Sunday Snippets, 5 May 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.

Plans for new U-boat museum at Woodside given greenlight

Plans to create a new museum, café, and bar on the Woodside waterfront have been given the final sign off.

In October 2023, Big Heritage CIC, which runs the Western Approaches museum in Liverpool, revealed its plans to revamp and completely transform the U-Boat Story Museum in Birkenhead.

The project is being funded by part of a £19.6m levelling up grant which looks to introduce a new green space, improve the Woodside ferry terminal, and create a new international Battle of the Atlantic attraction.

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Former Birkenhead Marks and Spencer store to host art exhibition

A new art exhibition is to take place in the former Marks and Spencer store in the Grange Precinct, Birkenhead.

The Town is the Gallery programme is about making arts and culture a part of the everyday. Creating accessible ways for communities to engage and be enriched through the arts.

Ryan Gauge and Andrew Shaw, the co-directors of Convenience Gallery, who are organising the exhibition said, “It is our most ambitious programme to date and will create art access across the town of Birkenhead and wider Wirral across a number of partnered venues.”

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Bid to protect swimmers from pollution at coastal resort

New Brighton beach could be protected from sewage pollution if a new bid is successful.

Swimmers in New Brighton are launching a campaign to see the banks of the River Mersey near the resort given bathing water status. They say this will help protect tourists and summer visitors from any potential sewage pollution in the river.

There are currently four bathing waters in Wirral; at Meols, Moreton, Wallasey, and West Kirby.

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Greasby woman calls on government to apologise to ‘grieving parents’

Calls have been made for the government to apologise for a practice that “left grieving parents with nowhere to visit their buried children.”

Before the 1980s, it is understood to have been 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.

In Wirral, awareness has been raised by a campaign by Gina Jacobs and other mothers who want an apology from the government for the practice which meant they were never allowed to see their children before they were taken away from them.

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Community group said it feels ‘gutted on a daily basis’ passing closed Bromborough library

The leader of a Wirral community group said she feels “gutted on a daily basis” as she passes a boarded-up library that has been put up for sale.

In July 2023, Wirral Council decided to sell off Bromborough Civic Centre after over a year of uncertainty following a council decision to close it in February the year before. There had been hopes the centre would be able to reopen under private hands with two highly rated bids put forward to take it over.

Despite Labour and Conservative councillors previously campaigning to see it reopen, both parties voted to sell the community centre off after council officers had made it “absolutely abundantly clear” it should be sold to support the council financially.

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Manager of troubled Wallasey nursing home struck off

The manager of a nursing home that has been in special measures for three years has been struck off.

Sandrock Nursing Home in Wallasey has been rated inadequate four times and placed in special measures by the Care Quality Commission since April 2021.

Before this, it had been in and out of being rated inadequate since June 2017 though it was rated as good in April 2019.

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Oxton village gets set to host Wirral’s biggest one-day event

Over 4,000 visitors are expected to descend on Oxton village on Sunday, 12 May, where 22 ‘secret’ gardens will open their gates to the public.

Now in its 23rd year, the Secret Gardens of Oxton has become the biggest one-day event in Wirral where garden lovers and families can follow a trail around the village and see what’s behind some of the conservation area’s sandstone walls.

Local shops, bars and restaurants will showcase their wares alongside 28 artisan craft and street food stalls, including homemade cakes and plants. Musicians and singers will provide a backdrop of entertainment and children’s activities include games and a treasure hunt.

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Judy & Liza ‘Stepping Out’ at Floral Pavilion

A dazzling and heart-warming stage show charting the careers and relationship between Hollywood mother and daughter Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli, is stepping out on a UK tour this month at venues across the UK.

Captivating audiences for over a decade, Judy & Liza will embark on a tour in May and June 2024 opening for a week at Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre from 28 May to 2 June 2024 before heading to Abergavenny, Cardiff, Runcorn, Middlesborough, Alnwick, Chequer Mead, Shrewsbury, New Brighton, and Leeds.

Judy & Liza is produced by Bill Elms Productions and On Song Productions; created and written by West End performer Emma Dears who appears as Liza Minnelli; with Francis Goodhand as musical director.

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Firm apologises after soapy water ‘incorrectly diverted’ into river

A Wirral firm has apologised after soapy water was “incorrectly diverted” into an already polluted river.

On 23 April, works to help deliver a new project at the Unilever Soap Powder Factory in Port Sunlight resulted in a foam discharge being pumped into the Dibbinsdale Brook in Bromborough.

This was immediately reported to the Environment Agency by Unilever and the firm said they took immediate action to address the issue.

