Sunday Snippets, 19 November 2023

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.

Wirral takes centre stage in new BBC and ITVX productions

Wirral is the backdrop for new comedies and drama making it big on the small screen.

Such Brave Girls (pictured – Kat Sadler, Louise Brealey and Lizzie Davidson) is due to be available from Wednesday, 22 November at 10pm on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.

Directed by Simon Bird (from the award-winning comedy The Inbetweeners), the production was based out of the old Pensby High School for boys and filmed across Thingwall, Heswall, and West Kirby.

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Free parking in Wirral for Small Business Saturday

Parking charges will be lifted across Wirral to help support local high streets for Small Business Saturday on 2 December.

The move aims to help local shops and businesses at one of the busiest times of the year as they gear up for Christmas.

In addition, in areas where there are council car parks, they will be made “free after 3” on key dates to support local Christmas celebration events.

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Eureka! Science + Discovery celebrates first birthday and 100,000th visitor

Wirral’s Eureka! Science + Discovery marks its first birthday as it welcomes its 100,000th visitor, cementing its status as one of the borough’s major tourist attractions. 

To celebrate the one-year milestone, the children and young people who helped co-create the attraction through their schools, The Hive youth zone, plus Seacombe Children’s centre and other local service providers, will be invited back to ensure they can see what they helped to create. 

On the eve of Wirral’s year as Borough of Culture in 2024, the milestone reveals how the centre is providing a pull for visitors from the wider city region and beyond.

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Leverhulme planning enquiry costs Wirral £350k

A controversial developer has been criticised after it was revealed that a housing inquiry cost Wirral Council more than £350,000.

A total of £362,303 was spent defending the decision by Wirral Council to reject seven planning applications to build 788 homes across Wirral’s greenbelt by Leverhulme Estates.

Leverhulme had gone to the planning inspectorate asking them to overturn the decision via a lengthy inquiry, which took place over May, June, and July.

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Wellington Road Art Studios to host ‘Made for Christmas’ event

Wellington Road Art Studios, now in its 13th year, is once again throwing open the doors for a festive “Welly Road Welcome”, that’s especially Made for Christmas.

Made for Christmas is sure to be a feast for the senses and six talented residents and selected guests invite the public to join them on the last weekend in November.

Experience a truly eclectic group of artists and craftspeople displaying beautiful work and handcrafted gifts under one roof, warmed by winter spiced apple juice or a tot of mulled wine. Artists will be on hand throughout the weekend demonstrating their processes and promoting future workshops.

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Plans submitted for 115 houses in Bromborough

More than one hundred houses could be built next to a riverside park in Wirral if new plans are given the go ahead.

The 115 houses would be built off Dock Road North next to the Port Sunlight River Park in Bromborough, if an application by by Asteer Planning LLP is approved. 42 of the houses will be affordable with a mix of two- and three-bedroom houses.

The development would be built on the banks of the Dibbinsdale Brook and is considered to be previously developed brownfield land. This would mean that if approved, it would contribute to Wirral’s housing supply for the next two decades as Wirral Council looked to focus on brownfield development.

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The Zutons announce Future Yard gig ahead of new album release

The Zutons have announced details of their first album together for 16 years.

The Big Decider will be released on 26 April 2024 and was recorded at Abbey Road Studios with legendary songwriter and producer Nile Rodgers, alongside the band’s original producer Ian Broudie.

The multi-platinum selling band released three studio albums between 2004 and 2008, scoring 9 UK Top 40 singles including two Top 10s with ‘Why Won’t You Give Me Your Love?’ and the all-conquering ‘Valerie’, the latter a triple-platinum hit for Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse.

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Wirral charity receives The King’s Award for Voluntary Service

Wirral charity the Friends of Flaybrick has received The King’s Award for Voluntary Service (KAVS).

It is the highest award that a local voluntary group can receive in the UK, and it is equivalent to an MBE. The Friends of Flaybrick is one of 262 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups from across the country to receive the prestigious award this year.

QAVS, as it was originally named, was created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Following his coming to the throne last year, King Charles III emphasised his desire to continue the award. Representatives of the Friends of Flaybrick will receive the KAVS crystal and certificate from Mark Blundell who is the Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside and the King’s representative in the county, early in 2024.

