West Kirby Renewal Previous Email Bulletins

These are the most recent bulletins.

20 November 2010
West Kirby & Hoylake Developments: Sail Project Call-In

Here's the latest update on the various plans for West Kirby and Hoylake.

Sail Project Call-In:
The Sail Project will be discussed by the Council Excellence Overview and Scrutiny Committee at 6.15pm on Monday 22 November 2010, in Committee Room 1, Wallasey Town Hall. Anyone can attend.

What this means is that the Labour Group of Wirral councillors has asked for the Cabinet's decision of 14 October to be discussed by the Committee. The Committee can decide to agree or disagree with the Cabinet's decision to halt the project. If the Committee disagrees, the Cabinet will have to reconsider its decision.

The reasons given by the Labour Group are:
  • This project was set up to secure a world class sailing school and supporting facilities for the West Kirby Marine Lake, and the Hotel development on the Dee Lane Car Park is the enabling development to achieve that goal.
  • The need for that world class sailing school and supporting facilities for the Marine Lake has not changed and there is no other source of finance available now, or likely to be in the future, given the current financial climate.
  • This project has taken considerable time to develop, is in the last stages before Heads of Terms for the Development Agreement are finalised, and the developer remains committed to the project.
  • Another quality hotel in Wirral would be of benefit because, as the Merseyside Partnership acknowledges, it would attract investment and bring significant benefits to the tourism offer in Wirral. This is particularly the case with the advent of the Open Golf.
  • Any development, particularly in this current economic climate, will require a level of compromise in order to achieve the primary goals.
  • There is still time to consider the best way of mitigating the loss of those parking spaces and accompanying traffic issues, provided that any investigation is set in the broader context of the interests of West Kirby as a whole. However, that time has been denied to officers and to the Developer by the Cabinet decision to abort the whole project at this late stage.
  • A rejection of the project at this late stage sends out a very negative message to potential investors in Wirral who may be wary in the future of investing time and money into development projects that can be cancelled in this arbitrary way, and who may believe in future that Wirral politicians are prepared to allow a small and vocal minority, resistant to change, to over-ride the interests of the wider community.

Further details are available from http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=3271&T=0

Anyone wanting to speak should contact the Committee Contact Officer (see above link). Anyone wanting to send views should email the Committee Chair: philgilchrist@wirral.gov.uk


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15 October 2010
West Kirby & Hoylake Developments

Here's the latest update on the various plans for West Kirby and Hoylake.

1. Sail Project Halted
At the meeting on 14 Oct 2010, Cabinet voted
(1) against giving Carpenter Investments more time and delegating decisions to officers (6: 3) and
(2) that Carpenter Investments be thanked for their efforts but that their scheme be rejected. (also 6: 3).

2. West Wirral Area Forum
The next meeting is planned for 21 October 2010 at 7.00 pm in Blackhorse Hill Junior School, Saughall Massie Road, West Kirby, CH48 6DR.
See the Agenda at http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=284&MId=3135&Ver=4
This is another opportunity to hear what is going on from Council Officers and local Councillors and to take part in the ongoing debates about local and Wirral-wide issues. The Wirrals Future consultation (http://www.wirral.gov.uk/my-services/council-and-democracy/have-your-say/wirrals-future-consultation) will be discussed.
All are welcome.


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24 May 2010
West Kirby & Hoylake Developments

Here's the latest update on the various plans for West Kirby and Hoylake.

1. West Wirral Area Forum
Wednesday, 2nd June, 2010 7.00 pm
Venue: Hoylake Community Centre, 31 Hoyle Road, Wirral, CH47 3AG
This is your chance to question Council Officers and local Councillors and give your views about local issues.
It will include an update from the Youth Service about the West Kirby Youth Hub, and there will be the opportunity to say how 20,000 of additional council services will be spent in the area. See the Agenda at http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=284&MId=2951&Ver=4

2. Aldi, West Kirby
Work has not yet started on the building. Wirral Council and Aldi are still negotiating some final details of the planning permission (the Section 106 Agreement).

