World class sporting events include International Sandyachting Championships © HVL
World class sporting events include International Sandyachting Championships © HVL

Q1: WHAT AND WHERE IS YOUR ORGANISATION AND COMMUNITY?

Hoylake is a small coastal town on the western corner of North Wirral. The Hoylake foreshore and hinterland enjoys a number of Natura 2000 protections including RAMSAR, SAC, SPA and SSSI.

Hoylake Village Life (HVL), a volunteer-led Community Interest Company, was formed in 2009 in response to ongoing economic decline of the town, which has adversely impacted on both built and natural environments. At the time, Hoylake was the lowest performing Wirral town centre in the UK retail rankings. Over the last ten years HVL CIC has created and delivered a series of flagship projects including:

  • 2014-2020: The Beacon project. This is a key economic regeneration project that resulted in 2019 in a successful bid to the Coastal Communities Fund to deliver a £3.64 million cinema and arts centre through an HVL-led public/private partnership vision, supported by numerous agencies including Wirral Council and with widespread public support. This is due to open in October 2020;
  • 2012-present: The Wildfowl and Wetland Centre project. This is a proposal to develop a Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre and eco golf resort in collaboration with Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust Consulting Ltd., the Environment Agency, RSPB, Wirral Council and the Golf Environment Organisation, again with widespread public support (ongoing);
  • 2011-present: Hoylake Vision Community Planning Forum. HVL created a “Vanguard” community planning forum, established in 2011 under the terms of the Localism Bill and subsequent 2012 Localism Act. The forum is responsible for the production of a Neighbourhood Development Plan which was “made” into the Local Plan in December 2016 following a local referendum in which 86 percent of those voting in favour of its adoption. The NDP includes objectives, priorities and policies to strengthen existing environmental protections.
  • 2011-present: “A Sustainable Vision for Hoylake Beach” This advocacy and awareness- raising programme aims to better inform the community about the role of sand accretion, saltmarsh development and dune succession in coastal processes on the North Wirral Foreshore at Hoylake and the wider significance of this for Hoylake’s current and future generations. (See Appendix I)

So far, this last project has focused on highlighting the unsustainability of Beach management activities conducted by Wirral Council, and licensed by Natural England, which have included suppression of saltmarsh by spraying of Glyphosate and raking of grasses, predominantly Puccinellia maritima, resulting in the suppression of dune formation, which would provide increased flood protections as well as bringing many other natural and economic benefits. Our “A Sustainable Vision for Hoylake Beach” conversation starter stresses how changes to this management regime will bring multiple benefits, addressing climate change and economic decline. It is this which forms the focus of our project.

New Nature (See Appendix II)
The next stage of this project for which we require financial support will be the first of a far reaching, three-phase, six-year programme with measurable outcomes over 30 years as a new dune-scape emerges. This will include: New Nature (phase one); followed by Visitor Experience (phase two) and Learning Hub (phase three). Each phase will build on the previous one, with long term economic sustainability secured through private enterprise partnerships.