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New South Wirral High School headteacher ‘honoured’ to take on role

The governing body of South Wirral High School in Eastham has announced that Mr Mike Cloherty has been appointed the new Headteacher next month, following a rigorous selection process.

Mr Cloherty has carried out the role of Acting Headteacher since September during and after current headteacher, Mr Goodwin’s absence. Mr Goodwin will continue to work in education, both locally and across the region.

Mr Goodwin said, “I am really pleased to pass the torch of leadership to Mr Cloherty, with whom I share a passionate ambition to develop the potential of all the students in our school.”

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Enchanting outdoor performance ‘Our Secret Garden’ comes to Birkenhead Park

Families and children of all ages are invited to embark on a magical journey through “Our Secret Garden,” a captivating outdoor performance set to take place in Birkenhead Park on Saturday, 18 May.

Presented by Tuckshop Dance Theatre, “Our Secret Garden” promises to be a delightful experience filled with interactive storytelling, dance, aerial arts, and physical theatre.

The production follows the enchanting tale of a young girl who discovers a hidden garden filled with magic, guided by a friendly robin. Through this whimsical adventure, audiences will be transported to a world where imagination knows no bounds and the wonders of nature come alive.

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Free creative writing project for 9-13 year olds to be held at Birkenhead Central Library

Wirral-based literary arts organisation, Read Now Write Now, has been successful in obtaining funding from Arts Council England to deliver a series of free creative writing workshops across the Liverpool City Region on the theme of climate change over the summer.

These workshops will take place in schools, libraries and online to help young people write powerful and inspiring stories which can be included into a published anthology (using recycled paper), displayed in local libraries as well as read out at special storytelling events.

One of these courses will take place at Birkenhead Central Library on Saturday 11, 18, and 25 May from 10am to 12pm and bookings are now being taken.

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Letting agent appointed for Cheshire Lines building in Birkenhead

Cheshire Lines, the vast red brick former rail storage facility, set in the heart of Wirral’s business district is available to let, marking one of the largest and most prestigious lettings in the borough.

Smith and Sons has been appointed as agent at the iconic site and has begun marketing the ground and first floor, each occupying a floor area of over 21,000 square feet.

The location, historic nature of the building, sheer size and scale, make this a unique proposition within the Wirral commercial property landscape.

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Birkenhead firm creates Britain’s first air fryer ready meal range

Birkenhead company boss Noel Davis has created a first-to-market range of 14 frozen ready meals specifically developed for the air fryer. 

Noel, who has over 30 years of experience in food manufacturing and distribution across several different businesses, saw a market gap. The ingenious idea was sparked over a meal with his three children: Dara,18, Aoife,17, and Rory,15.

“Over 12.5m households are using air fryers, and after a discussion with my family in which they were championing air fryers and how many times a week they use them, I just suddenly thought we have the perfect products, the development and distribution network, and the contacts to launch this and with much success,” said Noel.

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Environmental concerns after oil spill at Rock Ferry pier

“Emergency action” is having to be taken to stop oil being spilled into the River Mersey.

A video, shared on social media, appears to show thick black oil dropping onto mud in the Mersey estuary on 28 April at a dilapidated pier in Rock Ferry following work to remove parts of the pier.

It has been confirmed that an oil spill occurred in the area last week on 25 April and the videos taken three days later appear to show a black substance on the river bank and material still leaking from a broken pipe.

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Rotheram wins third term as Metro Mayor with thumping majority

Labour’s Steve Rotheram has secured a historic third term as Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region.

Mr Rotheram, 62, promised he “would never let the Liverpool City Region down” after winning another four years at the helm of the city region’s combined authority. He won a thumping majority of 68% after taking 183,932 votes.

The former Liverpool Walton MP comfortably saw off the challenge of Jade Marsden who finished second for the Conservatives with 27,708 votes. Tom Crone came third for the Green Party with 26,417.

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Labour emphatically hold on to Merseyside PCC role

Labour’s Emily Spurrell has comfortably won a second term as Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

Mrs Spurrell celebrated the “huge privilege” as it was confirmed she would serve another four years as the official charged with scrutinising Merseyside Police. She won 152,640 votes – a majority of 61%, up 3% from 2021.

The former deputy PCC came out on top against Bob Teesdale for the Conservatives with 35,221 votes. Amanda Onwuemene came third for the Green Party securing 31,330 votes while fellow Wirral councillor Chris Carubia was fourth for the Liberal Democrats with 28,093 votes.

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Wirral Police weekly news round-up

This is the Birkenhead News weekly round-up of police and crime news 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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