Sunday Snippets, 21 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.

Government inspectorate overturns Wirral Council decision on Cherry Tree parking cameras

Controversial cameras that have fined thousands of people will be allowed to stay in a blow to campaigners who argued they have hurt their high street.

The number plate recognition cameras were introduced in 2021 in the car park of the Cherry Tree shopping centre in Liscard but have been massively controversial with people arguing it has driven them away from the town centre.

Blue badge holders claimed they were being charged large fines for parking in the car park and Smart Parking who operate the cameras were accused of “preying on people’s misery”.

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Plans for dockside ‘village’ could take step forward

Wirral Council is expected to take the next step on plans to build a new “village” including a dockside restaurant, shops, and art studios at Wirral Waters.

Egerton Village is a proposal by Peel L&P, the developer behind the Wirral Waters developments on the Birkenhead docks, to provide a dockside restaurant, bistro, a coffee shop, retail units, artist studios, workspaces as well as an outdoor event space. If it goes ahead, the project is estimated to create 49 full-time equivalent new jobs.

Planning permission was granted in 2019 for the development and councillors are now being recommended on 22 January to allow officers to change an agreement the local authority has with Peel L&P to move the development forward. This is subject to a number of conditions to ensure the funding is lawful and reduce any risks to Wirral Council.

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Mayor opens CH41 photography exhibition at Birkenhead Central Library

A new photographic exhibition entitled CH41 was opened by the Mayor of Wirral at Birkenhead Central Library on Thursday, 18 January, and is to run for two weeks.

The exhibition features work by members of The Wirral Spider Project Photographic Group, and all of the photographs taken within the CH41 postcode.

The project was curated by photographer and poet Michelle Wright who approached photography tutor Andrew Millar at the Wirral Spider Project based in Hamilton Square, which encourages recovery and well being through the arts.

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Port Sunlight Village Trust welcomes new Chair as charity marks 25 years

The charity responsible for preserving and promoting the historic village of Port Sunlight is not only celebrating its 25th birthday in 2024, but it also announced experienced housing sector leader Andrew Bowden as its new Chair of the Board.

Port Sunlight Village Trust preserves and promotes the Wirral village, known for being built by William Lever from 1888 to provide housing for ‘Sunlight Soap’ factory workers.

PSVT is private landlord to under a third of the village’s houses, public and commercial buildings, and cares for its significant monuments and over 130 acres of parkland and gardens.

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£35m plans to ‘revitalise Birkenhead’ expected to take final step with awarding of contracts

Nearly £35m plans to “revitalise Birkenhead” are expected to take their final step as Wirral Council plans to award two contracts.

Wirral Council is expected to appoint two contractors later this year to carry out construction work on two major schemes that would see the Birkenhead waterfront as well as its main high street developed.

The projects have funding of £34.5m made up of government grants, private sector investment, and active travel funds. £11.9m is set aside for changes to the Charing Cross junction at the top of Grange Road with part of Grange Road West reduced to one lane as well as new footpaths and cycle routes around Conway Street and Europa Boulevard.

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Claire House calls for more volunteers

Claire House Children’s Hospice is appealing for new volunteers to kickstart the new year.

The charity is offering people the chance to give back to the community and do something amazing by helping their local children’s hospice. And the benefits to the volunteers themselves are huge, whether that be taking up a new hobby, becoming more active or learning new skills.

Amy Harrison, Head of Volunteering at Claire House, said, “Claire House wouldn’t be who we are today without our volunteers.”

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Council has to find £1.3m to plug Liscard funding gap

Wirral Council needs to find an extra £1.3m to regenerate Liscard town centre.

The council was awarded £10.79m in 2023 to revamp Liscard town centre in the third round of levelling up funding. The council had bid for a total of £12.34m for the work they want to do in the town.

The bid focused on improving shop fronts, as well as changing key road junctions and “unlocking high-quality residential development in Liscard Village by addressing its viability gap.”

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Van hire company set to use key regeneration site instead of seafront for parking

A van hire company has agreed not to park its vehicles on a Wirral road after it was criticised for taking over a popular visitor destination.

Wirral Council has agreed “a course of action” with West Wallasey Van Hire (WWVH) with final details being hashed out for it to use vacant council land earmarked for regeneration in Wallasey for two years. As part of this, WWVH will agree not to use public highways to park its vehicles.

Vehicles linked to WWVH have been seen parked on Kings Parade in Wallasey in recent months leading to widespread anger on social media.

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Watchdog praises Wirral Council progress

Wirral Council has been told it feels “more like a normal council” as a watchdog panel praises progress made by the local authority.

The Independent Assurance Panel was set up in 2021 by the UK Government to oversee and provide advice on the running and finances at Wirral Council following two critical reports into the way it made decisions and an inability to balance its budget.

