The future management of Hoylake beach

05 April 2024
graphic saying Wirral Council Committee update on blue background

Wirral Council’s position on the future management of Hoylake beach should become clearer after members of the Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee meet on April 15th.

Members will be asked to consider a report from council officers that explains the outcome of a public consultation which took place in February and March on two options for a new Hoylake Beach Management Plan. 

The report recommends developing the option preferred by the majority of people who responded to the consultation as the basis for the final plan. The result was roughly 2/3 in favour of the option entitled ‘amenity beach’ over the alternative ‘access for all’ proposal. 

Members will be asked to accept a recommendation for the council to continue to work with Natural England on developing a new beach management plan that approximates as closely as possible to the ‘amenity beach’ proposal.

The life-saving operations of the RNLI and their ability to continue to launch and operate from the Hoylake foreshore was a central consideration in the development of both proposals that went out for consultation. 

Both options included proposals for differing levels of vegetation removal in order that some amenity space can be retained at the beach and that safe access can be provided for the RNLI for their life-saving operations. The proposals were also shared with Natural England and the Merseyside Environment Advisory Service (MEAS) for their advice and recommendations ahead of the public consultation launching in February.

Whichever option members of the committee decide to take forward, further refinements and activities will need to take place before the plan gains the necessary agreement from Natural England to be implemented.

These include the development and refinement of Habitat Regulation Assessments; further advice from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) on a discretionary basis; a risk assessment under the Environment Agency’s Water Framework Directive; a Marine Licence Application and a Protected Species Survey.

This work, plus progress on any additional refinements required on advice from Natural England, means it is unlikely that the new Beach Management Plan will receive final approval from Natural England before September 2024.

The final Beach Management Plan will also include activities to address a range of associated issues at Hoylake beach, including the maintenance of drainage from the road; improvements to water quality discharges, the maintenance of Hoylake Boating Lake; effective management of wind-blown sand and a Hoylake Beach ‘Code of Conduct’, which all beach users will be encouraged to adhere to.

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