Sunday Snippets, 18 February 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.

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.

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Wirral council tax likely to rise following unanimous budget support

Everyone who pays Council Tax in Wirral should expect to see a rise in April with average households seeing a nearly £90 increase.

The change is expected to be approved later this month in a vote by all Wirral councillors at a meeting on 26 February after it got the unanimous endorsement and support of all political parties at a senior Policy and Resources committee on 13 February.

The local authority is looking to save £12.4m in the next financial year from April and said the tax rise on top of this would be needed to avoid cuts to frontline services.

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Signed copy of Paul McCartney book sells for £1,000 after being donated to West Kirby Oxfam

A first-edition, signed copy of Sir Paul McCartney’s book ‘Paintings’ has sold for an impressive £1,000 after being donated to a local Oxfam shop. 

The hard-back book – which showcases the Beatles’ singer’s artwork collection – was generously donated to Oxfam’s West Kirby shop last month by one of their regular shoppers.

The generous donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has become known locally as the ‘Autograph Man’ for gifting several signed objects to the shop.

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Higher than forecast tidal surge at West Kirby leaves council unable to close all floodgates in time

Wirral Council was not able to close the gates of its £20m West Kirby sea wall in time after receiving a flood alert, leaving water spilling out onto the road.

The local authority said a high tide tidal surge at noon on 12 February was higher than initial forecasts and as a result, “it was too late to close the majority of the flood gates” installed to seal gaps in the flood defence that ordinarily provide access to West Kirby’s promenade when there is no risk of flooding.

The sea wall was built between April 2022 and finished in September 2023 with a final budget of £19.7m to protect seafront properties in West Kirby from flooding. The costs were much higher than initial forecasts which the council said was due to unexpected issues with the promenade itself, problems relocating the RNLI, design costs, and inflation.

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West Kirby RNLI called out for back-to-back kite surfer rescues over two days

On Monday, 12 February, West Kirby RNLI were called out to rescue a kite surfer who had got into difficulty and had become too exhausted to self-recover, after a similar call out the day before.

Just after midday on Monday, a member of the public called 999 after spotting a kite surfer in difficulty and unable to recover themselves.

The casualty had been caught in the fast-moving tide and strong winds and was blown into West Kirby Marine Lake quickly becoming exhausted. The volunteer lifeboat crew immediately launched at 12.12pm and managed to reach the casualty in just four minutes.

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Taxi driver showcases Birkenhead’s disappearing history

As black cabs on the Wirral say they’re seeing a drop in trade, one driver has turned his time spent waiting outside Birkenhead’s ASDA to capture Birkenhead’s lost buildings.

Barry Bolton has been a taxi driver for 34 years but only started drawing about 13 years ago after his wife died and his children grew up.

Now when he goes to pick up customers, many of them ask what project he’s working on for the day. Over the years he has drawn landmarks such as Birkenhead Park, the town’s Priory, Port Sunlight, Hooton Station, the town’s lost Doll’s Hospital, and various lost pubs that dot the town centre.

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Council to spend more than £2m improving Wirral to get ‘basics right’

Wirral Council will spend more than £2m over the next year to “tackle the things that people complain to us about the most.”

Councillors at a policy and resources committee have unanimously agreed to create a £1m project fund for the next financial year from April 2024 as well as add an additional £246,000 that would be generated from closing Wallasey Town Hall until 2025. According to a report, this will be spent on “specific improvement activities that will have a visible impact across the Borough.”

The local authority said it can afford to spend the money between April 2024 and March 2025 due to reduced inflation and a much smaller gap in its budget compared to previous years.

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Bebington community group teams up with Merseyrail to make a difference

Two Wirral stations are getting a makeover thanks to the hard work of a local community group who have teamed up with Merseyrail and a number of local schools.

The Love Bebington community group recently adopted Bebington and Spital stations. Working in partnership with Merseyrail, work to transform both train stations is well underway.

The group have already installed planters, troughs and artwork at Bebington station, all of which have been sponsored by Merseyrail and local firms. Now the aim is to get students from local schools in the Bebington area to provide artwork to be displayed around the station.

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Nettle Cafe to be new home of bookshop

The Oxton Bookshop, based at the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum and welcoming the community for nine years, recently closed. 

In December 2023 the new Williamson management was appointed and as part of a new artistic policy, the decision to close the Oxton Bookshop was made. Moira Young the owner of the book store was devastated by the decision but was determined to find somewhere new to house the bookshop asset.  

Nettle Café is nestled within the vibrant enclave of Make Hamilton on Cleveland Street off Hamilton Square. With an unwavering dedication to sustainability, holistic wellness, and community engagement, the café has emerged as a destination not simply for coffee and lunch but also as a hub for the community. Now, in its next venture, it is the new home for the Oxton Bookshop. 

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Birkenhead shopping centre purchase ‘a success story’ according to councillors

The multi-million pound purchase of two major shopping centres has led to Birkenhead “becoming quite vibrant again,” it has been claimed.

In May last year, Wirral Council forked out more than £10m to purchase the Pyramids and Grange shopping centres as part of wide-ranging regeneration plans. Almost 12 months on, senior councillors have argued the move has paid off with reported increase footfall across both sites.

Cllr Paul Stuart, Labour leader of the authority, said the purchases had been a “success story” for the council.

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Wallasey Golf Club’s Abi Frodsham receives prestigious award

Wallasey Golf Club’s Abi Frodsham picked up the England Golf Volunteer of the Year award for 2024 at Tuesday’s England Golf Centenary Dinner & Awards at The Midland Manchester Hotel.

Abi has delivered golf in nine schools to over 500 children, and as acting Junior Organiser at Wallasey, she marketed and delivered the Girls Golf Rocks programme and follow-on sessions.

At Leasowe, Abi supported community sessions for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and has volunteered with Liverpool Football Club Foundation at LJMU Game On girls’ campaign, inspiring young girls in Liverpool into sport.

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Late heartbreak as Tranmere lose to Morecambe

Morecambe staged a comeback from a two-goal deficit to secure a dramatic 3-2 victory against Tranmere at Prenton Park on Tuesday evening.

Rob Apter slotted home a pass from Harvey Saunders to open the scoring, followed by Connor Jennings nailing his tenth goal of the season from the penalty spot after Saunders was fouled.

Morecambe swiftly responded as Charlie Brown struck a precise shot into the top corner four minutes later. Substitute Jordan Slew levelled the score at 2-2 ten minutes from the end.

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Tranmere thrash league leaders Stockport

Tranmere Rovers secured a 4-0 victory against league leaders Stockport County at Prenton Park on Saturday afternoon.

There was one change from the Tuesday evening lineup, as Brad Walker returned from injury, taking the place of Reece McAlear.

The match kicked off with Rovers displaying early enthusiasm. Rob Apter and Regan Hendry delivered early crosses from the right and left, but Stockport successfully cleared their lines each time.

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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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