Sunday Snippets, 7 April 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.

Grade II listed status granted for ‘hidden gem’ Ron’s Place in Oxton

A hidden gem of Outsider Art, Ron’s Place, located at 8 Silverdale Road in Oxton, has been granted Grade II listing by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the advice of Historic England.

Concealed for over 30 years within an unassuming Victorian semi-detached villa, Ron Gittins meticulously crafted a striking visionary environment, which remained a secret until he died in 2019.

From intricate murals depicting historical scenes to hand-crafted concrete fireplaces in the shape of a roaring lion’s head, a Minotaur’s head (a mythical creature with the body of a man and the head and tail of a bull) and even a Roman bread oven, Gittins’ creative imagination permeated every corner of his rented ground-floor flat.

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Council ‘forging ahead’ with new Birkenhead Market plans

Work is now forging ahead on the next chapter for Birkenhead Market.

It follows a decision to move the market to a new site on Princes Pavement in the town centre at a meeting of the Economy, Regeneration and Housing committee on 27 March.

Now the next steps in developing the designs for the Princes Pavement site for the Market are set to begin. 

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Iconic LS Lowry painting coming Williamson Art Gallery

One of the most famous British paintings is to be displayed at Birkenhead’s Williamson Art Gallery & Museum.

LS Lowry’s masterpiece Going to the Match has left its home at The Lowry, Salford and is currently on a tour of five North West venues. The Williamson is the only venue on Merseyside the painting is visiting.

Going to the Match, painted in 1953, is LS Lowry’s best-known and most popular picture. Although he painted football-themed scenes before and after this date it is Going to the Match which has become iconic – an enduring representation of what match day means to fans.

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Natural England does not support Hoylake Beach plans

The government body which would need to approve clearing Hoylake beach does not support plans being moved forward.

Natural England which advises on government environment policy has set out its “clear” position on two options put forward by Wirral Council for the beach which has been controversial since management was paused in 2019.

The issue has become divisive with one group wanting to see vegetation on the beach cleared while others want to see it develop naturally.

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Clatterbridge Diagnostics Centre welcomes 100,000th patient

A centre set up at Clatterbridge to reduce NHS waiting lists and increase capacity for earlier diagnosis has welcomed its 100,000th patient.

Clatterbridge Diagnostics Centre was set up in July 2021 as a partnership between Wirral University Teaching Hospital and The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre. It was one of 92 diagnostics hubs, also called Community Diagnostics Centres, set up nationally through funding from NHS England.

Clatterbridge Diagnostics Centre offers patients a range of diagnostic facilities such as MRI and CT scans, cardiorespiratory, phlebotomy and ultrasound.

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Construction worker proud of working on West Kirby flood wall said he faced ‘daily abuse’

A construction worker on a £20m sea wall said he faced daily abuse while on the job.

Eric Wade from Wallasey was a worker for Volkerstevin over a period of seven months on the West Kirby sea wall after previously being an aircraft engineer.

The project, which eventually cost £19.7m, was built between 2022 and 2023 to protect a number of properties along the seafront in West Kirby as well as save lives in the long term during storms.

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Redevelopment plans for Birkenhead waterfront with ‘one of the best views in the world’ move forward

Plans to develop the Birkenhead waterfront at Woodside with “one of the best views in the world” have moved forward.

Wirral Council officers have approved a £909,422 contract to leading builder John Sisk and Sons to further develop £21m plans to regenerate 400m of waterfront in Birkenhead near the Woodside Ferry Terminal so that construction is ready to begin.

This project is being driven by Town Deal and Levelling Up funds, some of which needs to be spent by March 2025.

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The Hive Youth Zone marks seven years of supporting young people

Wirral’s Youth Zone is marking its seventh birthday with a programme to capture the in-depth stories of seven young people who’ve been attending since the doors first opened. 

The Hive Youth Zone on Bright Street in Birkenhead – part of the national Onside network of youth zones – is marking its seventh anniversary by launching the storytelling initiative to help bring to life the true impact of its work since 8 April 2017, from the perspective that really matters: that of its young members. 

