Wirral needs cash to help maintain historic buildings, says heritage champion

WIRRAL is being starved of national lottery cash to help maintain the fabric of a host of historical buildings, heritage champion Cllr Jerry Williams claims.

Wirral South MP Alison McGovern is campaigning for more Lotto funding to be diverted to heritage schemes across the borough.

She will point out to regional lottery fund manager Sara Hilton - whom she meets in the New Year - that the peninsula has received just 2.48m of the 156m distributed across the North West by Lottery Heritage Fund over the past five years.

She said: "I intend to ask why Wirral has received such a small share of funding and to see how the situation can be improved."

Cllr Williams observed: "There is a whole host of historical buildings in Wirral in need of tender loving care. It is really important that we get funding to maintain these buildings.

"Wirral is not getting a fair amount of funding in relation to its large proportion of massively iomportant historic buildings. It is not a good situation at all."

Cllr Williams said the clock tower at Bebington Civic Centre, with its ornate sculptures, was a classic example of a historic building in need of attention.

Others included Fort Perch Rock at New Brighton, Birkenhead town hall and the medieval hall in Little Storeton Village.

He commented: "There is a whole host of buildings right across Wirral in need of lottery funding. We have a massive 'want' list. What Alison McGovern is saying is right to the point."

Ms McGovern said she and Birkenhead MP Frank Field were pressing for funding to be allocated for a revamp of Rock Ferry Esplanade.

"It is a very historical part of the borough in need of restoration," she said. "It could become a really lovely location."

She went on: "While I recognise that Liverpool and Manchester have proud heritages in need of preservation, this should not be done at the expense of other areas in the North West that have their own stories to tell."

Part of the problem with funding allocations, she said, was a shortfall in applications from local organisations.

"We need to get organisations in Merseyside and Wirral to get their applications in.

"When I meet Sara Hilton I need to clarify what the barriers are and determine what are the right type of allications to be submitted."

A Lottery Heritage Fund spokesman said: "The aim is to boost local communities and to facilitate the improvement of historic buildings such as places of worship and, in some cases, landscapes."