Van hire firm apologises as it breaks silence over criticism

A van hire firm accused of ruining a town’s “lovely” seafront has apologised as it breaks silence after weeks of criticism.

West Wallasey Van Hire based off Cross Lane in Wallasey has been heavily criticised after it began taking up dozens of parking spots along King’s Parade in New Brighton and Wallasey.

The firm said the overflow was caused by the sudden return of rental vehicles as a short supply caused by microchip shortages, manufacturing challenges, and the war in Ukraine were resolved.

This company has now agreed a lease with Wirral Council to use the site of Wallasey’s former gasholders off Dock Road in Seacombe for two years and not to park its vehicles on the road. It now expects to move all vans off the promenade by the end of March.

In an open letter, West Wallasey Van Hire said, “We feel the Wirral community deserves an explanation as to the recent parking of vehicles and we would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to anyone visiting the affected areas of New Brighton and Wallasey.

“The overflow of around 100 vehicles was caused by a sudden return of rental vehicles which had been supplied to businesses and local authorities on a temporary basis when vehicles were in short supply.

“The short supply was the result of Covid related manufacturing challenges, microchip shortages and the war in Ukraine where Ford produces its wiring looms. These manufacturing challenges resolved at pace during the last quarter of 2023, leading to the sudden return of the temporary vehicles supplied.

“The return of these vehicles (at some point) was anticipated, and Wirral Council has been actively engaged with West Wallasey since February 2023. The commercial Gas Works site was proposed as a solution and was accepted by West Wallasey.

“It was anticipated that the site would be made available to West Wallasey by mid-2023, but regrettably unexpected delays occurred throughout the year. The temporary short-term lease of redundant floors in the Conway Street multistorey carpark requested prior to Christmas as an interim solution also failed to materialise.

“On 7 February 2024, a lease for the Gas Works site was completed and permission to carry out essential work to enable the site to be used safely was granted on 22 February 2024. Works commenced immediately in collaboration with Cadent and are expected to complete this month.

“We would like to assure all residents that the vehicles located in Wallasey and New Brighton will be relocated as soon as the works are complete, and we are sorry for the inconvenience caused to residents whilst we have attempted to resolve this issue.

“As a Wallasey founded business now operating 20,000 vehicles nationally, our commitment to the local economy and our community is deeply important to us. We directly employ over 300 Wirral residents and support more than 200 additional Wirral jobs through supply chain.

“We are also proud to be Founder Patrons of The Hive (Wirral Youth Zone), Autism Together Business Supporter of the Year 2023, and a supporter of many other projects from funding Christmas lights in Seacombe and Wallasey, to sponsoring local sports clubs across the borough, providing free meals during holiday periods, and funding free Chester Zoo tickets for more than 300 children from disadvantaged backgrounds. We have never used our community outreach for marketing purposes as we do not do it for commercial gain.

“However, in the past 3 years alone we have donated more than £1,000,000 to supporting community projects, and we plan to continue this community support in future years. Our next community project will be in celebration of 50 Years in business. Commencing on 14 April 2024 for 50 days, West Wallasey will be awarding £1,000 every day to a local club, charity or society who makes a positive contribution to our community.

“On the 50th Anniversary (3 June 2024), we will also be making a Special Award of £50,000 to one organisation who we feel would use the funds to make an outstanding contribution to the Wirral. If you would like your club, charity or society to be considered for funding, please send your application to community@westwallasey.com telling us how you would use the funds and how it would benefit our community. We would like to thank all residents for their patience during the recent exceptional period and please be assured always of our commitment to you as our community.”

A Wirral Council spokesperson said, “The council has been assured by WWVH that the work will be completed and the vehicles moved by the end of the month. The council continues to monitor the situation and remain in close dialogue with the company.”

Image: Ed Barnes

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