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Public toilets, lifeguards and access to Hilbre Islands to return

Wirral Council is continuing to exercise caution in lifting restrictions in response to changes in national guidelines. However, ahead of this weekend, a number of developments have been made possible as part of a wider Summer Coastal Plan that is being implemented in Wirral.

Some public toilets are reopening, beach lifeguards are returning and restrictions are being lifted for people wanting to walk to Hilbre Islands this weekend as part of the summer planning.

The council is investing around £25,000 to ensure some existing public toilet blocks can be opened up in a limited manner, including three cubicles at Harrison Drive (New Brighton), one at Marine Point (New Brighton), and four cubicles at Moreton Common.

In addition, temporary public toilets are being installed at West Kirby (Wirral Sailing Centre) and Hoylake (near to the RNLI station) while alteration works are being carried out to the existing blocks in those locations to get them ready for a safe reopening.

There will be a comprehensive and very regular cleaning regime in place to ensure that the facilities are kept as clean and hygienic as possible. The facilities will be open during peak daytime hours.

Due to the limited number, the advice for residents and visitors is that, where possible, they should only be using them as a last resort. This is so they can be kept as accessible as possible for people with health conditions that might mean they need to use a toilet urgently.

A further development this weekend is that the full beach lifeguard service provided by the RNLI is resuming at more locations along Wirral’s coastline from 27th June, which also means that restrictions on walking to Hilbre Islands can now be lifted.

However, if people are planning a walk out to the Islands they need to stay mindful of a number of issues. The key thing they need to consider is tide times – these are posted daily on the Dee Lane noticeboard.

The Islands get cut off from the mainland by the tide for about six hours out of every 12, so if anyone is planning a visit, they must allow themselves enough time to cross and return safely. Walkers should also be aware that there are no facilities or services on the islands.

Other aspects of the Summer Coastal Plan include an increased number of bulk bins being put in in high footfall areas backed up with an increased level of street cleansing. It also looks at parking and traffic management issues and sets out details about how the council will work with partners such as Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service to tackle community safety issues.

Cllr Julie McManus, Wirral Council Cabinet member for Community Services, said: “There are unprecedented demands being placed on council services across the board right now due to the impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“Proceeding with caution and having the safety of residents and council staff at the forefront of our thinking, we are beginning to reintroduce some of those services and amenities that had to be closed during the lockdown. We are also investing significantly in making improvements to how we deliver some of these services in light of evolving government guidance. I’m proud of our response to date and I’m pleased with the plans we have brought together for our coastal areas over the summer months.

"However, I strongly urge everyone to continue to take personal responsibility and use their judgement when they are out and about enjoying everything that is great about the Wirral’s coast.  This virus has not gone away. The advice around handwashing, social distancing and limiting contact with people outside of your immediate household remains a vital means of reducing the likelihood of a further wave of infection.

“If people treat each other and their local environment with the respect it deserves – give each other space, put all your litter in the bin – then we will all benefit and be free to enjoy our outdoor space this summer.”