Community ‘outraged’ as yoga events postponed until further notice

A Wirral yoga community is “outraged” as their free beach events have been postponed until further notice.

Vicky Morgan has been running beach yoga sessions at different locations on the north Wirral coast since at least March 2021 with some attracting large groups of people at sunset.

However, according to a post on her Instagram page, she has had to postpone the events until further notice after Wirral Council said she needed to submit an application to run them. 

In an Instagram post, Vicky said, “It breaks my heart to say this, but there will be no beach yoga for the foreseeable as I have been contacted by Wirral council and told that I need to have permission from them for “any activity where the public are invited”. 

“I have sent off an application today but have been told this could be a lengthy process. Fingers crossed, we get the right outcome. I genuinely didn’t know I needed this, especially since it’s a free event.”

Since the post, people have criticised the local authority for the decision with a petition set up gaining more than 1,500 signatures in less than 24 hours. The petition accused the council of stopping people “enjoying a simple, harmless activity that brought them together and brought them into nature”.

In comments on social media, people called it “a really offensive overreach of institutional interference” while another said it was “insane”. Letters have also been sent to local MPs though Parliament is currently dissolved due to the upcoming general election on 4 July.

Wirral Council said the application was needed to “protect the organisers of events should anything go wrong” and supports hundreds of activities in its parks, open spaces, and coastal areas every day.

In a following post promoting the petition, Vicky said, “I can feel how outraged all of you are. Me too! It has shown me just how much these sessions mean to your livelihood.” Claremont Farm in Clatterbridge has since offered its fields for Vicky as well as Pippa Buist, another yoga instructor, to use for the time being.

A Wirral Council spokesperson said, “Anyone who organises a public event on council-owned land needs to let the council know so we can check that it can be carried out safely, legally and in a way that considers the use of that land by others.

“This is primarily to protect the organisers of events should anything go wrong, but it is also our legal responsibility as the landowner.

“In this instance, the organisers – having been made aware of the need to have their activity approved – have completed an event form which will be considered by the Wirral Event Safety Advisory Group shortly at their regular monthly meeting. 

“The council supports and promotes hundreds of activities such as this in parks, open spaces, along the coast and in other public places every day – but we just need to know organisers have taken everything into consideration beforehand.”

Vicky later posted on an Instagram story that she was “trying to put a positive spin on this,” adding, “It all sounds fine. It’s been blown out of proportion a little bit. Everyone is very passionate about beach yoga which is apparent and it’s amazing. We love that it’s caused a fuss because it’s just shown us how brilliant it is but it looks really positive. It looks like it will be approved.”

In a further post, following dialogue with the council she said, “I have been contacted by the General parks Manager for the North District and he has assured me that they are doing everything they can to get mine and Pippa’s applications approved ASAP.

“They have clearly felt an enormous amount of pressure today as he phoned me at 6:30pm, which is obviously out of normal working hours. I believe they have been inundated with emails and phone calls.

“They said that they want to work with us not against us and are really positive about what we offer to the community. They have almost guaranteed that the sessions will be able to continue.

“This is just a procedure that needs to be done to ensure the events are safe. It might put a stop to beach yoga for one or two weeks, but that is all.

“Overall, I think this is a great outcome. At least we will have their approval going forward and the beach yoga can continue. Which is what it’s all about, right

A link to the petition can be found here.

Image: One of Vicky’s beach yoga sessions

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