3. The Sail Project
We understand that work is continuing between Wirral Councils Legal Services and Carpenter Investments to draw up a draft Development Agreement, which would then have to go before the Councils Cabinet for approval.

4. 2009 Wirral Library Proposed Closures
The controversy was featured on Panorama on 17 May 2010. The episode is available on BBC iPlayer for the next 12 months. Wirral libraries are covered in the opening sequence and from 14 minutes onwards. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00sf94c/Panorama_The_Cuts_How_to_Fight_Back/



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17 February 2010
West Kirby & Hoylake Developments

Here's the latest update on the various plans for West Kirby and Hoylake.

1. Have Your Say on West Wirral
Wednesday 24th February 2010, 2.00 pm to 8.00 pm
Drop-in 2.00 pm to 7.00 pm, Meeting 7.00 pm to 8.00 pm
Westbourne Hall, Westbourne Road, West Kirby CH48 4DQ
The West Wirral Area Forum is holding an event to hear your opinions and ideas about where you live and what you would like to see improved in your area.

This event will give you a chance to meet and question your elected councillors, and representatives from Streetscene, Regeneration, community safety, housing, health, Police, etc.

More information about the event or about area forums in general is available from Tracey Smith on 0151 691 8026 or via traceysmith@wirral.gov.uk

For those unable to attend, a copy of the questionnaire that will be used is available from http://www.westkirbyrenewal.org.uk/files/Have_Your_Say_survey.doc. This can be returned via the One Stop Shop at West Kirby Concourse, or posted to
Tracey Smith
Senior Community Engagement Co-ordinator
Wirral Council
Town Hall
Brighton Street
Wallasey
Wirral CH44 8ED

2. Core Strategy Consultation
Wirral Council is asking local people if they agree with its broad vision for the long term development of the Borough.

The consultation is the latest step towards agreeing a new development framework for the borough, which will be known as the Core Strategy. The new strategy will replace the existing Unitary Development Plan, which was adopted in February 2000.

The Core Strategy will provide the broad direction for development and investment in Wirral over the next fifteen years and beyond. It will also help to inform decisions on individual planning applications and identify appropriate uses for all land in the borough.

As an early step in creating the Core Strategy, the council has published a Spatial Options Report, which has been drafted in the light of feedback received through previous stages of consultation. The public is now being asked for their comments on this report before the strategy is taken to the next stage.

The full process should be completed in 2011 once the Core Strategy has been agreed by the Council and signed off by the Government.

The consultation documents can be viewed and commented on on-line at http://wirral-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal. Copies of the documents are also available at Wirral libraries. A paper questionnaire is also available on request. Further details can be obtained from Wirral Council, Strategic Development on 0151 691 8206.

The closing date is 5 pm on 5th March 2010.


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30 November 2009
Libraries Inquiry Report published today

The Libraries Inquiry Report by Sue Charteris was published today, and is available at http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/wirral_local_inquiry.doc .

The Report is 98 pages long, but there is a 6-page Executive Summary (pages i to vi) at the start.

The key finding are that
"the Inquiry has found the Council to be in breach of its statutory duties under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964, because it failed to make an assessment of local needs",
and therefore that
"it is not possible for the Inquiry to endorse Wirral MBCs current plans for restructuring its Library Service".

Todays statement by the Minister Margaret Hodge (closing the Inquiry) is available at http://www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/media_releases/6489.aspx .


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23 October 2009
West Kirby & Hoylake Developments

1. The Sail Project
The Council Cabinet discussed the project on 24th September and agreed the following resolution
(1) That the Director of Law, HR and Asset Management be authorised to undertake detailed negotiations with Carpenter Investments with a view to drafting a Development Agreement including a consultation and stakeholder engagement plan, which would be reported back to a future meeting of Cabinet for approval
(2) That Cabinet give approval in principle for the Council to seek powers of Compulsory Purchase in order to facilitate redevelopment of the site, in the event that all other reasonable means to acquire vacant possession have proved unsuccessful, subject to the Developer indemnifying the Council against the associated costs.

