Updated: Nov 11, 2021
Hoylake, a town of c.6,000 people is on the verge of losing their only public space - Hoylake Beach.
The Victorians designed Hoylake Beach and promenade especially for the people of Hoylake as they had no where else for relaxation or recreation. The Victorians were good at building parks, however most of Hoylake was already built, hence they developed the promenade and beach area.
The only other public space is Grove Park, which is extremely small compared to parks in other towns and totally unpractical for long walks. With no town square or any other open space, the one area where people gather is at the beach. For bonfires, tug of war, bank holidays, and RNLI and community fundraising events etc.
Hoylake beach is a key area for a variety of health and well being activities, from beach yoga, beach school for children, volleyball, football, running, bird watching, social days out, walking, horse riding, sand yachting, sailing, fishing, dog walking, kite flying, sea shell collecting, exploration for families and children, picnics… the list is endless.
Hoylake beach is not just for the people of Hoylake, it is for the enjoyment of residents from all over the Wirral, and UK.
It was evident throughout the prolonged lockdown period just how important the beach is for people to walk and exercise daily, to meet and greet folk (at a distance) for the community to fully appreciate their surroundings, expressing “how lucky we are to live by the sea and have a beach’.
In December 2019, the council formally suspended the beach management programme, and are allowing the beach to turn into a salt marsh.
There has been no consultation with the community. There has not been any pilot or test areas sectioned off to trial the salt marsh development.
But what has developed is a ‘tug of war’ between the majority of residents who want to retain a section of the beach and small number of highly vocal people who are happy for it to turn into a salt marsh.
You may think or be swayed into thinking that its going to become a beautiful site of flora and fauna - which is simply not true. Hoylake Beach Community has met with a professional published ecologist, with over 30 years experience in salt marsh development. He summed up Hoylake beach as “classic early successional salt marsh”. It will likely be a salt marsh for decades to come and in his 30 years+ experience he’s never seen a salt marsh like this develop into sand dunes.
Councillor Elizabeth Grey (Cllr for Bidston & St James ward), and Chair of the Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee is responsible for stopping all beach management, and totally destroying the North Parade foreshore beach, by allowing Hoylake beach to develop into a salt marsh. Our children, grandchildren and generations may never see sand at Hoylake again!
If you think you will be able to walk through the Spartina grasses at heights of 3 foot to the tide line - you won’t!
If you think wildlife will thrive there - it won’t! Birdlife is being pushed further out, and birdwatchers will require expensive binoculars to see them!
Ironically, the waders and birds protected by the SSSI, will start to leave our shores. The salt marsh is developing where they feed and the Spartina grows to such a high height it reduces visibility to predators, and won’t be safe for them anymore.
People can use the internet to throw science into their claims, with graphs and data to achieve their chosen results but the real facts are becoming clear and evident for ALL to see with their own eyes! The people in this community do not want a salt marsh!! Human beings need open outdoor space. We are asking for a beach for ALL, with a small section to be managed, from the RNLI station to Kings Gap.
For issues associated with marsh conditions, simply look at Parkgate. Ask residents in the area about the problems they have with mosquitos and water rats. In Neston, there is constant mosquito monitoring, residents are asked to report bites to the local council via the Neston Life app. For further evidence, review the Parkgate and Neston Marsh Facebook groups, and also see the Liverpool University report: Click here
Neston and Parkgate residents are also told to keep their windows closed in the summer to avoid mosquitos coming into their homes.
Hoylake beach has become a dishearteningly political hot potato argument, and is dividing our community. A debate on Spartina was voted against at the last full council meeting, and the 12,500 petition was ignored. Many councillors have admitted to not visiting Hoylake beach in months, even years. They have no knowledge of the beach and no wish to understand the area or residents wishes.
The matter is bringing utter despair to the whole community, young and old, as we continue to see underhand political tactics, which is preventing negotiation around Hoylake beach management.
Birkenhead have a huge open park area, would they close it for public use, take it away from the local people? Absolutely not, there would be a riot! So why do it to the people of Hoylake?
During 2020, when the borders of Wales were closed, families and friends travelled from far a field to enjoy the sandy beach at Hoylake. Many visitors came for a day out. Hoylake has always been rated very highly as a beach tourist destination, but this will alter very soon, unless the council listens and takes action!
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