Updated: Mar 3
The Report is out and…..
Here’s our rapid response to the general points made. Bear with us whilst we digest some more! We will be back!
On first reading, the report feel like an abject disappointment which we, the tax payer, have stumped up a reported £30,000 for! And does it tell us anything we didn’t know? Does it conclusively prove that a Green Beach is the best option? NO!
“This study looks at how Hoylake Beach could change…” (Section 1.3 This Study)
The bottom line after all this time is that even “The Experts” don’t appear to know what will happen.
Why has the report only addressed “all or nothing” scenarios…neither of which Hoylake Beach Community (HBC) advocates. HBC have proposed a compromise solution. A solution that seeks to establish an ‘equilibrium’ where the needs of humans, wildlife and plant life are met and the three are able to co-exist. It is worth remembering that Hoylake beach is not just the area in front of the promenade. It stretches from the new lifeboat station all the way to at least Red Rocks.
HBC are not asking for all of the beach to be an amenity area, just a small section (approximately less than 30%). What would that scenario look like, Royal Haskoning?
There’s reference to a 'National Vegetation Classification Survey' being undertaken in August 2021. But where is this survey? Why hasn’t it been published? And who is L. Ruffino who has apparently conducted the survey (see Section 9 References)? Could it be Lucia Ruffino, a Free Lance Botanist from Llandudno? If so, how was she selected and what have we paid for her services? Is she IR35 compliant? So many questions….
One thing is for sure, L Ruffino failed to confirm the 150 species, with 19 at risk of extinction or locally thought to be extinct, which other ecologists and botanists have professed! L Ruffino found just 103 plant species with only four classified as rare and / or notable. We demand a recount!
And why is there no acknowledgement of the impact on vegetation that the leaking drains and run off is having on the beach?
So let’s do nothing!
And this seems to tell us that, wait, the vegetation will likely migrate seawards? Like it has at Parkgate? Well there’s a thing! Apparently, it will never look like Parkgate…but this report seems to tell us something quite different. Shot down are the claims that there will only be a narrow strip of vegetation close to The Prom…as we thought. Whatever the vegetation, it doesn’t know when to stop marching, and will continue unless the favourable growing conditions change.
Oh, and guess what, we also were told that salt marsh wouldn’t develop! We can see it developing! But apparently it's development is uncertain. Did Wirral Council engage the sufficiently qualified 'experts' to carry out this survey?
Will sand dunes develop as promised?
There is absolutely no concrete evidence provided within this report to say that static dunes will develop…unless they’re helped maybe? But let’s assume they did. They are predicted to migrate landwards, and will therefore affect local roads and houses. That sounds like a costly exercise to tackle that issue.
Wirral Council ceased beach management three years ago and guess what...there are NO dunes forming, only increasing wind-blown sand on the public highways, and drains becoming more blocked.
But what if we do everything?
Well, wind-blown sand nuisance would increase, apparently. But was wind-blown sand more of an issue before beach management ceased? Has this been measured? Wind-blown sand has always been an issue. There are fabulous historic pictures of Hoylake with huge piles of sand by the old swimming pool.
There is NO mention of any impact to bird or wildlife. And, with only four rare plants now being impacted, they could be easily sectioned off to thrive, if a compromise were to be reached.
What is 'Natural Capital Value'?
More 21st Century buzz words for us mere tax paying mortals to grapple with! Why did Wirral Council have to engage Liverpool John Moores University to execute this narrative? Yet another dent in the shining armour of Royal Haskoning? And how much did that cost? Or, was it part of the £30,000 total budget?
This section seems like a total cop out…just words with absolutely no context to Hoylake! Read the four paragraphs carefully, what do you learn from them?
Our only hope is that in the main technical report, this section actually has some relevance! So given the pure waffle, why do the 4 bullet points have any credibility or carry any weight? How are those figures achieved?
And more importantly, shouldn’t this section be balanced with a 'Social Capital Value' impact assessment? The real impact on residents? The absolute need for the RNLI to be based in Hoylake for coastguard support? Hoylake is a coastal community, the beach and promenade area were designed by the Victorians for leisure and activity, exactly like Birkenhead Park for the residents of Birkenhead, (which continues to be maintained).
The Flood Risk Assessment
Other social media sites have indicated that dunes will act as a flood defence. This report states there’s NO guarantee of dunes developing, and actually, if they did, they would have to be ‘a continuous, uninterrupted row of dunes; any gap in the alongshore arrangement of the dunes would lead to a breach…
So, as my Granny used to say... “as useful as a chocolate tea pot”. But actually, the main threat of flooding to Hoylake now comes from, you guessed it...the blocked drains and the additional high risk surface water flooding risk!
So, how much of a priority is flood defence?
: JOIN US ON FACEBOOK SEARCH: HOYLAKE BEACH COMMUNITY
: Hoylake Beach Community, is a voluntary group who since the formation in October 2021, have been asking WBC for a compromise that will suit all.
The community group are campaigning for the restoration of PART* of the beach for recreation & relaxation with the remaining part being left to re-wild for nature and wildlife.*The section along North Parade from Kings Gap to the New RNLI station.
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.
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