This will be discussed at a special meeting of the Economy and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday, 27th October, 2009 6.00 pm (Committee Room 1 - Wallasey Town Hall). See the agenda here: http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=530&MId=2909&Ver=4
Any residents wishing to give evidence are invited to contact the Committee Officer, Brain Ellis (brianellis@wirral.gov.uk) in advance of the meeting.

2. Breach of Freedom of Information Act by Wirral Council.
A complaint that Wirral Council breached the Freedom of Information Act has been upheld by the Information Commissioner (the national regulator). The complaint concerned the questionnaires that some of the visitors were given to complete at the time of the Carpenter Investments exhibition in June 2008, and a request under the Act for copies to be released.
The complaint was that there were breaches of proper procedure in that the copies of the questionnaires in the possession of the Council were withheld, that refusal to release them did not adhere to the proper procedure, and that there were delays in the Council complaint process. These points have all been upheld and Wirral Council has now complied with the FOI Act and released copies of the questionnaires.

Ian

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22 September 2009
West Kirby & Hoylake Developments

Here's the latest update on the various plans for West Kirby and Hoylake.

1. The Sail Project
A leaked report to the Council's Cabinet, meeting on Thursday 22 September 2009, recommends the Council presses ahead with the Sail project - see http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/regional-news/2009/09/22/controversial-west-wirral-hotel-plan-looks-set-to-move-forward-92534-24747849/.
More information on the Sail Project is at http://www.westkirbyrenewal.org.uk/sail.htm

2. Hoylake and other library closures.
It is thought that a report on the Sue Charteris Inquiry will soon be published.

3. West Wirral Area Forum
The next Forum is on Wed, 14th October, 2009 at 7.00 pm, Melrose Hall, Melrose Avenue, Hoylake.
This is your chance to question Council Officers and local Councillors, and give your views about local issues.

Ian

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11 June 2009
West Kirby & Hoylake Developments

Here's the latest update on the various plans for West Kirby and Hoylake.

1. Hoylake and other Wirral Libraries.
The Inquiry by Sue Charteris started at the Floral Pavilion on Tuesday 9th June. Evidence in favour of keeping the Libraries open was presented on Tuesday. Alan Stennard was subjected to close questioning yesterday (Wednesday). A decision is not expected until the end of July at the earliest.

2. West Wirral Area Forum:
The next meeting is on Wednesday, 17 June 2009 at 7.00 pm
Westbourne Hall, Westbourne Road, West Kirby, Wirral CH48 4DQ
The Agenda is available from:
http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=284&MId=670&Ver=4
More questions about Wirrals allotment provision are also expected.

Ian

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24th April 2009:
West Kirby & Hoylake Developments

Here's a further update on the various plans for West Kirby and Hoylake.

1. Sail Project
A report appeared in the Wirral News on 23rd April suggesting that the hotel and sailing school project will not go ahead immediately, but that Carpenter Investments will be allowed a six month period to satisfy the Councils outstanding concerns. See here
Last night (24th April) the Council Cabinet met in closed session and verbal reports afterwards were that this was the decision that was made, with council officers instructed to have further discussions with Carpenter Investments and report back to the Cabinet in the next 6 months.

Two online petitions against the Sail project have set up.
http://wkirbyml.epetitions.net./ - a petition against the loss of parking for marine lake users.
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/westkirbyhotel - a petition against the hotel.

2. Pedestrianisation of the Crescent in West Kirby
Following a petition signed by many of the traders operating within the Crescent, and taking into account the current difficult economic climate, the decision has been made that the pilot pedestrianisation will not proceed for the time being.

Ian

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16th April 2009:
West Kirby & Hoylake Developments

Here's the latest update on the various plans for West Kirby and Hoylake.

1. Hoylake Library closure
You have probably heard the news that the Wirral library closures were suspended by the Government on 3rd April - see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/merseyside/7982435.stm.

