IGNORED FOR TOO LONG: Lack of West Kirby plans criticised
The Concourse Leisure Centre in West Kirby, Image: Matt Thomas
West Kirby has been ignored for too long and needs a major plan to overhaul it according to campaigners.
One West Kirby (OWK), a group formed of local residents, said people in the Wirral town are frustrated that the town has been “overlooked” and has a “tired” appearance.
The group claims it has been trying to secure a Masterplan, a document setting out how the town can be improved, from Wirral Council for nearly 12 months, but has not been able to get the local authority to commit to one.
A Wirral Council spokesperson said: “Our approach has been to look at a strategic re-planning of areas across the borough and discussions are currently taking place in respect of West Kirby.”
But David Rawlinson, chair of OWK, said: “We have been working with the council for over 12 months now and we are all very concerned at the lack of progress.
“Residents and businesses in West Kirby are feeling frustrated that issues in our town are being overlooked, and the town looks tired.
“This is despite the dedication, passion and commitment of local volunteer groups who are doing so much work to make the town look more attractive.”
He added: “We want a proper Masterplan working with residents and businesses to secure the future of what is also an important day destination for many Wirral and Liverpool City Region residents.”
The group has numerous concerns about what is going on in West Kirby at the moment, issues which it believes can be tackled in a Masterplan.
The issues include the future of the Concourse Leisure Centre, which is currently being reviewed as part of a consultation on leisure services across Wirral.
The group also says there is a lack of maintenance along West Kirby promenade.
Malcolm Williams, Deputy Chair of OWK, said: “With both Hoylake and New Brighton well advanced with Masterplans for the future we believe that it is crucial that our coastal town also has a clear plan ensuring direct benefits to residents and businesses from any investment in the town centre.
“OWK launched a survey in December 2020 asking residents and businesses about the priorities they wanted for the town. Improving the town’s physical appearance in areas such as the Concourse was identified by many respondents as a key issue.
“The survey resulted in over 1,000 local responses.”
Mr Williams added: ”Following on from our survey we have been working with the council to secure a commitment to an integrated planning approach for West Kirby.”
It is not just OWK who have concerns about the future of the West Wirral town.
Dawn Wormell helps run Wonderful West Kirby, the town’s business group with nearly 100 members. She said: “A proper plan to articulate the future direction of the town and ensure appropriate investment is crucial to help our businesses survive.
“After the impact of Covid-19, we really need to see a joined-up approach to ensure the town has a vibrant economy going forward.”
The group is being supported by local councillors.
Cllr Jeff Green, a Conservative member for West Kirby and Thurstaston, said: “I understand One West Kirby’s frustration. We have been working with OWK for over 12 months to give them access to offices.
“We’ve been working with them on a shared objective of improving West Kirby as an area. We want to make sure action is taken.
“We also want to make sure, and i’m sure OWK agrees with this, that West Kirby’s nature is protected in the Local Plan.
“We don’t want to see any unwarranted increase in housing developments where it is not wanted.”
Words: George Morgan, Local Democracy Reporter
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