From its birthday on Monday, 8 April, The Hive will start preparations for a project bringing together its media, podcasting, songwriting and music crews with young writers and storytellers keen to work together to tell the stories of seven young members who say The Hive has been a part of their journey through young adulthood.

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Woodchurch Leisure Centre set to be demolished

A leisure centre that has been part of a community since the 1960s is set to be demolished.

Woodchurch Leisure Centre closed in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But in 2022 it was earmarked for demolition “to make way for a growth in outdoor leisure provision” as part of £20m budget cuts passed by Wirral Council that year saving it £402,000.

The leisure centre had been heavily subsidised by the council and would have needed significant costs spending on repairs. Following the 2022 decision, a community bid was put forward to take it over with supporters raising more than £83,000.

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Plans for seven flats in Heswall submitted

Illustrations show what seven ‘modern’ flats built in a protected area opposite a Heswall pub could look like.

The new flats would be built following the demolition of Appletree Cottage on Thurstaston Road in Heswall opposite the Black Horse pub if approved by Wirral Council.

Mark Lambe who put the plans forward said it would be “contributing towards meeting the needs of the ageing population in Wirral” offering an accessible living space.

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Wirral Council turns 50

Wirral Council acknowledges a significant milestone this month as it turned 50 on 1 April. 

The Council was established following the Local Government Act of 1972, which reformed local government in England and Wales.

The Act abolished previous local government structures and created a two-tier system of counties and districts everywhere. It also took the total number of councils in England from 1,245 to 412 at the time (excluding parish councils). 

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Family hub providing parent and infant support launches in Prenton

Families in Prenton will be able to access a variety of different support services under one roof thanks to the launch of Wirral’s ninth Family Hub.

Families, organisations and Wirral Council staff gathered to celebrate the launch at a marketplace event on Thursday, 28 March, with an Easter Egg Hunt, arts and crafts, and other activities provided for little ones.

Family Hubs are spaces where families can easily access a wide range of non-judgemental support to help them live well in Wirral. They bring together maternity services, health visitors, library and foodbank services and children’s centre activities.

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Are you ready for the elections in Wirral on Thursday 2 May?

Elections for a Mayor for the Liverpool City Region and a Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner take place on Thursday 2 May 2024.

If you do not have valid photo ID you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate on the Electoral Commission website by 5pm on Wednesday, 24 April.

For more information please contact Wirral Council’s Electoral Services Team by e-mail at  or tel. 0151 691 8046.

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Planning decision on Bromborough housing and sports facilities ‘imminent’

Ellesmere Port-based Elan Homes have said that a decision on plans for 104 new homes on the site of the former Octel Sports Club in Bromborough is expected within weeks.

Included in the plans is the provision of a new home for Bromborough & Eastham Junior Football Club and the creation of new changing facilities within a refurbished community use building.

The plans for new homes were originally submitted to Wirral Council in 2020, and following feedback from planning officers and Sport England, revised proposals were put forward in 2023.

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Tranmere held to draw by Colchester

Tranmere Rovers and Colchester United shared the honours in Easter Monday’s clash at Prenton Park.

Nigel Adkins made three alterations to his starting lineup compared to Friday’s match, with Jordan Turnbull, James Norris, and Reece McAlear starting in place of Joe Yarney, Dan Pike, and Harvey Saunders.

Tranmere started the encounter with vigour, seizing the lead seven minutes in as Rob Apter surged down the right flank, delivering a precise cross for Kieron Morris, who expertly nodded the ball into the net in front of the Kop.

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Hendry goal not enough as Tranmere defeated by Walsall

Tranmere Rovers suffered a 3-1 defeat against Walsall in their penultimate home fixture of the season.

In the early minutes, the visitors had an opportunity as Ryan Stirk’s volley missed the target.

Thirteen minutes into the game, Rovers had their first significant chance when Rob Apter sprinted down the right flank and delivered a cross to Connor Jennings, who deftly flicked it to Josh Hawkes, narrowly missing the winger.

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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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