2. Civic Society
The local Civic Society has changed its name to the Hoylake, West Kirby & District Civic Society to reflect the area that it covers and from where it draws its membership. It meets monthly for talks on a variety of subjects, and performs an important role in scrutinising planning application. For details on how to join, see http://www.westkirbyworkinggroup.org.uk/civic_society.htm.

3. Sail Project
Some revised plans were published on 2nd April - see Item 442 at
http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=121&MId=358&Ver=4.
There is still no chandlery in the sailing centre. The key change in the plans is that the current lake users car park would be shared between the lake users and general public, with up to 80 spaces being made available for pay and display public use. Revenue from both car park sites would go to Carpenter Investments.

The Cabinet met on 9th April to consider the proposals. Hugh Daglish of West Kirby Working Group, and Cllrs John Hale and Geoff Green spoke aginast the plans, but the Cabinet decided to proceed to a financial assessment at their next meeting on 23rd April. An account of the meeting is appended to this email.

Ian

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----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Notes on the Cabinet Discussion of the Sail Project 9 April 2009 (Item 15)

Cllr Foulkes (Chair) invited Mr Wilkie to report.

Mr Wilkie (Deputy Chief Executive) said that there were three outstanding issues from the last Cabinet meeting, and there have now been responses to these from Carpenter Investments (CI)
(1) Car parking: there is now a proposal to use the area adjacent to the Sailing School for public car parking. This area was originally within the red-lined area of the brief - CI were not previously proposing to use this, but are now. CI would want to manage the site and receive the income from it.
(2) Sailing School: omission of disabled toilet and location of the diesel store: Mr Wilkie said that these have now been addressed
(3) Design of hotel: CI have said that they will want to stick with the plans previously submitted.

Mr Hugh Daglish (West Kirby Working Group) spoke about the concerns of local residents. He said that:
  • people in West Kirby are in favour of change, but the current plans would harm West Kirby and the Wirral
  • the Sailing School specifications have not been properly met, for example there is no chandlery and no first aid room
  • the move of the public car park onto the Lake Users site would cause problems for the visiting users vans, trailers, minibuses and sometimes big teams - and space for turning, for the bulky equipment, for rigging and for launching craft would be gone
  • the plans woud reduce lake usage and remove the opportunity for prestigious events
  • the Lake Users site would not work well as a public car park, having to be closed in bad weather and at high tides
His talk was interrupted by Cllr Foulkes who told Mr Daglish that he was going into too much detail (Mr Daglish was pointing out the difficulty of deciding on what basis the Lake Users car park should be closed to the general public i.e. on what weather forcast).

Cllr Hale (local councillor) spoke and pointed out the dangers from
  • the loss of the chandlery
  • the loss of the Dee Lane car park

Mr Beer (of CI) said the priority was the provision of a high class Sailing School and Visitor Centre to the standard of their existing hotel in Hope Street. CI will continue to listen and discuss. The new designs have been well received by Places Matter. Consultation has been robust, open and done with the utmost integrity. He did not respond to the points about the loss of the chandlery and car parking made by Mr Daglish and Cllr Hale.

Mr Sparks (Manager of the Sailing Centre) gave evidence and answered questions from Cabinet Members.
He said that there is a lot on offer from CI and new showers would be a great improvement. With regard to the quality he felt sure that CI would be able to achieve what is needed. On the question of car parking, he said that this is an issue, but that when the weather is windy and the lake users car park is full, there are not many other visitors, and when the weather is sunny, there are a lot of visitors but there tends not to be much sailing.

Mr Green (Director of Technical Services) was in the room but was not asked to give evidence on the subject of car parking.

Cllr Holbrook (Leader of Liberal Democrat Group) said that he had joined the Cabinet at the stage of the design competition. Prior to 2007, decisions were made concerning the principles of the development, and these are now being challenged. He asked council officers if they could remember what was the original concept.

