Controversial deputy Conservative chairman Lee Anderson has visited Wirral and waded into a huge row over Hoylake Beach.
Mr Anderson, who represents Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, was visiting the seaside Wirral town where the debate over the future of its beach has been described as “toxic” and like a “civil war”.
He was invited by local councillors who said they were “now taking the message right to the heart of government.” It comes after a bid was put in for a village green on the beach as well as a legal letter being sent to Wirral Council.
The controversy stems from a decision in 2019 to stop spraying weedkiller on the beach as well as clearing away vegetation. Since then plants have continued to grow on the beach with two groups having different opinions on how it should be managed.
One side wants to see the vegetation cleared to see “golden sands” return while the other wants to see the beach develop naturally. A scientific study said sand dunes are most likely to develop.
Mr Anderson said, “This is a beautiful part of the world. I come from Ashfield which is landlocked and if we had a chance to live in a place like this, we would tear your arms off. It’s an absolute disgrace what the local Labour Party are doing.”
He added, “This is like a jewel in your crown. It’s a beautiful area and the local Labour Party should get their finger around this and should hang their heads in shame. They need to sort this out for you good people in this part of the Wirral.”
To see and read about some of the incredible variety of plant species at Hoylake, click or tap here.
Cllr Max Booth in a Facebook video said, “We’re showing him what Labour and the Green Party have done to our precious beach and what they’ve taken away from our children and our future generations and left them with a small parcel of sand when we used to have mile upon mile of golden sands.”
Labour councillor Liz Grey, who has been chair of the council’s Environment Committee, has previously defended the Hoylake decision saying the council faced an unlimited fine and that it has since been backed up by Natural England.
Labour councillor Liz Grey said, “I just think it is a shame that local Conservative councillors are still trying to politicise the beach and I invite them to join those of us who have been working long and hard to find a meaningful compromise solution that both protects the natural living world and offers real hope to those who seek an artificial, raked beach.
“It’s no secret that my personal preference would be for a natural beach but it is vital to acknowledge the importance of the views of both sides in this often heated debate and try and find a way for the solution to offer something to both groups. Labour has been doing just that.
She added, “The options my committee sent for fine tuning with legal experts were really the only ones that stood any chance of being agreed by Natural England, who must work within the law. It is important to respect the law and the consultation process and not pre-empt the final responses to that. The local Conservative councillors have literally never come up with a viable, legal solution and have tried a variety of time wasting tricks and diversions, none of which has succeeded.
“Lee said “they’re fighting for you”. He should have added “but not very well.””
Green councillor Harry Gorman who also sits on the committee said it looked “like a fleeting visit” from Mr Anderson, adding, “We need to ensure that we protect and enhance our environmental assets and do not break international law.
“Mr Anderson and his colleagues in Westminster have let the water companies pump millions of tonnes of sewage into our waterways and have shown flagrant disregard to international law with their recent Illegal Migration Bill. So, it comes as no surprise, then, that he is gung ho for reversing the rewilding at Hoylake.”