Sunday Snippets, 29 October 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.

New West Kirby entrance to Wirral Way unveiled

A new entrance to The Wirral Way has been unveiled to mark the 50th anniversary of the official opening of Wirral Country Park.

Fittingly, the Guest of Honour at the ceremony in West Kirby was Terry Robinson, who was appointed in 1969 as one of the first Wirral Country Park Rangers and who was present at the park’s official opening in 1973.

The gateway features a steam train, to recognise the railway line that once ran between Hooton and West Kirby. The 12-mile railway line, which closed in 1962, now forms the backbone of the park and is used by over half a million people each year.

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Wirral Council owed £15m in council tax arrears

Wirral Council aims to recover more than £15m in debt it is owed by residents and businesses.

According to the council’s unaudited accounts for 2022-23, it is owed £15.6m from council tax and rates from businesses. This is a reduction of nearly £400,000 from 2021 when debts were more than £16m but an increase of £6m compared to 2019.

The latest figures show £4.759m of the debt is less than one year old and nearly half is from the last two years. More than £2.1m has been owed for more than five years, an increase compared to the previous year.

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Kirsty’s ‘Dip a Day’ challenge for Maggie’s Cancer Centre

Thousands have come together to ‘Dip a Day’ in October in support of Maggie’s Cancer Centre across the UK.

Supporters are putting their own stamp on the challenge by some taking a daily dip in the sea, a pool, a cold shower, or event an ice pool.

Maggie’s Wirral supporter, Kirsty, decided to take part in the Maggie’s Dip a Day challenge to support one of her best friends who is currently receiving treatment for breast cancer.

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PREVIEW: Expect a feast of British comedy with ‘Betty Blue Eyes’ at the Gladstone Theatre

I don’t know whether it’s because they were founded in 1950 or because the Austerity Britain of post-WW2 Blighty feels all too relevant, but the West Kirby Musical Theatre Company’s current choice of production is Betty Blue Eyes.

Set in 1947 on the brink of the young Princess Elizabeth’s marriage to Prince Philip, this is a musical reimagining of the Alan Bennet screenplay A Private Function.

Wartime drudgery drags on in rationing and tensions abound as some folk seem to get more meat on their bone than others.

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Council staff to relocate to new offices in spring following interior fit out

The keys to the Mallory and Irvine buildings on Alice Ker Square Birkenhead town centre have now been handed over to the council following a 22-month construction period.

Wirral Council will now look to move employees into a number of floors in the Mallory building by next spring in 2024.

The developments were named after George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, mountaineers who took part in expeditions to Mount Everest with links to Birkenhead.

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LOST unveils Wirral’s newest dining and events experience

The latest addition to Wirral’s dining and events scene, LOST, has opened its doors officially this week with the launch of its first two supper clubs.

The much talked about new venue, which is located in Claremont Courtyard, adjacent to the ever-popular Claremont Farm, welcomed guests to its first Asian Fusion themed dining event with foodie partners Cheeky Chilli, followed by a kitchen takeover with a Latin American vibe courtesy of Matt Hardy and the team from Hardy’s Catering.

Owner, Dave Loughlin, has transformed the ancient barn into a stunning dining and events space, filled with twinkling lights, a feature stone staircase with glass floor and new wrap around mezzanine to create extra seating in the beautiful, beamed loft area.

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REVIEW: Manchester Collective redefines classical music with electrifying fusion at Future Yard

The Manchester Collective is on a mission: to reinvent classical music; mashing up the orchestral with the electric, fusing the traditional with the liturgical.

“That’s all we’ve ever done, played with sound,” admits Alan Keary, multi-instrumentalist on the current LAD tour, which reimagines music from Hildegard von Bingen to Steve Reich for violin, shruti box and bass guitar.

With a fluid line-up, the Manchester Collective made their Prom debut in 2021 and are the current artists in residence at the Southbank Centre. With a tour of North America next year, it’s a treat to see them in Birkenhead.

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Audit committee satisfied with West Kirby sea wall project

A watchdog council committee said it was satisfied the costs and contracts for the West Kirby sea wall were “in accordance with the law.”

The West Kirby flood alleviation scheme, a huge 1.1km project, aims to protect 70 properties along the coastal town’s seafront on the Wirral as well as save lives. However, it came under fire for its rising costs and impact of construction on businesses in the area.

Businesses in West Kirby said the loss of car parking spaces during the construction turned it into a ghost turn though one councillor said he had never seen the town’s marine lake so busy now the wall is complete.

