KILLING NATURE: Residents wanting a sandy beach in Hoylake
Some of the campaigners gathered outside of the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton last night, Image: LDRS
Residents wanting a sandy beach in Hoylake were accused of wanting to “kill nature” at a meeting last night.
Around 50 people turned up to a meeting of Wirral Council’s Environment and Transport Committee yesterday evening, with the vast majority understood to be attending to oppose the council’s policy of not raking Hoylake beach, which began in 2019.
The 2019 move also saw the end of glyphosate spraying at the beach, but campaign groups are not calling for this to return.
At the start of the meeting at New Brighton’s Floral Pavilion, some of the residents got out of their seats and turned their backs on Labour councillor Liz Grey, who chairs the committee, as she opened the meeting.
Labour’s Steve Foulkes intervened straight away to say that he was not happy with this kind of demonstration, which seemed to be aimed at Cllr Grey personally.
He added that the issue of Hoylake beach was a democratic one and not a personal one.
At the end of the meeting, Cllr Grey commented on the issue, saying she felt that given the serious issues being discussed at the committee, such as the council’s finances which have suffered from more than £220m of government cuts and a report on public health in the borough, some people needed to have a sense of perspective.
Cllr Grey then suggested that some of those protesting wanted to “kill nature” in order to have a sandy Hoylake beach.
Cllr Simon Mountney, a Conservative, disagreed, saying it was possible to care about the beach and the other issues which were being discussed at the committee.
Cllr Foulkes added that he had never seen this kind of protest before at a meeting and that he did not want to see it again.
Several public questions on Hoylake beach had been submitted to the committee, but were not presented as they were ruled to be “too similar” to those asked to the same committee within the last six months.
Cllr Mountney wanted to clarify how and when residents could submit questions to make sure that they would not be ruled out in future.
Vicki Shaw, Wirral Council’s head of legal services, clarified the six-month rule, saying that several questions were submitted just before the deadline and that if they had been sent in sooner the local authority may have been able to go back to residents and give them advice on what they need to do to have their questions accepted.
Cllr Grey said that each questioner had been sent the reasons for their questions being rejected.
Words: George Morgan, Local Democracy Reporter
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