Sunday Snippets, 17 March 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.

The alpaca farm in a hidden corner of Wirral

Tucked away just off a housing estate, you’ll find a quiet farm “set up to help the community” after a woman’s life was changed forever.

Just off Prenton Dell Road, Nanny Sharon’s Alpaca Farm has a whole range of animals from alpacas, meerkats, giant tortoises, parrots, goats, wallabies, emus, and other tropical birds. The farm is run by a community interest company set up in 2022 for its local area.

It’s overseen by Dave Beecham who started building up the farm five years ago to provide therapy for his wife Sharon who suffered a heart attack that left her with severe brain damage.

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Wirral Council expects to finish 20mph rollout by 2025

Wirral Council is expected to finish rolling out the new 20mph speed limits by 2025.

The local authority is currently planning to move ahead with the final two phases of its road safety scheme which has already seen speed limits reduced on over 2,000 roads.

The council has continued with the rollout pointing to the scheme’s potential to save lives.  Five people were killed on Wirral roads in 2022 and over six years, 27 were killed and 590 seriously injured.

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Wirral History and Heritage Fair returns to Port Sunlight

With less than two weeks to go, residents are being urged to ‘save the date’ for the Wirral History and Heritage Fair, which returns to Hulme Hall in Port Sunlight on Saturday, 23 March 2024. 

The Mayor of Wirral and the borough’s Heritage Champion, Councillor Jerry Williams, said, “The Wirral History and Heritage Fair has grown to become one of the largest and most respected events of its type in the country, and is always an annual highlight for local people and visitors alike.

“This year’s event promises to be even more special as we celebrate Wirral’s year as Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture and shine a light on the incredible history and heritage of our borough.”

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Birkenhead Market has ‘failed’ according to leaked report

Birkenhead Market has “failed” according to a damning assessment in a leaked report.

In 2023, Wirral Council commissioned a consultant company Pragma to produce a comprehensive report on Birkenhead town centre, looking at development opportunities, how to bring more people into the town centre and what needs to change.

The report makes a number of recommendations around developments which could see large parts of the Pyramids and the Grange shopping centres, owned by the council, knocked down.

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Wallasey family takes on London Marathon to support local cancer research

A family from Wallasey are preparing to take on their first London Marathon together in aid of life-saving cancer research and education from North West Cancer Research.

50-year-old Julie Woolley, who works as an events assistant for the charity, will be joined by her husband Alan, 48, and their daughter Katrina, 22, to complete the iconic course on Sunday, 21 April, inspired by the cancer battles of family and friends.

Alan’s mum, Mary, was diagnosed with lung cancer in both 2015 and 2017 and underwent two operations and a course of chemotherapy before being given the all clear. Sadly, they have also lost Ann, a close member of their extended family, to cancer recently.

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New campaign to help boost Wirral’s tourism economy

The next leg of Wirral Council’s tourism campaign will focus on promoting the borough’s unique and varied cultural assets.

The promotion comes as Wirral once again takes on the role of Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture throughout 2024. 

‘A place made for culture’ and will initially run between February and April and will feature photographs of New Brighton’s street art, Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight, Future Yard in Birkenhead, and Eureka! Science + Discovery museum in Seacombe. 

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More than 100 boats to be cleared from Heswall shore according to local councillor

More than 100 rotting boats left in the Dee Estuary are expected to be cleared this summer.

According to Heswall councillor Andrew Hodson, work is due to start in July to clear a number of boats left on the shoreline near Heswall and will take place over a two year period.

Wirral Council has not confirmed exactly when work is due to start but councillors have approved a £100,000 spend by March 2025 as part of the local authority’s budget this upcoming year.

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Contractor approved for major Birkenhead town centre improvement works

Delivery of major works in Birkenhead town centre is moving a step closer as Wirral Council appoints contractors.

Key areas of Conway Street/Europa Boulevard and Grange Road/Charing Cross/Grange Road West are set to be upgraded with both projects due to start shortly. 

