The NDP supports development of the promenade but what kinds of development would have your support?
UPDATE JUNE 2019
Update: JUNE 2019
The Management Group of the forum were made aware of the possibility of engaging a PHD student at the University of Liverpool for a period of three weeks, at no cost to Hoylake Vision. This time could be used to help with research and development of objectives, priorities and policies for the next updates to the Neighbourhood Development Plan.
In consultation with stakeholders holding a range of views on Beach management in particular, including Wirral Wildlife, Friends of Hoylake Beach and Liverpool Friends of the Earth, we drafted a brief for this piece of research.
The research would identify issues raised by possible extension of the NDP boundary to include part of Hoylake’s foreshore, since previous consultation revealed widespread support for limited, appropriately scaled development on the promenade to attract more footfall and to improve the quality of the whole area for residents and visitors alike.
The beach is subject to European Natura 2000 protections, including RAMSAR, SSSI, pSPA and SAC and as such is perceived by many as an underperforming asset to the economic well-being of the town.
However there are a range of strongly held views within the community about current beach management, with particular concerns about the invasive grass Spartina Anglica; the use of herbicides by Wirral Council and the more general ‘greening’ of the beach as beach levels rise and other untreated vegetation takes hold.
While many favour retention of a ‘golden sands’ amenity beach, others are in favour of more ‘natural’ development.
Nevertheless, there appears to be a growing consensus about a need for more accessible information including clear data and evidence on these important coastal processes and their implications for the future of Hoylake and future generations.
A useful reference point is a report commissioned by Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council in 2000, entitled “The Beaches at West Kirby and Hoylake: Options for Managing Wind Blown Sand and Habitat Change”.
The project will set out to identify which, if any, of the recommendations in that report remain relevant and whether they could be pursued in order to inform the NDP and future beach management.
In particular, the previously recommended options to explore reversible field trials, which were not pursued, might be revisited.
It will also explore whether, and if so how, the wider coastal processes that are taking place might be used to attract new tourism and economic development opportunities in the future, in line with the existing high-level objectives and priorities in the NDP.
The results of consultation will be made available to the forum, and an attractively formatted ‘plain english’ written report for general public distribution, would be produced. These documents will form part of the evidence base for the new NDP’s Objectives, Priorities and Policies.
The project will require wide consultation with key stakeholders, including the general public, local interest groups, beach user groups, the RNLI, the Local Authority and both local and national environmental groups and agencies. Desk research will also be required.
The full brief can be downloaded HERE.
UPDATE JUNE 2019: As of June 2019 we have not yet identified a PHD student for this project but hope to do so later in the year
CURRENT POLICY WORDING
Proposals that would meet an evidenced community need for better recreational facilities or would make sustainable use of the promenade for public recreation by:
- Enhancing the public realm;
- Improving existing community and/or visitor facilities;
- Providing appropriate types of community and/or visitor facilities, or
- Providing high quality and sensitively located food and drink outlets
will be supported provided this would not create or exacerbate conflict with other activities, including beach related activities. Proposals that would accord with the above criteria and would be located within the areas defined on the Proposals Map as ‘focal points for seafront recreation’ will be permitted provided there is no conflict with the most up- to-date local strategic policy for safeguarding identified areas of urban greenspace.
Development that would have a detrimental effect upon the character or coastal defence function of the promenade, will not be permitted.
Development which would adversely affect the integrity of internationally important nature conservation sites will only be permitted exceptionally in accordance with Policy NC1.
OBJECTIVE 4 WORDING
NDP Objective 4
To more fully realise the potential of the promenade as an accessible leisure and tourism destination with an appropriate range of facilities for residents and visitors.
OBJECTIVE 9 WORDING
NDP Objective 9
To improve pedestrian links between the town centre, the promenade and the railway stations to meet the needs and expectations of residents and visitors.
The original draft of Policy BR1 attracted a range of opinion in the pre-examination and pre-submission consultations for the 2015-2020 NDP.
6.122 The responses to the Regulation 16 Publicity and views submitted during the preparation of the Plan indicate a divergence of views regarding the future of the Promenade. Some people are in favour of exploiting the potential for more tourist related development while others would like to maintain the present level of activity.
6.123 Objections to the policy principally concern whether further tourist related development would destroy the uniqueness of the Hoylake seafront, create conflict with other activities, including beach related activities such as bird watching, and/or have an adverse impact on the nature conservation value of adjacent areas. For example it is suggested that the Promenade should be maintained as a place for quiet relaxation with tourism facilities focused on other centres such as West Kirby and New Brighton. Another suggestion is that further research should be undertaken in order to establish the demand for additional facilities and appropriate levels of future use.
As a result of these comments and the examiners’ suggested changes, the current policy BR1 was redrafted and is now part of the NDP. The NDP therefore supports development on the promenade subject to conditions.
Nevetheless it is worth considering these observations more carefully and exploring what possible options there are for specific development on the promenade.
In order to further develop Policy BR1 in the next iteration of the NDP in 2020 we will need to:
- Consult widely on what kinds of development the community would like to see should opportunities arise in this area.
- Consider whether there are ways in which the town centre and the promenade could be better linked, either physically or thematically.
- Consider the impact of of increased footfall on the promenade on residential amenity, the environment, wildlife, peaceful enjoyment of the promenade and the local economy, and how a suitable balance of sometimes competing interests can be maintained.
- Explore support for specific proposals such as a café, open air food and drink area, limited seafront retail, artists and makers beachfront ‘units’ or outdoor gym area.