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Cammell Laird welcomes 50 first year apprentices

Cammell Laird and The Engineering College have welcomed 50 first year apprentices following a successful recruitment campaign.

Building on the success of previous years, this group of apprentices will undertake their training and education with The Engineering College including spending the first year of their apprenticeship in the college’s industry standard workshops, learning the foundations of their trade alongside skilled tutors.

The new apprentices include 19 platers, 20 welders, six mechanical, two pipe, two shipwrights and one rigger.

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Council tax generated in Wirral could rise by £31m over next five years

Council tax generated in Wirral could rise by £31m over the next five years.

A new Wirral Council report has been published updating councillors on its budget for the next financial year, the challenges it faces in balancing it, potential future funding for the local authority, and how it will cut back on its spending. This is ahead of a meeting on 21 November.

In the next financial year, the council expects to face a £10.5m pressure due to the cost of adult social care rising, £2m from its new offices, £1.8m due to the Floral Pavilion, £5m due to pay and pensions costs, and £3.5m to linked to funding for building projects. The cost of looking after children could be up to £2.5m more next year if costs and the number needing care increases.

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Paving the way for male midwives on International Men’s Day

As International Men’s Day approaches, Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH) celebrates the journey and contributions of Dave Farmer, Head of Midwifery, challenging the status quo as a male midwife and paving the way for inclusivity within the field of midwifery. 

With less than 200 male midwives across the UK, comprising less than 0.5% of the entire workforce, Dave Farmer stands as WUTH’s only male midwife. He started his career in the healthcare sector in 1985 as a paramedic before following his passion to become a midwife.  

“I joined the health service in 1985. I was a paramedic first and it was during that time that I thought ‘I need something different’. I delivered babies in my role as a paramedic and I thought it was just something I wanted to do.” 

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Charity ball raises £35k for Claire House

David Wilson Homes recently added £35,000 to the fundraising pot for its charity of the year, Claire House Children’s Hospice in Wirral.

The Merseyside housebuilder hosted a charity ball at the Marriott Worsley Park Hotel in Manchester, which featured a variety of fundraising activities for the children’s hospice.

It was the second annual ball that David Wilson Homes has hosted to raise vital funds for the children’s hospice. This year’s theme was ‘The Greatest Showman’, and featured a raffle and bingo for all attendees.

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Plaque unveiled at Landican Cemetery in memory of lost babies

Families unable to find their loved ones for decades said they’ve “reached a milestone” as a new memorial plaque is unveiled.

The plaque sits in the centre of the baby memorial garden in Landican Cemetery after months of campaigning by family members and mothers of babies that were born dead. It is there to “commemorate all babies lost” including those “whose resting place is unknown or who have no memorial.”

Before the 1980s, it was common practice across the UK that when a woman had a miscarriage or a stillbirth, hospital staff would quickly take the baby away. Families were sometimes told that if they quickly had another child and didn’t see the baby, they’d get over it.

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Maritime Knowledge Hub plans undergo rethink following interest rate rises

A major developer is rethinking a £25m project in Wirral after huge interest rate rises linked to the Liz Truss administration.

The Maritime Knowledge Hub is a major project to transform the old Hydraulic Tower on the Birkenhead docks which has been derelict for over 50 years. Peel L&P, the developer behind the project, said it could bring in 4,000 jobs and would be “a symbol of the renaissance of the east bank on the Wirral”.

The plan is to turn the building into “a world class centre of excellence, focused on job creation, innovation, engineering, R&D, entrepreneurship and training” to make shipping more environmentally friendly.

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Consultation launches on Wirral bus route changes

Monday, 13 November saw the start of a two-week consultation on potential changes to the routes of two bus services in Wirral.

These potential changes would see the 16 and 17 bus services – which operate between Moreton and Eastham Rake – diverted to cover parts of the route taken by the 418 service which is proposed to be withdrawn by operator Arriva.

People are being invited to take part in an online survey to make their views heard. Merseytravel staff will also be speaking directly to passengers on-board a number of 16 and 17 services about the potential route changes in order to gather feedback.

