Solution in sight as Wallasey van hire firm leases land for parking

West Wallasey Van Hire (WWVH) will pay £100,000 a year for land to park its vans after controversially storing around 100 vans in parking spaces on the New Brighton waterfront.

The company based on Cross Lane in Wallasey has come under fire for parking its vehicles along King’s Parade on the town’s seafront with around 100 vans regularly found parked there according to people in the area. People who spoke to the LDRS said this resulted in major parking problems or people deciding not to visit the area.

The company has now issued a full statement apologising saying this was due to the sudden return of rental vehicles as supply issues were resolved. It has promised to clear all of its vehicles off the road by the end of March as it prepares to use a former gas works site off Dock Road in Seacombe.

To get its vans off the road, the company has signed a number of leases with the council to use its land and car parks. One signed in December 2023 allows the firm to park its vehicles within the Solar Campus on Leasowe Road until 2026.

Two others for parcels of land off Dock Road will allow West Wallasey vehicles also to be parked there until 2026.

The firm will now also pay £70,000 a year for the next two years to use the gas works site which has been designated for regeneration development in the long term. The four leases signed with the council in total add up to £100,000.

The leases were posted by Wallasey councillors Ian Lewis and Leslie Rennie when updating people living in Wallasey of the latest situation. The councillors have been calling on the council to bring in restrictions to prevent the vans from taking up parking spaces, especially ahead of the summer when tourists visit.

In a letter to the local authority’s chief executive Paul Satoor, Cllr Lewis called for “a clear, robust and consistent authority-wide response,” adding, “The patience of our residents, and us, has now snapped.”

He said the council was now working on a temporary restriction on overnight parking with the exception of camper van parking for a maximum of 18 months but this could be extended. He also asked the council to review its contracts with the company which he said had been given over £530,000 in the last three years.

Last week West Wallasey Van Hire addressed the criticism in an open letter posted on its website. It said, “We feel the Wirral community deserves an explanation as to the recent parking of vehicles and we would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to anyone visiting the affected areas of New Brighton and Wallasey.”

The company said it had anticipated the return of the vans but solutions for other sites had failed to materialise. It added, “On 7 February 2024 a lease for the Gas Works site was completed and permission to carry out essential work to enable the site to be used safely was granted on 22 February 2024.

“Works commenced immediately in collaboration with Cadent and are expected to complete this month. We would like to assure all residents that the vehicles located in Wallasey and New Brighton will be relocated as soon as the works are complete, and we are sorry for the inconvenience caused to residents whilst we have attempted to resolve this issue.

“As a Wallasey founded business now operating 20,000 vehicles nationally, our commitment to the local economy and our community is deeply important to us. We directly employ over 300 Wirral residents and support more than 200 additional Wirral jobs through supply chain.”

A Wirral Council spokesperson previously said, “The council has been assured by WWVH that the work will be completed and the vehicles moved by the end of the month. The council continues to monitor the situation and remain in close dialogue with the company.”

Image: Vans parked on King’s Parade on 26 February. Credit: Ed Barnes

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