might encourage the Council itself to make a bit more effort in the future.They have washed their big windows but left the surrounding paintwork filthy for years.”

“I can’t claim to have done a professional job but I have taken the ‘thick’ off it and it clearly makes a difference.The Council should be setting the pace on selling Southport’s business environment, not dragging its heels.”

Who knows, perhaps we might get a ‘cherry picker’ hire firm to lend us a couple of machines for a bit of free advertising to clean down the front of the Southport Town Hall now. It really does look awfully ‘dingy’ next to the Atkinson Centre and shames the Council.

“There are still several finishing-off matters outstanding from the Atkinson Centre project, which will make a difference to the Arcade if done, but the main need is to get the empty shop units let out, even with ‘pop up shops’ in the short term to improve foot-fall and the environment of the place. The Council could make a start by letting out the unit which it owns next to the One Stop shop where I have been told there have been expressions of interest but no progress. On the Atkinson side of the Arcade, unfortunately there is woodwork unfinished, drain pipes which have never been cleaned, let alone painted, and a section of the Cambridge Arcade glass roofing at the Lord Street end is still missing. I am pressing Council officers to get the necessary work done as soon as possible.”

Cllr Dawson is also concerned about the state of the privately-owned units fronting onto the Arcade.

“The Council missed the opportunity to take this whole area on at a knock-down price a few years ago. I do not know if there is anything which can be done to force the owners to maintain their property frontage to a basic level but if there is, we should be doing it. This Arcade is one of the main routes by which pedestrians come through from the railway station to Lord Street and events at the Atkinson Centre from the train station. It does not presently give visitors a very good first impression.”

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