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Online Workshop: The future of our Town Centre 13.10.20

Online Workshop: The future of our Town Centre 13.10.20
October 20, 2020 admin

On 13th October, PLACED delivered a workshop for 14 participants. The following is an analysis of the ideas gathered on an interactive presentation.

What does Hoylake have to offer that makes it special?
This was an open question. People’s responses could be broadly grouped in themes, as shown in the following table:

Access to outdoors 20
Vibrant high street 12
Community 11
Built environment 9
Peaceful / space 5
Environment 4
Transport 4
Creativity 3
Other 3
Clean / safe 2


  • Access to the outdoors was identified as being the top feature of Hoylake. It was felt there were many opportunities to enjoy the local environment, whether for walking, cycling, visiting the beach and promenade or more adventurous activity such as kite buggying.
  • The range of offers are felt to make Hoylake a vibrant place to be. People felt there is a good range of shops, including independent businesses, pubs, hairdressers and cafes.
  • Alongside this, there was a sense that there is a strong, friendly and active community in Hoylake.
  • People spoke of the built environment and local heritage, along with their being a good range of housing options.

What are the priorities for the High Street? What should we be focusing on?
The following options were provided. Respondents could select up to 3 priorities.

Attracting / supporting independent businesses 12
Creating community spaces 9
Environmental improvements 9
Creativity and culture 7
Attracting visitors 3
Quality public realm 3
Greening 1
Other 1

The order of priorities reflects participant’s desire to enhance what they feel are the existing key features for Hoylake; independent businesses, community and the environment.

What should be the Vision for Hoylake high street?
This was an open question. People’s responses could be grouped in themes, shown below:

Diverse offer 7
Safe / clean 5
Addressing traffic / calming measures / pedestrian friendly 4
Arts / culture 4
Inclusive 4
Individual / unique 3
Welcoming 2
Well designed 2
Green 1
Market 1
  • Respondents were keen to see Hoylake as a vibrant town, with a range of offers that would encourage people to come and spend time and meet friends. This included reference to independent businesses, food, drink and retail offers along with some night-time offers.
  • Whilst people want it to be vibrant, they want to ensure it still feels safe, clean and welcoming. One person noted they didn’t want it to feel ‘too busy.’
  • Some stressed the importance of ensuring Hoylake is inclusive, attracting people of different ages and ensuring you do not have to spend money in order to have something to do.
  • Addressing traffic was a key point of discussion. In addition to the four comments recorded on the presentation, the group spent some time discussing how to resolve this issue. Those who live on the prom spoke of problems with cars speeding, with people seeing it as a ‘quick route.’ They felt any measures on Market St would create further issues on the prom. Heron Road was also cited as a problem.

How are we going to achieve this vision?
This was an open question. People’s responses could be grouped in themes, shown below:

Community involvement 7
Activities – young people 6
Use space effectively 4
Attract new businesses 3
Community events 3
Meanwhile / temporary use 3
Facilities on the promenade 2
Other 4
  • There were calls for the community to be able to influence and inform the future of Hoylake on an ongoing basis. Young people were particularly singled out in three comments as being key to engage.
  • More activities for young people were a high priority, with calls for better facilities and activities in the local area to replace those which have been lost.
  • Using currently underutilised spaces more effectively was suggested, enabling events to be put on and people to come together and events can be put on. In a similar vein, meanwhile use of empty shops for community purposes was also suggested e.g. for art exhibitions.
  • Regular activities for the wider community, including a weekly market, were suggested.
  • Other ideas were identifying funding, securing the backing of WBC and supporting community groups.

What is your view on the idea of a Town Square?
Respondents could choose from strongly support, support, slight support, neither support or oppose, slight objection, broad objection or strong objection.

8 strongly supported, 3 broadly supported and 2 slightly supported. No one opposed.

What should happen in a town square?
This was an open question. People’s responses could be grouped in themes, shown below:

Performance 12
Market 8
Meeting place 8
Other 7
Arts 3
Food / drink 2
  • Using the space for performances of different types was the most popular idea. This includes music, theatre and poetry.
  • Markets were popular, including food and drink, artisan and food stalls.
  • More broadly, people were keen to see it functioning as a space to meet with family and friends. A covered area and seating were suggested as part of this.
  • Ideas mentioned just once included; heritage information, sustainable businesses, a cargo bike storage are and a swap shop.

In addition, to those comments collated through the interactive presentation, broader discussion took place. Key points were:

  • Just creating a space would not be sufficient. It would require regular activities and a programme of events to be successful.
  • There is value in being ambitious and testing ideas to see whether they are popular and work e.g. making the high street completely pedestrianised.
  • The space in front of the Co-op has naturally become more of a town square in recent months, with people sitting having food and drinks in response to Covid.
  • There were questions over whether the space in front of the Co-op would be big enough for the suggested uses. The space behind the Beacon and in front of the train station were suggested as potential alternatives.
  • Weather presents problems when programming events.
  • Broadly, there remained support for the town square even if it was acknowledged that there are real challenges.

Have your views changed?
People took this opportunity to feedback on the session more broadly. People felt the session had been very positive. Three comments noted the need to involve young people in the process of thinking about the future of Hoylake.