2023 saw the completion of West Kirby’s new flood wall, the long-awaited opening of a new health centre and Hoylake’s Matthew Jordan enjoying success on his home course at the Open golf championship.
So what’s in store for 2024? We’ve highlighted three things that we expect to see over the next 12 months.
Next phase of consultation on the future of Hoylake beach
It’s the saga that is entering its fifth year: the future of Hoylake beach and whether it should be raked or left to nature.
A new management plan was due to be implemented in April 2023, but a second stage of consultation on future options for the beach has not yet begun.
Based on the decision of a meeting that took place in December 2022, it is expected that people will be asked to choose between:
1: Allowing the entire beach to develop naturally, but with a focus on greatly improved access for all and the clearance of slipways.
2: Removing all vegetation from a strip of the beach from Trinity Road to the RNLI station, and allowing it to develop naturally from Red Rocks to Trinity Road.
Natural England, the government’s environmental body, will have to be satisfied with the proposed management plan for each option before the consultation starts.
In the meantime, a group of local residents, supported by Hoylake and Meols Conservative councillors, have submitted an application for ‘village green’ status for part of the beach, and it is currently out to consultation. The title of the application is based on the legislation being used and nothing to do with protecting the grass on the beach. Those behind the application want to use it to enhance the beach as a place for recreational space, or ‘golden sands’, as some describe it. To further complicate matters, the consultation also states that the protections would ‘prevent any interference with the soil’.
A new MP for Wirral West
The government has to call a general election before the end of January 2025, and most observers expect it to take place sometime in 2024 rather than the depths of mid-winter, with May and October hotly tipped.
The current Wirral West incumbent, Labour’s Margaret Greenwood, announced in May that she will be standing down, meaning our area will definitely be getting a new MP.
At the 2019 election, Ms Greenwood was re-elected with 48.2% of the vote, 7% ahead of the Conservatives.
The runners and riders so far, in order of political party name, are:
Conservative Party – Local councillor, Jennifer Johnson
Green Party – Hoylake resident Emily Charley
Labour Party – former Upton councillor, Matthew Patrick
Liberal Democrat Party – Former Wirral councillor and West Kirby resident, Peter Reisdorf
Reform UK – Ken Ferguson
True and Fair Party – Paul Farragher
We’ll be taking a closer look at the candidates in 2024.
Development of a new masterplan for West Kirby
Wirral Council is expected to start developing a new masterplan for the area around West Kirby Concourse.
The local authority’s draft Local Plan – the blueprint to guide development across the borough over the next 15 years – previously outlined some of the thinking for the redevelopment of the site.
- What is described as a “revitalised community hub” with leisure, residential, health, retail, community and transport use
- Buildings “of appropriate scale and height that create an enhanced sense of place and focal points of interest having regard to strategic views in the townscape, the gateway setting of the site and the wider context of the surrounding hillside and Dee Estuary setting”
- Improved access to West Kirby Railway Station and the creation of a new public square
- Improvements to the bus layby area, and car and cycle parking