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Replacement gas pipe to be installed under Arrowe Brook Road

One hundred metres of new gas pipe is to be installed under Arrowe Brook Road following investigations after a leak in the 70-year-old pipe.

Cadent, which manages the local gas network, has explored several options to repair the underground iron gas main. It has been decided to completely replace the pipe, which runs for around 100 metres – around the length of a football pitch – under the road.

Specialist teams will lay the new pipe and commission it, before decommissioning the old pipe. This means that gas will stay on throughout the work.

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Paul O’Grady celebrated with Honorary Freedom of the Borough in private ceremony

The late Paul O’Grady has been recognised for his achievements with the Honorary Freedom of the Borough in his hometown of Birkenhead.

During a private ceremony held in Birkenhead Town Hall on 14 November 2023, Paul’s husband Andre, sister Sheila, daughter Sharyn and grandchildren gathered to receive the award on his behalf, before a civic dinner for invited guests.

The family were joined by the Mayor and Mayoress of Wirral, the Leader of Wirral Council, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside (Mr Robert Owen) as well as other family members, and close friends.

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Memorial hall to be demolished for new flats in Wallasey

A memorial hall in Wirral commemorating those who died during World War One will be demolished and replaced with 33 flats.

The Memorial Hall located next to Saint Luke’s Church on Mill Lane in Wallasey will be taken down after Wirral Council gave permission for it to be replaced with 33 new apartments on the site.

It was built as a memorial to those who died during the First World War but after being left to rot over 20 years, its new owners said it was too expensive to bring back into use.

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Wirral Met College student honoured at Buckingham Palace for humanitarian work

Wirral Met student Maha Khalifa was recognised for her exceptional contribution to humanitarian causes at a special reception on 8 November at Buckingham Palace.

The event, hosted by the King and Queen, commemorated the UK’s commitment to humanitarianism, bringing together distinguished guests, including frontline workers, fundraisers, and those impacted by crises.

Maha Khalifa, currently enrolled in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Level 1 Functional Skills at Wirral Met College, earned her invitation in acknowledgement of her exemplary voluntary work supporting asylum seekers and refugees across Merseyside.

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Battle lines drawn in Wirral West ahead of general election

Key battle lines are being drawn as candidates make their case in Wirral West ahead of a looming general election.

Voters will choose their next MP sometime before January 2025 but it could be as early as spring next year and due to boundary changes, the Wirral will only have three MPs going forward rather than the current four.

The last general election in 2019 in Wirral West saw Labour MP Margaret Greenwood re-elected with 48.2% of the vote, 7% ahead of the Conservatives in what has previously been a swing seat. Despite Labour’s current consistent polling lead of around 20%, the race in Wirral West could be tighter than in previous years as Conservative areas like Heswall and Clatterbridge join a reshaped constituency.

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Seacombe and Egremont lights up for festive season

Seacombe and Egremont Christmas Lights Switch-on took place on Friday, 10 November, with festive fun starting with a free community event in The Seacombe Family Hub.

Cllr Paul Stuart, Leader of Wirral Council, The Voice of Egremont, and staff at The Seacombe Family Hub, organised the event for local families, providing refreshments and activities, and welcomed children to meet Father Christmas.  The event was followed by the official ‘Switch-on’ by Wirral Mayor, Cllr Jerry Williams, Dame Angela Eagle MP, and Council Leader, Cllr Paul Stuart. 

This was an enormous addition to the previous festive display along King Street, with Christmas Lights running along Brighton Street and Church Road, down to Seacombe Ferry – providing over a mile of illuminations from Seacombe Ferry to Trafalgar Road.

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Late equaliser dashes Tranmere’s hopes of victory

Tranmere Rovers secured a 1-1 draw against Sutton United, as a late equaliser nullified Rovers’ early lead.

In the opening minutes, Tranmere dominated possession, and their first opportunity arose ten minutes into the game. Tom Davies delivered a long ball over the Sutton defence to Connor Jennings, who set up Kristian Dennis, but Dean Bouzanis made a crucial save.

The breakthrough for Rovers came 17 minutes into the match when Rob Apter’s cross found the back of the net after a deflection.

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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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