Mr Wilkie said that there were a range of proposals and asked Mr Mortimer to elaborate.

Mr Mortimer (Head of the Councils Special Initiatives Unit) said that when the project started, its aim was the repair of the Sailing School, and that alongside, some accommodation would be welcome. The two coming together in an iconic way was what drew the Cabinet originally. In 2006 the Cabinet came to the view that there was a solid economic case for the Sailing School and hotel proposal, and this has not changed.

Cllr Stapleton (Cabinet Member for Regeneration) asked HM whether there are other options for funding.

Mr Mortimer replied that at the start of the project there were talks with the North West Development Agency and other bodies and there is no doubt in his mind that replacing the Sailing School would not have attracted grant aid from these sources. So it was sensible to seek funding from the private route. He said that the specification on offer is excellent and at no cost to the ratepayer.

Cllr Quinn (Cabinet Member for Streetscene) said that there were parking and traffic flow arrangements that still needed sorting out and would definitely be a planning issue, but that some credibility had to be given to the manager of the Sailing School - he is saying that depending on the weather the spur car park can be used for different purposes.

Cllr Gardiner (Cabinet Member) said she was pleased to hear that CI will make changes, and that there is an opportunity to provide a much better Sailing School facility. She said that she sometimes despairs of West Kirby - there are some huge opportunities - but the pedestrianisation of the Crescent in West Kirby is now on hold because of the reluctance of the traders, whereas she would feel it to be a great improvement. But CI still have a long way to go, and will have to work extremely hard.

Cllr Green (local councillor and Leader of Conservative Group) spoke against the proposal saying that "when the facts change, I change my mind".

Cllr Foulkes (summing up) said that
  • CI have delivered what was asked for and have met the terms of the Lockout Agreement
  • this is fundamentally a public-private partnership and the technicalities will be discussed
  • the Council will lose credibility if it makes a commitment and then doesnt see it through
  • the specifications have been matched.
  • the question of Crosby Marina [being funded without private money] has been raised, but this is wholly different since it is run on a non-profit making basis
  • Wirral will receive back a much-enhanced development
  • CI have delivered what they were asked to do
  • and have delivered a solution to the parking issue.

Cllr Holbrook read out a motion that the terms of the Lockout Agreement have been met, that the officers report had been noted and that the financial points will be discussed at the next Cabinet meeting on 23 April (the public will be excluded from the discussions), and a further decision will be made then.

The motion was agreed unanimously by the Cabinet Members.


14th March 2009:
West Kirby & Hoylake Developments

Here's the latest update on the various plans for West Kirby and Hoylake.

1. Hoylake Library closure
Wirral Council issued a media statement on 12th March 2009 giving Saturday 4th July as the scheduled last day of service (closure from Monday 6th July) for Hoylake Library (the same applies to Beechwood, Eastham and Woodchurch Libraries, but others are earlier.)

The Hoylake Library Action Group is fighting this through complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman.

The Group is also encouraging supporters to write to the Museums, Libraries, and Archives Council to object to the closure. The address is:
Roy Clare
Chief Executive
Museums, Libraries, and Archives Council
Grosvenor House
14 Bennets Lane
Birmingham
B2 5RS

2. Sail Hotel Project in West Kirby
The Councils report on the latest proposals was published on 12th March, for discussion at the Cabinet meeting of 19th March (6.15pm Wallasey Town Hall) - the meeting is open to the public. See Council report and images at http://www.westkirbyrenewal.org.uk/sail_mar09.htm .
There will be no formal public consultation on the plans by the developer or the Council at this stage.
Anyone wanting to give their views on whether the proposal should go ahead can email the Cabinet members at
stevefoulkes@wirral.gov.uk
simonholbrook@wirral.gov.uk
jeanstapleton@wirral.gov.uk
stuartkelly@wirral.gov.uk
jeanquinn@wirral.gov.uk
gillgardiner@wirral.gov.uk
bobmoon@wirral.gov.uk
moiramclaughlin@wirral.gov.uk
phildavies@wirral.gov.uk
georgedavies@wirral.gov.uk

3. West Kirby Working Group
Hugh Daglish addressed the West Wirral Area Forum on 16 Feb to present the case that the Council is relying too much on consultants and developers for regeneration schemes and town planning, and that they are not listening to local people. See the text of his address at http://www.westkirbyworkinggroup.org.uk/files/AreaForumAddress.doc


Ian

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6th Feb 2009:
West Kirby & Hoylake Developments

Here's the latest update on the various plans for West Kirby and Hoylake.

