The beaches of Hoylake and West Kirby are only about a mile apart, yet the difference in their treatment by WBC is so striking that they may as well be on different sides of the country.
The documents below show the application for a change in the West Kirby (WK) beach management plan to Natural England by Wirral Borough Council, the acceptance of this with ascent for by Natural England, and a copy of the new amended Habitats Regulations Assessment or HRA for West Kirby beach, which governs the WK beach management plan.
Although the documents are interesting in their entirety and I would recommend you read through the whole of the HRA, especially if you have trouble sleeping, there are a few things that are of note in them to be compared with Hoylake beach management.
Firstly, the time span of the WK beach management plan (demarcated by the HRA dates) covers beach management between 2022 and 2027. The original WK management plan included intensive beach raking, involving:
Raking once a day Monday – Friday between April and September (inclusive); Raking each Sunday in April, May and September;
Raking each Saturday and Sunday June, July and August;
Raking once a week between October and March, if required.
Note that the NE assented WK management plan (including intensive beach raking) came into action in 2022, two years after WBC ceased all management of Hoylake beach.
WBC stated that the continued raking of Hoylake beach would probably be illegal (although assented), and would probably not be allowed by NE in future plans.
If this was the case, why did WBC ask for this in the West Kirby management plan and associated HRA in 2022, and why was it deemed acceptable by NE and given assent.
WBC have repeatedly stated that the removal of any vegetation from Hoylake beach would be illegal, and assent would probably never be given for this by NE.
If this was the case, why, in 2023, did WBC apply for a change in the West Kirby HRA, that governs its management plan, to allow the use of heavy machinery on WK shore to remove all vegetation over a selected area on multiple occasions over a number of years.
Why was assent so freely given by NE in West Kirby and not Hoylake?
This change can be seen in the modified WK HRA below (section 1.5-1.9). Other, pro grass supporters, have stated that in mitigation, the area of any vegetation removal would have to be replaced with an even larger area somewhere else for rewilding.
This is obviously untrue, as no mitigation was offered by WBC, or sought by NE for the removal of the WK vegetation. The reluctance, or should I say refusal, of WBC to even entertain in Hoylake the options that they themselves asked for (and were assented by NE) in WK shore beggars belief. I am sure that there are more unfavourable comparisons that can be made between the treatment of West Kirby and Hoylake beaches, but I will leave them up to you to find them…….
Hoylake Beach Community, is a voluntary group who have been asking WBC for
a compromise that will suit all. Our hope is for a section* of the beach to be restored to sand so that residents from across Wirral and beyond can utilise it for recreation and health and well-being purposes.We are asking for a common sense approach for ALL; wildlife, nature & people. The half mile stretch* of amenity beach we would like equates to less than 1% compared to the Wirral shoreline conservation area. There really has to be a balance of human and environmental needs.
Hoylake Beach Community are not affiliated with any other group. HBC only use two forms of online communication. This website and a Facebook group which anyone is welcome to request to join. Search Hoylake Beach Community. HBC do not use any other social media.
*We are not asking for the whole beach, our compromise is just for the section that runs alongside North Parade from Kings Gap to the RNLI station, with the rest being left to the grasses. We do not support chemicals, only raking.
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