Residents’ concerns about safety at Wallasey construction site

Concerns have been raised by neighbours about the safety of “a monstrosity” being built opposite their houses after insulation panels flew off during a recent storm.

Planning permission was granted in 2022 for the development of 27 two-bedroom apartments which would support retired seafarers to live independently overlooking the Mersey at Mariner’s Park in Wallasey. Mariner’s Park is a retirement community for sailors and other seafarers and was established in the 19th century.

However, people living on Caithness Drive claim the current development opposite is different from that approved, and raised concerns about its size and a loss of light and privacy.

When the application came to a Wirral Council planning committee, two people supported the application but 88 opposed it worried about the loss of trees, risk of damage to nearby properties, and the design being out of character.

Insulation panels in the trees. Credit: Chris Shaw

Building work is being carried out by John Turner Construction and overseen by the Nautilus Welfare Fund but a recent video at the end of this atricle sent to the LDRS shows insulation panels flying off the roof of the construction during a recent storm. These landed in nearby trees, reportedly caused damage to one property, and materials from the building site were collected from the Mersey by someone swimming there.

Materials believed to be from the construction site pulled from the Mersey. Credit: Chris Shaw

Following this, New Brighton promenade was temporarily closed and neighbours said they were worried about the safety of the construction going forward. Claims construction vehicles have been blocking Manor Lane have also been reported to Merseyside Police though a spokesperson said on an initial visit, no obstructions were found on the road.

The prom was temporarily closed as a safety precaution. Credit: Ali Bentley

Maria Adair said the situation was heartbreaking while June Hanna, another resident, said, “None of us believed it was going to be that big. It’s a monstrosity. Nothing like that is around here, no one has a glass balcony,” adding, “I live at the other end of the road and I can see the whole structure, it’s huge and we are really overlooked.”

Ken Twist, who lives on Caithness Drive, said, “People’s wellbeing and mental health isn’t being taken into consideration,” adding, “There’s no way I could sit in the garden while they were working. They insisted we wouldn’t be overlooked but we will be overlooked when it is finished.”

Concerns about the development were also raised to Wallasey MP Dame Angela Eagle in a letter by Stephen Quinn which said, “The ongoing construction appears to deviate from the approved design and significantly impact the local landscape. Despite the detailed analysis provided in the planning documents, the current view from the beach reveals a massive structure that dominates the residential buildings in the vicinity, lacking sympathetic design cues.

“The claim that the proposed building would sit back from the promenade with mature trees “filtering” views is questioned, and the actual impact on the views and privacy of residents is far from adequately addressed.”

Ms Eagle told the LDRS, “I have been in contact with residents both during the planning application stage and since the commencement of the building works. MPs do not have any formal role in the planning process and those making decisions in the planning process have to follow strict procedural rules.

“However, I have conveyed residents’ concerns to the planning authority and building control. Those who contacted me have been updated with the planning authority’s and building control’s responses.”

When the development was approved in November 2022, a Nautilus representative said the flats’ supported living arrangement “provides flexible care where it is needed and provides benefits for residents offering a safe living environment.” They said there was already a waiting list of 80 retired mariners and would meet growing demand for homes for the elderly.

In response to the concerns, a Nautilus Welfare Fund spokesperson said, “The new building at Mariners Park is fully compliant with all the requirements under planning permission, and have passed several inspections during the build phase.

“Plans for the building are available at the Trinity House Hub and we encourage local residents to view these. We receive several communications from neighbours per week about the development, which we address quickly and respectfully.

“We are disappointed that some neighbours remain concerned and will continue to communicate with them throughout the remainder of the build.”

Lead image: Insulation panels in trees at the construction site. Credit: Chris Shaw

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