LOOKING TIRED: People’s ideas for West Kirby
West Kirby as it looks currently: Image: LDRS
West Kirby has “nothing” for children and needs more to attract people to the area according to some residents.
Yesterday, the LDRS reported that residents’ group One West Kirby (OWK), said people in the Wirral town were frustrated that it 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.
Responding to the group’s claims, 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.”
The LDRS went to West Kirby today to see what people thought the area needed.
Paul Bonner, 67, said: “I think they need something to bring people to the area. There needs to be more for kids.”
One idea Mr Bonner had was a fairground, saying there should be more attractions around the beach.
He added: “By the beach people just walk around. If they had somewhere to go it could bring something to the town.”
One of the concerns OWK had was the appearance of the Concourse Leisure Centre in the town. They thought the area outside of it was “uninspiring”.
Mr Bonner also thought this was a problem.
He continued: “[West Kirby] is well behind the times, it needs to modernise. The Concourse is past its time, it’s a white elephant, we need a new centre.”
As for the rest of the town, he added: “All there is is shops. There’s nothing if you’re trying to bring kids up here.”
One woman, who did not wish to be named, agreed with Mr Bonner.
She thought there was not enough for children to do in the West Wirral town.
She added: “We need a playground, not just swings and that kind of thing, something a bit better.”
Perhaps showing the difficulties ahead as plans for the town are drawn up, she said she was not in favour of seaside attractions such as a fairground because of the impact developing the area near the beach might have on the appearance of it.
She continued: “There’s nothing for kids to do anywhere, we need something different.”
The residents’ group OWK said it was issues to do with the look of the town that people wanted addressing most, according to its research.
Malcolm Williams, deputy chair of OWK, said: “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.”
West Kirby’s business community is also looking to see investment in the 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.”
But several people who spoke to the LDRS said they like the town as it is and do not want to see significant developments which might change the way it looked.
Gladys Lofthouse, 83, said West Kirby “is a lovely area anyway” and did not think it needed to be overhauled.
She was completely against having more attractions, such as a fairground, near the beach and said that in terms of things for children to do, there was a beach to play on as well as the Concourse Leisure Centre.
Marion Davies, 83, also thought the town was nice in its current state.
Ms Davies said she does not want to see huge changes in the area and that it is a good place to go as it is now.
Words: George Morgan, Local Democracy Reporter
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