The panel is made up of leading councillors as well as local government professionals and is meant “to act as a critical friend”.

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Former Bromborough MoD site could see 250 new homes

A former Ministry of Defence site linked to plans for new homes has been put up for sale.

The large site is based off Old Hall Road in Bromborough and was previously used by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to store oil. 249 homes could be built on the site and is linked to plans on a site next door at Riverside Park which has permission for 217.

When the plans were approved by Wirral Council, councillors were told the applications would be an “exciting step forward for both of the sites” and a “major regeneration and planning opportunity.” It was also praised for its use of a brownfield site, land previously developed though some concerns were raised.

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LGBT+ groups in Wirral encouraged to apply for community fund

LCR Pride Foundation, the region’s LGBT+ charity, has unveiled a major three-year partnership with long-standing supporter Barclays.

Barclays have supported the LCR Pride Foundation since it was established in 2019, initially as Headline Sponsor for Pride in Liverpool and continuing that support through the difficulties posed by Covid-19, where working together funds were used to support grass-roots organisations to continue their work in challenging times.

In addition to supporting the regional charity carry out its year-round work, this new partnership will have three main focuses which have been shaped by the work the two organisations have delivered together over the years.

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Family pay tribute to ‘beautiful soul’ who died in Bromborough collision

The family of a man who died in a road traffic collision in Bromborough on Wednesday, 10 January, have issued a tribute.

Jason Threlfall, aged 36, was tragically killed in a collision at the junction of Stadium Road and Commercial Road after it was reported that his motorbike had been in collision with a Kia Sportage car.

The driver of the Kia Sportage car stopped at the scene.

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Councillor slams ‘absurd decision’ on office names

A Wirral councillor has slammed an “absurd decision” by the local authority to not name its two new offices after Everest explorers.

Wirral Council had heavily publicised the new buildings in Alice Ker Square in Birkenhead would be 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 later confirmed to the LDRS the two buildings’ official names will be 2 and 4 Alice Ker Square, stating this was “in line with council policy that ‘all new properties shall be assigned numbers rather than names.’”

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Wirral Council advances £40m Birkenhead Heat Network plans

A £20,000 fine warning has been issued after new reports of plants being pulled or dug up on a Wirral beach.

In recent weeks, there have been reports of plants along the beach in Hoylake being pulled or dug up and later left on the beach, the promenade, or slipways. This is despite the fact any removal of vegetation without permission on the beach is against the law.

The alleged activity is linked to the ongoing controversy over the future management of the beach. Wirral Council stopped management of the beach in 2019 including the use of weed killer glyphosate following heavy criticism but this has left the community divided on its future.

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Reminder of £20k fine amid concern over uprooted plants on Hoylake beach

A £20,000 fine warning has been issued after new reports of plants being pulled or dug up on a Wirral beach.

In recent weeks, there have been reports of plants along the beach in Hoylake, Wirral being pulled or dug up and later left on the beach, the promenade, or slipways. This is despite the fact any removal of vegetation without permission on the beach is against the law.

The alleged activity is linked to the ongoing controversy over the future management of the beach. Wirral Council stopped management of the beach in 2019 including the use of weed killer glyphosate following heavy criticism but this has left the community divided on its future.

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Wirral Council returns £9m in funding as high interest rates derail Maritime Knowledge Hub plans

Wirral Council will hand nearly £9m back as it financially backs out of £25m plans for a maritime research hub.

The local authority had previously committed to funding plans for a new maritime research centre renovating the Central Hydraulic Tower on the Birkenhead docks.

Peel Waters, who are developing the docks as part of the UK’s largest regeneration project, said it would be “a pioneering regeneration project which will offer so much to the UK’s maritime sector” and look at reducing emissions in the maritime sector.

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Four more Wirral Family hubs to open this month

Families are invited to the launch of four more Family Hubs opening in Wirral this January.

Wirral’s Family Hubs are based in the heart of communities and have been created to make services and support easily accessible to the people who need them.

The hubs provide a welcoming space and operate under a ‘single front door’ model, for families with children aged 0-19 (up to age 25 with SEND). They bring together existing family help services in one place to improve access to, and relationships between, families and the agencies who can help and support them.

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Council considering splitting former Birkenhead Wilko store into smaller units

Wirral Council is looking at whether it can split a former Wilko store into smaller units to attract more businesses into Birkenhead.

The former store is based in the Europa Centre in the town centre and closed in early October after Wilko went into administration in 2023. This has left Wirral Council, which owns the entire building, facing a £200,000 loss in the current financial year.

In November 2017, Wirral Council made the decision to buy the Europa Centre as part of its plans to regenerate Birkenhead for £8.4m and currently expects to recover the lost income from Wilko in the next financial year.

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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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