Kitesurfer hoping to develop Wallasey watersports club fears new parking restrictions will put him out of business

A kitesurfer hoping to develop a watersports club in Wallasey fears a new parking ban will put them out of business.

Wirral Council has brought in a temporary traffic order to prevent parking on the New Brighton and Wallasey seafront from 11pm – 6am along Kings Parade and Coastal Drive for the next 18 months. The move comes as a response to local firm West Wallasey Van Hire regularly leaving its fleet of 100 vehicles parked in the area.

As it is a temporary measure, Wirral Council did not need to ask the public for their views before moving ahead but it will need to ask for public feedback before the move can be made permanent.

The move is being challenged by the New Brighton Coastal Community, which represents businesses in the area who have set up a petition calling for the plans to be scrapped.

The order was brought in on 17 April, but Adam Crouch, who runs the Northern Kites school at the West Cheshire Sailing Club, fears the new restrictions will stop people visiting. The club has a licence to hold events until 1am in the morning.

He said, “We are trying to attract people in from all over the North West and nationally which is happening. It’s one of the best kite surfing schools in the North West. It will definitely affect us.”

He added, “People will say I can’t park down there now so I will go somewhere else because it’s not the easiest place to get to.

“It’s also become an important social place for people who live by themselves who have lost their partners who are here late at night because they do not want to be at home.”

Mr Crouch said late-night events held at the club bring in most of its revenue and believes the restrictions could put him out of business. He said it could also impact kitesurfers, anglers, dog walkers, and swimmers who go out early in the morning in the summer as well as late in the summer.

He said, “I have put 100% of my time and efforts and money essentially to create something for the community to enjoy and to have that taken away for me and the community is devastating.” He added: “They need to scrap it all together. They just need to ban groups of commercial vehicles. It’s just frustrating because we are down here into the weekend and late into the night.”

Mr Crouch said, “It’s a knee-jerk reaction. It should have gone out to consultation and to have spoken to the local businesses and users of the beach. They should have done what they did with the caravans,” adding, “I am just trying to create that sort of beach club vibe but it just seems like such a battle.”

Speaking about the new measures, Wallasey councillor Ian Lewis said, “We have, at all times, sought to keep those who were unhappy with West Wallasey’s vans informed of the actions being taken by the council in response.

“Any specific concerns or suggestions received in response were submitted to the Highways Department to aid the discussions that were taking place at that time. Since then, we have also advised residents how they can comment on the temporary traffic regulation order.”

Sean Martin from the New Brighton Coastal Community said, “The New Brighton Coastal Community Team have been clear all along that the ETRO was not necessary but that if implemented it should carefully target commercial vehicles.” He said the suggestion of a shorter midnight to 6am restriction “was quite clear that it should not include private cars or vehicles.”

A Wirral Council spokesperson said, “The experimental traffic order has been introduced to tackle and deter the kind of problems experienced recently with overnight parking in the Coastal Drive and Kings Parade area.

“The order is a temporary parking order to assess whether this approach can be effective and is in response to requests for additional measures to ensure there is sufficient parking space available to members of the community and visitors.

“Throughout the period the order is in place people will be able to comment on the measure and these responses will be used when councillors review the order and decide whether or not to keep the parking restriction or try alternative measures going forward.”

Image: Adam Crouch from Northern Kites. Credit: Ed Barnes

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