The Economy Regeneration and Housing Committee agreed to appoint a contractor for these town centre schemes, and this resulted in John Grahams Ltd as the preferred tenderer for the two schemes. 

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Calday Pool swimathon smashes target, raising £3,600 towards upgrade

Calday Grange swimming pool hosted an overnight swimathon and cake sale on Friday 8 to Saturday 9 March, to raise much-needed funds for its anticipated upgrade.

Thirty swimming club members and members of the public of all abilities participated, swimming 3,264 lengths, equating to 51 miles – to put that into context, that’s the same as swimming the English Channel, stopping for a quick cup of tea and a slice of cake, and swimming back again.

Calday Pool’s target on the night of £3,000 was smashed, with £3,600 raised by 7:00am and donations still incoming via its GoFundMe page. This now takes the GoFundMe amount raised to almost £12,000. £60,000 is required for the next stage of building improvements.

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Van hire firm apologises as it breaks silence over criticism

A van hire firm accused of ruining a town’s “lovely” seafront has apologised as it breaks silence after weeks of criticism.

West Wallasey Van Hire based off Cross Lane in Wallasey has been heavily criticised after it began taking up dozens of parking spots along King’s Parade in New Brighton and Wallasey.

The firm said the overflow was caused by the sudden return of rental vehicles as a short supply caused by microchip shortages, manufacturing challenges, and the war in Ukraine were resolved.

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£8m spend on Wirral’s highway improvements in coming year

Roads, pavements, and bridges in Wirral are set to benefit from more than £8 million of improvements over the coming year as part of the council’s annual Highway Structural Maintenance Programme. 

The funding, provided through the Liverpool City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement, will be used to carry out essential works on the highway infrastructure in Wirral to ensure that residents and visitors can continue to travel safely.

Resurfacing work is starting in late April and much of the programme takes place over the summer months when the days are longer and the weather generally kinder. These works may mean there is some disruption to road users while these essential works take place.

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Tranmere born naval officer’s Victoria Cross sells for £220k at auction

A Victoria Cross (VC) posthumously awarded to a Tranmere born senior naval officer has sold at auction.

The Victoria Cross was awarded to Lieutenant Commander Edgar Christopher Cookson of the Royal Navy who was killed while leading a ‘Cavalry Charge’ on water in 1915.

The VC sold for a hammer price of £220,000 at Noonans Mayfair in their auction of Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria on Wednesday, 13 March.

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Council set to move to next stage with regeneration delivery plans

Wirral Council’s comprehensive regeneration vision sets out to deliver more than 17,000 new homes and 6,000 new jobs over the next 20 years.

It is based on the Birkenhead 2040 Framework, a 20-year plan which outlines the most radical proposals for the town since the 1947 Town Plan dramatically changed the look of Birkenhead.

The aim now is to build on substantial Government funding successfully secured by the authority in the last few years to transform Birkenhead plus parts of Wallasey and New Ferry through regeneration to support and enhance local communities.

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Prenton rugby club could be set for funding boost

A rugby club in an area with “nothing” could be set for a funding boost if plans for 33 homes go ahead.

In 2023, Birkenhead School re-applied for planning permission for 33 homes on a sports ground off Noctorum Lane on the Wirral but this was rejected again by Wirral Council.

A previous refusal had been on the grounds the development wouldn’t see enough replacement for the loss of a sports field but since then, Birkenhead School has promised it would fund a wide range of improvements at Prenton RUFC if the plans go ahead.

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New plans for Hilbre Island buildings

Derelict buildings on a beautiful island could become a new scientific research base and art studio as plans move forward.

At an environment and transport committee on 12 March, Wirral Council agreed to lease out several buildings on Hilbre Island near West Kirby to the Hilbre Community Land Trust on a peppercorn rent for 30 years.

This will be a first step to support the trust to establish a base on the island, repair the derelict buildings, and begin plans for the new art studio and research spaces.

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Ridgeway High School judged ‘Good’ by Ofsted in all areas

Ridgeway High School in Noctorum has been judged ‘Good’ in all areas following an official Ofsted inspection across two days at the end of January 2024.

