Hoylake beach ‘village green’ application consultation begins

Hoylake beach
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An application to have part of Hoylake’s beach registered as a village green is under consideration by Wirral Council.

It would apply to a section of the beach from The King’s Gap up to the lifeboat station, and has been submitted by local councillors on behalf of a group of residents.

Confusingly, the title ‘village green’ is not related to protecting the grass and wild flowers that have been growing on the beach – but is about enhancing its use as ‘recreational space’ – which some argue is hindered by the grass.

It would give the following protections:

  • Preventing it being developed and any interference with the soil
  • Any work carried out on the land would be for enhancement as recreational space
  • It is kept as an area where local people can take part in lawful recreational activities

As part of the application process, a six week consultation with residents and landowners has begun.

It is the latest development in the ongoing debate over Hoylake beach, with some people arguing it should be left to nature, and others calling for the return of an element of beach management.

Local Conservative councillors, who are backing the village green application, have been consistently critical of the decision by the chair of the environment committee, Labour’s Cllr Liz Grey, to pause the raking of the beach back in 2019, pending the introduction of a new beach management plan. The plan is due to be the subject of further consultation next year.

Grass at Hoylake beach

Hoylake and Meols councillor Andrew Gardner said: “Some time ago now we handed in on behalf of residents a village green application to enshrine forever Hoylake beach as an amenity space as we have known it for generations, and to enjoy it as we always have done.

“It’s a significant piece of legislation that would make transgression a criminal offence.”

In launching the consultation, Wirral Council has pointed out that, as a site of special scientific interest, Hoylake Beach already enjoys a degree of protection.

They said: “Any proposals for activities, development or works on there currently needs permissions from Natural England and, in some areas, from the Marine Management Organisation.”

They added: “A Beach Management Plan, which will set out the proposed future management of Hoylake Beach with assent from Natural England, is still under development. The application to register Hoylake Beach as a Town or Village Green is separate to the development of the Beach Management Plan.”

Further information on the application, the process for determining it and the chance to register views can be made at https://haveyoursay.wirral.gov.uk/town-and-village-green.

Details will also be available to view in person at West Kirby library and Birkenhead Town Hall.

People can also send comments to hoylakebeachtvg@wirral.gov.uk, or write to Hoylake Beach TVG, Legal Services, Wirral Borough Council, PO Box 290, Wallasey, CH27 9FQ to arrive on or before 28th January 2024.