Seaside grant money should be spent on improving business say Hoylake traders

BUSINESSES in Hoylake are calling for the proposed funding of regeneration projects in the town to be rejected by Wirral’s cabinet this week.

They claim there has been no proper consultation on how the £100,000 Coastal Town Funding grant for the area should be spent and want the council to revisit the scheme.

The cabinet will be asked to direct a share of the money to a Lifeboat Museum on the promenade, plans to install new equipment in Grove Park and a renovation scheme for Meols Parade Gardens.

But some business-owners are concerned the money will be spent on projects that will drive people away from the town’s main shopping area, threatening trade.

Government funding announced in January was made available to the council to support economic development in seaside areas.

Groups were invited to come up with ideas for projects that addressed a range of issues in the Hoylake and West Kirby area.

Specially-called forums were held in the two towns last month and residents had the chance to vote for which projects they believed should receive backing from the fund.

But now some Hoylake business people say there was too little notice about the funding that was available.

At a private meeting of traders on Thursday, one business owner, who asked not to be named, told the Globe: “The way that this has been done was all wrong.

“It has become more like a wish-list.

"I’m not being derogatory, but If you’re talking about regeneration you’ve got to look at what the business people are putting in here and what they’re getting back - which is basically nothing.

"If you want a lifeboat museum in Hoylake, fine. New swings in the park, fine. But it’s not going to bring people down Market Street.

“And what we need is more people on the high street."

Businesswoman Carolyn Allsop from Mortgage and Insurance Needs in Market Street said: “We’ve not been included in the consultation process, it’s as simple as that.

"Wirral Borough Council was given £200,000 under the Seaside Regeneration Scheme by the previous Government.

"The key aim was to support regeneration and economic development in Hoylake and West Kirby received £100,000 jointly.

"However we do not believe the council has promoted this scheme in a fair and transparent way to enable all interested parties in the local communities to submit proposals for funding, nor to make an informed choice in order to cast a vote at a meeting held on March 14.

"Twelve proposals were presented at this meeting and voted on by a select minority of approximately 120 people.

"Subsequently a decision has been made to award the £100,000 to five of these proposals.

"Wirral Council has failed to uphold its ‘commitment to engage with local people and give them the power to influence decisions in their local area’.

“We believe the Government criteria has not been reflected in some of the winning bids and we question the fairness of the voting system.

"With this in mind we respectfully request that the cabinet reject the recommendations and revisit the entire process.”