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Five shared-ownership apartments available at former Heswall church site

The site of a former church in Wirral has been given a new lease of life after being transformed into 23 apartments, with five available to purchase on a shared ownership basis.

Auxesia Homes has acquired the five low-cost home ownership apartments in Heswall, after securing a £600,000 bridging loan from specialist lender Together.

Housing association, Auxesia Homes, is a Registered Provider of affordable homes, regulated by the Regulator of Social Housing. It provides affordable good-quality homes in collaboration with housebuilder partners.

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Councillors ‘kept in the dark’ over Birkenhead plans

Councillors say they are being “kept in the dark” over Wirral Council’s plans for Birkenhead.

Wirral Council is currently reviewing its plans for a new home for Birkenhead Market and has so far spent £24,000 on plans to relocate it to the former Argos.

Previous plans had been put forward for a brand new market facility on the site of a former House of Fraser site on Grange Road in the town.

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Top tips for choosing safe Halloween costumes for your kids

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is asking families to dress their loved ones safely and to understand the fire safety risks involved on Halloween.

Many Halloween and fancy dress costumes are classed as toys, meaning they can ignite quicker and burn faster – posing a significant risk to those wearing them.

It is crucial that parents and caregivers take particular care with their loved ones wearing costumes around heat sources and naked flames, such as candles, fires, lighters and matches.

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Hospice heroes honoured for 40 years of volunteering

Each year Wirral Hospice St John’s invites teams of its staff and volunteers, to thank them for their dedicated service in five-year intervals.

In this special year, the hospice is celebrating forty years at the heart of our Wirral community, around 60 people were invited to receive their well-deserved recognition.

Each invitee receives a commemorative certificate and a star pin badge with the number of years served shining out from them. The celebrations were held in The Little Fox function room in Thornton Hough.

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The Harry Beswick prepares to open in Heswall

A leading North West brewery and pub retailer is putting the finishing touches to its newest premium pub and dining destination outlet.

Signage has been installed at The Harry Beswick in Heswall, and new recruits are undergoing onsite training as the £3.6M new pub restaurant prepares to open its doors to the public in a few weeks.

The opening of The Harry Beswick has created 55 full and part-time jobs in the Heswall area, ranging from management and front-of-house team to chefs, bar supervisors, and cleaning staff. 

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Historic New Brighton painting fetches £22,680 at auction

A historically important painting of New Brighton sold for a winning bid of £18,000 (£22,680 including fees) at auction at Dreweatts this week in their Modern and Contemporary Art sale.

The painting was sold to a private buyer from the UK.

The auction took place on Wednesday, 25 October and the New Brighton work was one of four in the sale by Lancashire-born British artist Helen Layfield Bradley MBE (1900-1979).

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Funeral takes place for M53 school bus crash victim, Jessica Baker

A funeral was held on Friday for Jessica Baker, the 15-year-old girl who died in the school coach incident on the M53.

On 29 September, Jessica Baker and the driver, Stephen Shrimpton, aged 40, lost their lives when the vehicle lost control on the M53 in Wirral.

The funeral took place at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Blacon, Chester, and the venue was full with those paying their respects.

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Raindance Film Festival premieres inspirational story of Tranmere Rovers fan

A Merseyside independent film featuring a Tranmere Rovers supporter is set to premiere in London as part of the Raindance Film Festival.

This comedy-drama chronicles the Reillys, a working-class family embracing adversity with humour.

Twelve-year-old Laura aspires to become a professional footballer, with her older brother Thomas (pictured above at Prenton Park) as her hero.

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Swimmers rally to keep ‘beautiful’ marine lake open to the public

Wirral swimmers are rallying to keep their ‘beautiful’ marine lake open to the public after £40m development plans were revealed.

Swimmers in New Brighton Marine Lake have raised concerns about the future of free public access as the lake is the centre of different proposals by Wirral Council that make up its masterplan for the waterfront.

The plan will help guide developments on the Wirral over the next two decades as part of its draft local plan. Various different proposals for the waterfront include new hotels, terraces, spas, and other facilities as well as a new lido or outdoor swimming pool in the lake that could cost up to £40m.

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Stockport dominate Tranmere in 2-0 victory

Tranmere Rovers suffered a 2-0 loss to Stockport County, the current leaders of League Two, at Edgeley Park.

Isaac Oloafe notched his 11th league goal of the season within the opening five minutes, elegantly slotting home a through ball from Odin Bailey.

Harvey Saunders received two yellow cards, one before and one after half-time, for fouls committed against Macauley Southam-Hales.

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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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