Many thanks to those of you who have been in touch to alert me to the rather wordy but interesting Wirral Council Core Strategy Report (available here, opens in new window). The report covers the whole Wirral and refers to Hoylake in several sections.
Here are some of the paragraphs that I’ve copied from the report (my own headings)
Lowest Ranking Town Centre
Hoylake is Wirral’s lowest-ranking Key Town Centre in the UK retail rankings, and we have identified evidence of ongoing decline. Hoylake has a limited and contracting comparison retail sector, with particularly poor representation from clothing retailers.
The centre is also characterised by a very high vacancy rate, low footfall, limited operator demand, and a poor physical environment in parts. Although the centre has a more thriving service sector (based around pubs and wine bars), local stakeholders raised concerns about the anti-social behaviour that is currently associated with this activity.
Hoylake Is Linear
In summary, Hoylake is a long, linear centre interspersed with vacant units, which no longer performs a true ‘town centre’ role, and we consider that it would benefit from consolidation and intensification across a more appropriate physical area, although we acknowledge that in practice achieving this will be challenging.
We also suggest that the centre would benefit from access to better local bus connections, further measures to reduce anti-social behaviour (particularly at night), and continued investment in the physical environment (particularly towards the northern end of Market Street).
Signs Of Weakness
Nine of the Borough’s centres – including Birkenhead and Liscard Town Centres – are exhibiting some signs of weakness. A further four centres, including Hoylake Town Centre, are showing more significant signs of weakness or decline.
Hoylake Not Town Centre
For instance, we consider that Hoylake and New Ferry no longer justify ‘town centre’ status, and taking account of the various evidence collated through this study we do not see any prospect of these centres expanding their roles in the future. It is therefore more appropriate to reclassify them in the hierarchy and ensure that the level of development
Food and Drink
Promoting further high-quality food and drink uses in Hoylake, in particular, could be a good way of dealing with the high level of unit vacancy in the centre, although local stakeholders assert that the reported
antisocial behaviour problem in the centre is associated with food and drink facilities and so enhanced security measures would need to be implemented in parallel with any expansion of Hoylake’s evening entertainment role.
Hoylake has benefited from recent investment in its streetscape and public realm, focused primarily around the northern end of Market Street. The environmental improvement works have included new paving, street lamps, street furniture, signage and tree-planting.
However, local stakeholders have commented that the maintenance of buildings needs to be improved, and we noted that the large number of vacant units and other non-descript buildings in Hoylake detracts substantially from the character of the centre.
This problem is particularly acute towards the southern end of Market Street/Birkenhead Road. The frequent usage of security shutters in some areas of the centre also undermines the quality of the streetscape. We therefore recommend that similar improvements should be made to the other parts of the centre, and that buildings should be better maintained.
Have Your Say
So, what do you think to those sections I’ve highlighted?
- How do you feel about Hoylake being downgraded to a District Centre?
- How can Hoylake change it’s physical layout whilst keeping a significant main road running through it?
- Would Hoylake be improved by a town/village square area?
- Did you discuss these issues and more at last weeks Hoylake Village Life organised meeting (I was unable to attend) ?
- Will the news of the Hoylake 2014 Open Golf help Hoylake? The Womens event is being held in 2012 too.
- Please do leave your comments below.
More formally, you have until 5pm on 5th March 2010 to submit your comments to the Wirral Council either online or in writing. Any feedback received will be published in a public report and considered by the Council as part of the next steps in developing the Core Strategy.