Sunday Snippets, 14 January 2024

Welcome to “Sunday Snippets” a weekly feature from Birkenhead News. It is a round-up of the important local news stories you may have missed over the last seven days. Click or tap on each story to read the full article.

Van hire firm criticised over use of sea front for parking

A van hire company in Wirral has been accused of leaving its vehicles strewn across a popular visitor location as it struggles find land to grow its business.

Vehicles linked to West Wallasey Van Hire (WWVH) have been seen parked on Kings Parade in New Brighton leading to criticism on social media and from councillors on the issue. It is understood the vehicles are all taxed and insured.

The van hire company is based on Cross Lane and had hoped to expand its operations onto neighbouring land previously used by Mosslands School as its playing fields.

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Have your say on revitalising Woodside

New proposals outline how Woodside can be re-invented as one of Wirral’s key living, leisure, and tourist locations.

The aim is to capitalise on the location’s unrivalled views of Liverpool’s waterfront, with 420 metres of unparalleled river frontage to optimise, whilst also dramatically improving its connections with Birkenhead town centre and the river Mersey.

Now residents, business owners and visitors are being urged to have their say on the proposals to make the areas around and adjacent to the ferry terminal a vibrant and unique waterfront destination that people want to live, work, and visit.

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Joyful new year for RNLI couple with arrival of baby Harry

New Brighton RNLI were given the greatest gift of all this Christmas, with the announcement of the birth of baby Harry.

It was a new year to remember for New Brighton RNLI, as two of their volunteer crew, Tom and Emily McGinn, became parents for the first time. Indeed, Mark and Sharon, Harry’s grandparents, also serve as volunteers for the New Brighton crew – Mark as a DLA and tractor driver, and Sharon as a shop volunteer.

Harry McGinn was born on Tuesday, 2 January 2024 at 16:56, weighing 7lbs 13oz, and is already being sized up for his first pair of yellow wellies.

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8-year-old Wirral girl shines in new feature film

Liverpool born, Wirral actor, Lucia Aliu is set to appear in the Amazon Prime Video feature film, Role Play.

Role Play stars Kaley Cuoco, David Oyelowo, and Bill Nighy and is out on Friday, 12 January 2024.

Lucia will be playing Caroline Brackett, the daughter of Emma (Kaley Cuoco) and Dave (David Oyelowo) Brackett. The film follows the marriage and secret life of Emma Brackett, as an assassin for hire. a secret her husband discovers when the couple decide to spice up their marriage.

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The George Harrison Story UK tour opens in New Brighton next month

An acclaimed show highlighting the incredible talent of the late Beatle George Harrison embarks on a UK and Ireland next month, it follows a successful run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe and sell-out shows in 2023.

Something About George – The George Harrison Story, pays tribute to the man dubbed the “quiet Beatle” it will visit 31 venues across England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland, its biggest tour to date.

It will open with two shows at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton on Saturday, 3 February, and ends at the Town Hall Theatre in Galway, Ireland on Friday, 29 March.

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New council offices can’t be named Mallory and Irvine

Wirral Council cannot officially name its brand new offices after two famous Everest explorers as had been suggested as it is not in line with the local authority’s policies.

Soon after construction finished on the local authority’s new offices in Birkenhead town centre, Wirral Council announced the buildings had been named after George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, mountaineers who took part in expeditions to Mount Everest, who both have links to Birkenhead.

However, the council has now confirmed the building’s official names will be 2 and 4 Alice Ker Square, but said the explorers’ names would still be used to market the buildings.

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Birkenhead’s dual reality of struggling family finances and regeneration hopes

In Birkenhead there are promises of a brighter future, with major investment plans moving forward for the Wirral town. But on the ground right now, huge challenges remain.

Like the rest of the country, the residents of Birkenhead will head to the polls at some point this year to elect their Member of Parliament. Whoever is chosen will find a town in a state of flux, with potentially exciting times to come, but with real problems too.

Birkenhead, a town where 17% of children live in poverty, has been promised major regeneration plans along its docks and in its town centre helping to reverse a decline. By the next time voters go to the polls, likely in 2029, it could look very different.

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Council push back planning decision on car parking at residential property

Wirral residents will be able to have another say on controversial plans to change car parking designs in redevelopment plans for a residential site in Hoylake.

Wirral Council’s planning committee decided on 11 January to push back a decision about whether to grant permission for surface level car parking linked to the development of 10 apartments at 100 to 102 Meols Drive in Hoylake.

When it was approved in August 2022, the development included plans for underground car parking, but Blueoak Estates, the developer behind the project, said they were suggesting the changes to avoid disrupting neighbours.

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Cammell Laird’s ship repair division experiences significant growth

Cammell Laird’s commercial ship repair division has experienced significant growth towards the end of 2023, up by 50% from this time last year.

In the last two months alone, the facility has welcomed more than 11 vessels for ship repair works – including new and returning customers.

Cammell Laird now operates as part of the wider APCL Group of shipbuilders and shiprepairers – which has helped the movement of vessels across all four facilities.

