Wirral Waters’ first residents are worried people could drown outside their house because of the lack of fencing.
Arthur and Doreen Shaw moved into Redbridge Quay in December 2022, becoming the first residents of the multi-million pound investment by Peel L&P that plans to completely transform the docks.
Though they are very happy with their new home, Mr Shaw said he’s worried about the lack of a fence along the edge of the dock despite signs warning people of the deep water.
Peel has previously said it plans to host community events to encourage people to visit with walking and cycle routes along the dock edge which was previously closed to the public.
With no barrier, Mr Shaw worries someone may fall into the four-metre deep water, adding: “If anyone drops in and it’s mid-winter and they drop in when nobody’s here, that’s it isn’t it”
He recently raised the issue at a Wirral Council meeting on 20 June feeling it was “a major hazard to residents who live at Redbridge Quay and any members of the public who visit the area.”
Mr Shaw told the LDRS, “I just think it’s obvious, they obviously plan to let cyclists in here. People come to fish, they come to walk their dogs here so it’s not a closed off area. Most people walk up to the end and walk back as it’s such a nice place.”
Mr Shaw said he can’t understand why they haven’t put a fence in, arguing that it didn’t make sense commercially either given the houses on the docks are currently up for sale.
He said, “We don’t want to sound like whingers but it is dangerous. If somebody loses their life it’s too late really. If I had a family with kids, I wouldn’t move here. It’s sad because it’s such a nice place.”
Mr Shaw said he’s raised the issue with Peel many times but has struggled to get a response back. He said, “It’s a bit mean. We bought this house and paid a lot of money. They could come around and tell us the reasons why it will all be okay but we haven’t heard anything.”
In response to Mr Shaw’s question, Wirral Council said it had offered Peel grant funding for a new cycle lane including the installation of a 1.5 metre barrier “to ensure the safety of active travel users.”
According to the local authority, Peel argued a fence was not necessary as its safety consultants said railings were not required and the grant funding was withdrawn. As it is not a public highway, it means Peel is responsible for the land.
A Peel L&P spokesperson said, “As the new Northbank neighbourhood at Wirral Waters emerges, the health and wellbeing of all our new residents and occupational partners is paramount.
“Throughout the design and build process, we employ specialist CDM & Health & Safety advisors to ensure any risks are properly identified and managed. The design team appointed have a lot of experience of dock edge developments, including the Wirral Met College’s Four Bridges campus.
“The strategy to only use fixed barrier edge protection at certain points, for example where the dock edge changes direction or if there is a specific risk, is supported by our expert advisors and is the result of extensive consultation with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and Wirral Council’s independent water safety expert.
“We regularly review the risk assessments, and we will listen to feedback from our residents and other stakeholders on this matter. If appropriate we will consider changes to the designs as the development progresses.”
Images: Arthur Shaw. Credit: Ed Barnes