Call to order
A meeting of the Management Group of Hoylake Vision Community Planning Forum was held at Monte Carlo Restaurant on 10.08.21.
Attendees: Nigel Blacow (NB), Mark Howard (MHo), Jon Morgan (JM), Jon Caswell (JC), Julian Priest (JP), Jade Wright (JW) (guest)
Members not in attendance
Vicky Ponsonby (VP), Alex Woods (AW), Maureen Hanson (MHa)
Approval of minutes
The minutes of the May meeting were approved
Management Group Meeting Reports
- New potential member welcome and suggestions
The group welcomed Jade Wright (JW) who had expressed an interest in becoming a more active member of the forum. Jade is a journalist who lives and works in Hoylake. She had moved to Hoylake seven years ago and in that time had noted a very recent influx of newcomers to Hoylake, many of whom are young families, a number of whom had no previous contact with Hoylake, which was interesting. Affordability and appreciation of environmental quality and sustainability were seen as a driver for this. She also noted with appreciation the increased number of independent shops arriving on the High Street since moving here and saw these changes as evidence of a more economically sustainable future for the town. MHo noted that this aligned with our original analysis of the 2011 census which, when compared to the 2001 census had shown a decrease in the number of retired age people and an increase in young families; including a higher than national average number of teenagers. It was also noted that the council-commissioned Roger Tym report of 2009 had concluded that Hoylake was “in ongoing decline with no visible signs of recovery”. This was one of the key reasons why the forum was established; without wider representation of local voices, the council would inevitably use this report to drive a “managed decline” policy. The role of the forum is to create and deliver an NDP based on consultation, evidence and data rather than on past, incorrect and entirely anecdotal notion that Hoylake is a “basket case” in planning terms; a declining and ‘ageing’ town. The 2021 census results will be very helpful in charting the way forward. JW was invited to join the management group and accepted.
- Masterplan and initial responses
It had been noted that there had been a significant and immediate negative reaction to the Masterplan by some on social media. However, the response was so swift that it was clear that those responding in this way would not have had time to read any of the document. We need to give time for people to study it closely and encourage responses. MHo reported at all of the responses received at firstname.lastname@example.org had been broadly positive and detailed; it is clear those respondents had taken the time to read it. No broadly negative direct responses had been received to date. Some people had reported that they had not been consulted. We use Mailchimp to send out member newsletter, which records ‘opens’ and ‘clicks’. It was clear that some complainants had indeed opened, read, and clicked on links to the consultation portal so it was disappointing to see such claims on social media. The consultation had also been reported widely in the press and on local social media. Nevertheless, we must be conscious that more consultation is always needed and we have to find more ways to get the message out locally. JW and JC would contact local media including West Kirby Today, The Lake Magazine and the Hoylake Messenger with a view to publishing regular ‘columns’ in one or more on forum activity.
- Design Code progress including AECOM promenade visualisation
MHo and NB had met with Nick Beedie of AECOM to look at progress on the Design Code. A high-level visualisation of a promenade remodelling to include seating, SUDs, cycle lane and EV charging points had been prepared but was not felt to contribute helpfully to the overall aim of soliciting engagement and ideas from the wider forum and the public; it may be deemed too prescriptive. It would be better to gather a set of ‘precedent’ images from other similar schemes. Management Group members would circulate any examples they can find which would then be sent to AECOM for inclusion. Other aspects of the design code were not considered but AECOM would be circulating a draft as soon as practicable.
- Response to Ward Councillor comments on social media
Disappointing comments by a ward councillor had been published on social media and on the council’s own Facebook page. An initial response claimed that councillors were not aware of the NDP. This was followed by an acknowledgement of its existence albeit with a dismissal of its significance. The Masterplan was also dismissed as carrying little weight and it had been stated that “only the council can prepare Masterplans”. All of these claims are misleading and factually incorrect. The forum has been legally designated with powers to make an NDP under the Localism Act. This includes powers to produce a Masterplan and any other supporting documents in consultation with the wider public. We must demonstrate that all objectives, priorities and policies within are produced in consultation with the public by producing a “Consultation Statement” as a record of all consultation and comments received. The successful referendum of 2016 had been through a thorough process of independent examination; the level of consultation was found to be “more than required” by the examiner. We were continuing to engage as widely as possible; a specific round of consultation of 2020 had been conducted independently, well publicised on social media, and in the local press, both online and in print. It was noted that some who were claiming they had not been consulted had indeed received numerous ‘Mailchimp’ emails from the forum, had read them and clicked on links to the consultation portal. It was considered that such confusion and scepticism is likely to be arising from comments such as these made by ward councillors. The group agreed that MHo would contact our liaison officer at the council to lodge a concern that incorrect and misleading information had been published on the council’s own social media.
- All-terrain vehicle beach access
MHo had been contacted by someone wishing to set up a Wirral wide all-terrain wheelchair facility. He had agreed to put her in contact with Philip Barton, our planning adviser. It was encouraging to note that a group outside Hoylake had noted the ambitions to make the promenade and beach more accessible and we look forward to working with the group moving forwards with the aim of helping them secure the support needed to get such a scheme running in Hoylake.
- Carr Lane consultation; next steps
Following the disappointing response to the consultation from residents and businesses in Carr Lane, it was agreed to print more survey forms and distribute those by hand across all residences and businesses in the Carr Lane area. We would endeavour to book the Rugby Club for a one-day event in late October and invite residents and businesses to that. MHo would speak to PLACED about the implications of re-opening the online portal for a limited period inviting online responses alongside the paper surveys and how analysis of that data would happen. MHo would also put together a budget for this stage of consultation and submit a bid to Locality in line with the previous applications.
- AGM planning
Although there remain significant uncertainties around COVID-19 and the delta variant it was considered an AGM should be planned for late November; if cases rise significantly there may be a need to postpone. A venue would be needed and details would be agreed at the next Management Group meeting. MHo would ask CM to attend the AGM in his role as interim Treasurer to present an update on finances and handover to JM and NB. It is understood there is less than £600 in the account at present.
- Bank Account Signatories
NB agreed to act as second account signatory since AL had stepped down from the role, MHo would re-send the account form to JP for completion. MHo would then submit all the information to CM for liaison with the Co-op.
- Next Newsletter
Another Forum newsletter is needed; the group were invited to submit content to MHo who would publish it asap in September.
No other business
Date of next meeting 14 September 2021