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Entries open for Christopher Salmon Poetry Competition 2024

Following the enormous success of last year’s competition, it has been announced that entries for the Christopher Salmon Poetry Competition for 2024 are now open.

Organised by The Christopher Salmon Foundation in conjunction with Wirral Poetry Festival and Wirral Libraries, entries can be submitted until Thursday, 28 March 2024.

The annual poetry competition, which last year attracted over 600 entries, began in 2010 in memory of poetry-loving Chris Salmon, a student at Calday Grammar School who tragically died from a rare streptococcal infection in February 2009, aged just 15.

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Un-bell-ievable work to restore historic Seacombe Ferry fog bell

Two Liverpool City Region Combined Authority apprentices have renovated a 100-year-old fog bell at Mersey Ferries Seacombe Terminal and reinvigorated a long-forgotten practice.  

The Mersey Ferries fog bell, once used to help guide boats to shore in treacherous weather, has been given a new lease of life thanks to the dedication of two apprentices who were looking for a real-life case study to complete their apprenticeship with the Combined Authority.  

Ross Bower, and Craig Hignett, the duo responsible for the mechanical upgrade, have created a video showcasing the hard work they undertook to restore a long-forgotten practice that forms yet another layer of the vast and varied history of the Mersey Ferries.  

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Police enforcement of 20mph limits to begin

Merseyside Police will enforce 20 mph speed limits on more than 1,700 roads in Wirral.

Posting on social media, Wirral Council confirmed speed limits introduced in the first phase of the road safety scheme over the summer of 2023 will now be managed by police. The second phase of the new limits on nearly 1,000 roads will be rolled out in 2024 with two more to follow.

The first phase was unanimously approved in January despite some opposition to the proposals.

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Hopes historic New Brighton lifeboat could be restored

The William & Kate Johnston Barnett-class lifeboat was one of just four of its kind that operated in the UK & Ireland.

Serving New Brighton RNLI from 1923 until 1950, the William and Kate Johnston saved 248 lives over the course of 96 launches.

She was the first Barnett-class lifeboat put into service, and at the time of her launch was the largest lifeboat in the world, capable of carrying 130 casualties. 

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Peel hope for ‘significant progress shortly’ as Maritime Hub project put on hold

Wirral Council said it’s still fully committed to £25m plans to build a “world-class” research centre as it looks to put the project on hold.

A report has asked councillors at a Policy and Resources committee meeting on 17 January to remove the project from its regeneration programme “until such time as a viable scheme is brought forward for consideration”.

Another report published by the council shows the £12.3m budget for the current financial year being removed with no money dedicated towards the project in the next four years.

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Demolition of former House of Fraser building marks next step in Birkenhead town centre regeneration

The latest phase of the regeneration of Birkenhead Town Centre is now well underway and being led by the contractor Forshaw overseeing the demolition of the former House of Fraser building.

Forshaw has already completed the internal fixtures soft-strip of the site and begun demolition of the building from the rear car park, continuing to work from the back of House of Fraser. The front elevation is due to be demolished in the coming weeks. 

Hoardings are being placed at the front of the former House of Fraser building and will run alongside the pavement to Grange Road, meaning pedestrians will still have access to the town centre from the pavement opposite and there will be no road closures. Once the site is levelled, the hoardings will remain in place to keep the site secure.

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Former Tranmere Rovers Chairman, Peter Johnson, dies at 84

Peter Johnson, former owner and Chairman, and Lifetime President of Tranmere Rovers has died peacefully at the age of 84.

The son of a butcher, Johnson played a role in managing Park Foods, a family-owned enterprise that supplied Christmas hampers. Birkenhead-based Park Foods had made Johnson one of the UK’s richest people, with an estimated fortune of £150m.

At this time, he invested in Tranmere Rovers, witnessing their ascent from the bottom of the Football League to the Championship. Additionally, he served as the chairman of Everton F.C. until 1999.

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Apter signs for Tranmere until end of season

Tranmere Rovers has announced that the club has reached an agreement with Blackpool for the loan signing of Rob Apter until the end of the 2023/24 season.

Apter displayed an exemplary attitude throughout his initial loan spell which ended last week, and endeared himself to the Rovers faithful through his eye-catching performances.

The 20-year-old has made a total of 21 appearances for Rovers so far this term, scoring five goals and assisting twice.

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97th minute goal means defeat for Tranmere

Tranmere Rovers suffered a late 2-1 loss against MK Dons, ending their streak of home league victories.

The away team took the lead in the ninth minute, with Alex Gilbey slotting the ball into the bottom corner from a distance.

Rovers managed to equalize a mere three minutes later when Kieron Morris’ deflected shot beat Michael Kelly.

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Wirral Police weekly news round-up

This is the Birkenhead News weekly round-up of police activity in and around Wirral during the last seven days.

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What’s On? Guide

Visit our “What’s On?” guide for Wirral and the surrounding areas in the coming weeks.

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