Updated: Oct 8, 2021
Dear Councillor Grey,
As a long standing resident of Hoylake I feel compelled to raise my concerns with regard to your council’s future Hoylake beach management plan (or lack of one).
I feel that you, as the council representative and apparent spokesperson, are employing a whole series of “smoke and mirrors” to hoodwink the electorate into believing that the mismanagement of Hoylake beach may not be permanent and will be reviewed in 2023.
I put it to you that you have no intention of reversing the policy of none management, and are trying to confuse the public by talk of surveys and consultations.
To clear up this matter l request that you answer the following questions:
- Who will collate and analyse all of data (both beach surveys, population surveys, and socioeconomic surveys) generated in the proposed studies and make the final decisions on the future of Hoylake beach in 2023?
- Also what weight will be given to each type of survey in the final decision, for example, if a beach flora study and a socioeconomic study generate the same “points”, which study would be given more weight etc?
- What are the trigger results in each or all of the surveys that will result in the final decision on Hoylake beach?
That is to say, what results will mean continued mismanagement, and what results would indicate a return to beach management (including raking and sand levelling)?
Not having any of these endpoints already set out would expose the naivety of those responsible, leaving them open to the accusation of manipulating their endpoints to fit the survey results in order to get what they want.
The council, in the spirit of transparency, should make those endpoints clear now, and stick to them in the future.
I am afraid that the more I see of the conduct of the council in this matter, the more I am forced to believe that this is the imposition of somebody’s personal rose tinted green vision on a reluctant electorate, with no thought or regard for impact in the real local world, and any collateral damage caused.
One might also be inclined to think that this is a cynical manipulation of well meaning green thinkers in the community, in order for the council to try to massage their theoretical carbon capture figures in order to reach future carbon neutrality.
On a personal note (being a research scientist of many years), this is clearly an experiment and not just a set of surveys.
You are making the hypothesis that the beach would be better unraked, so taking the managed beach, making an intervention (cessation of beach management), and observing the temporal effect of this intervention, generating results, and coming to conclusions.
As the old adage says “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck”.
However, this is where your scientific prowess falls short. In any scientific experiment (which this clearly is) a series of controls are necessary in order to make sense of any data generated.
For example, your observations may well be influenced not by management cessation, but by unseasonal weather patterns, tidal flow changes, pollution, or by an array of other unforeseen human or natural factors.
These are important and urgent points, and I look forward to your speedy response to the general matters raised, and a full and transparent response to all of the specific questions asked, and not a regurgitation of ‘these questions have been answered already ' kind of response.
Dr. Frank McArdle
The councillor replies:
Dear Councillor Grey,
Thank you for your recent response to my queries regarding the mismanagement of Hoylake beach.
Unfortunately, I feel that the upcoming public engagement and consultations (dates, places, and formats as yet unspecified) you suggest may not be the correct forums to gain meaningful and timely answers to the questions raised in my previous email (sent 14/4/21).
These are simple questions which should not take up much of your time.
With this in mind l request that you supply me (a member of the electorate, to which I believe you are answerable to) with answers to these questions as soon as is possible.
Also, could you please explain to me the functions of the engagement and consultation processes.
Are they just for dissemination and explanation of council policy, or will they be used to take public wishes on board, and allow the public to shape future council policy with regard to Hoylake beach management?
It would also be helpful to all concerned if you could make public the dates of the upcoming public engagement and consultations you refer to, with locations and formats.
I hope you realise that continued ducking and weaving of legitimate questions posed by the electorate will only serve to alienate your Labour group, even more, from the people you are elected to serve.
I keenly await your prompt reply,
Dr. Frank McArdle
The councillor failed to reply to this or any subsequent requests, not even an acknowledgment of receipt
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