A co-educational school providing quality education for 901 pupils, Ridgeway High School is committed to transforming lives through learning.

Headteacher, Gavin Sterry, described it as “an important milestone on the school’s ongoing journey of improvement and development – another sign that we are on the right track”.

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Details released for Wirral Council £2.2m borough cleanup

New details have been released about a £2.2m spent to help clear up Wirral.

Councillors at a Wirral Council policy and resources committee on 13 February unanimously agreed to spend £2.246m from April until March 2025 on “specific improvement activities that will have a visible impact across the borough.”

This will include improving green spaces, street cleanliness, cleaning gullies and replacing litter bins. Now ahead of a policy and resources committee on 20 March, the council has revealed what it will be spending the money on.

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Partnership to build carbon zero modular housing in Wallasey

Specialist low carbon developer and modular manufacturer, Starship, has announced a significant project in Wallasey, set to deliver one of the largest modular carbon zero housing developments in the North West. 

In partnership with leading North West housing association, Onward Homes, and supported by Homes England, and the Liverpool City Region Brownfield Land Fund, which has allocated £195,000 to the project, Starship will deliver 13 carbon zero homes across a 64,000 sq ft site in Wallasey. 

Constructed using low-carbon Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), the Greenleas project will use eco-friendly construction methods, maximising the performance of the building’s outer layer by prioritising energy efficiency from the start of the design and development process. 

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New Wirral comedy nights will take some topping

A new Wirral comedy night will take some topping with UK circuit acts and delicious pizza all part of a series of hilarious new shows coming to Thornton Hough.

The Slice of Comedy shows will be held on at least four Fridays in 2024 at Thornton Hough Village Club starting with a Smug Roberts headlined night of tasty entertainment on Good Friday, 29 March.

As well as enjoying an MC and three great acts from the UK comedy scene punters will also be able to enjoy freshly made pizza from independent Wirral company Dough Bros.

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Objectors told to ‘behave’ with calls for ‘order’ at planning meeting

Objectors to a controversial car parking plan were told to “behave” with calls for “order” as they interrupted a meeting.

Four people were opposing a planning application change to plans for 10 flats that will see plans for an underground car park become an overground car park at the front.

The flats will now be built on Meols Drive in West Kirby, after a majority of planning committee councillors still supported the changed plans on 14 March.

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Post Office accused of ‘walking away’ from Wirral communities

The Post Office has been accused of “walking away” from local communities as calls grow for three branches to reopen.

Wirral Council’s Conservative Party have called on the local authority to recognise “the immense distress, anguish and grievance caused by the Horizon scandal for Post Masters and Post Mistresses, their families, staff and the wider community” and request three branches on Ford Road in Upton, Saughall Bridge in Moreton, and Grove Road in Wallasey reopen. 

This is set to be debated at a meeting of all councillors on 18 March.

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Tranmere beat league leaders Mansfield

Tranmere Rovers secured victory over league leaders Mansfield Town at Prenton Park on Tuesday evening, courtesy of goals by Regan Hendry and Rob Apter.

Mansfield had the first opportunity of the game seven minutes in, with Will Swan missing a free header in the heart of the six-yard box.

Nevertheless, Rovers broke the deadlock after 12 minutes, as Hendry unleashed a shot from the left flank of the penalty area, beating Christy Pym in the visitors’ goal, following a deft flick from Kieron Morris to provide the assist.

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Norris strike secures Tranmere victory over Wrexham

Tranmere Rovers savoured victory on Derby Day at the STōK Cae Ras, clinching a 1-0 win against Wrexham.

Luke Norris netted the sole goal of the match on nine minutes, outmanoeuvring Andy Cannon to slot the ball past the stranded Arthur Okonkwo in goal.

Despite Wrexham’s persistent efforts for an equaliser throughout the remaining 80 minutes, Nigel Adkins’ squad stood strong, delighting the 1,151 travelling Tranmere supporters as they departed in jubilation.

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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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