1. Hoylake Library
The closure decision still has to be confirmed by the full Council meeting on Monday 9th Feb, 6.15 pm at Wallasey Town Hall - there are apparently discussions still taking place, and rumours of a split within the Lib-Dems.

2. The West Wirral Area Forum will take place on Mon 16.2.09 at 7.00 pm at Hoylake Chapel. The Agenda includes Hoylake & West Kirby Regeneration Projects, Westbourne and Hoylake Community Centres, and the closure of Hoylake Library. See http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=284&MId=521&Ver=4

3. Sue Craggs led a guided wildlife walk on Saturday 31 January, and this was attended by 25 people. Two more walks (suitable for families) on public footpaths on Hoylake Carr fields will be held on (a) Saturday 14 February 2009, 1.30pm and (b) Sat 28 Feb 2009, 1.30pm. These will show the rich wildlife in the area - it is this area that will be lost if the Golf Resort proposal goes ahead.
See http://www.westkirbyrenewal.org.uk/birket_valley.htm for more details.


Ian

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21st Jan 2009:
Hoylake Library

You have probably heard that the Council Cabinet met on 15.1.09 and agreed to many of the proposed cuts, and this includes the closure of Hoylake Library. But the decision still has to be confirmed by the full Council meeting on Monday 9th Feb, and there are apparently discussions still taking place.

A Hoylake Library Action Group has now been set up, and is appealing for people to help by
  • writing to Cllr Steve Foulkes, Wirral Council, Town Hall, Brighton Street, Wallasey, Wirral, CH44 8ED, or sending an email to stevefoulkes@wirral.gov.uk - Wirral Council had recorded only 10 letters or emails in support of Hoylake Library by 15.1.09.
  • helping with the organisation of the campaign - the contact is Barbara Kirby via beky@deneshey.fsnet.co.uk
  • distributing the Group's flyer - see http://www.westkirbyrenewal.org.uk/files/Its-not-too-late-leaflet.doc

There is some more information at http://www.westkirbyrenewal.org.uk/cuts_in_services.htm

Ian
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14th Jan 2009:
West Kirby & Hoylake Developments

Here's the latest update on the plans affecting West Kirby and Hoylake.

1. The proposed Council cuts will be discussed by the Cabinet tomorrow 15.1.09 at 6.15 pm in Wallasey Town Hall. The public are allowed to attend.

2. A website www.savewirral.com has been set up to oppose the cuts.

3. A demonstration took place outside Hoylake Library opposing its closure on 12.1.09 - see http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=XRSofN8rB_0

4. The North West Politics Show (12.30 lunchtime on BBC1 on Sunday, 18.1.09) is due to feature the proposed cuts.

5. The West Kirby Working Group has been formed to help persuade the Council that its regeneration plans for the area could be much improved, particularly through more effective consultation. See http://www.westkirbyworkinggroup.org.uk. So far, with the help of others active in the community, several documents have been put together (on consultation in general, on the Sail Hotel project and on Aldi) and these have been submitted to the Council. They are now published on the website on the 'activities' page.

6. Sue Craggs will be leading some guided wildlife walks (suitable for families) on public footpaths on Hoylake Carr fields on (a) Saturday 31 January 2009, 1.30pm (b) Saturday 14 February 2009, 1.30pm and (c) Sat 28 Feb 2009, 1.30pm. This will show the rich wildlife in the area - it is this area that will be lost if the Golf Resort proposal goes ahead. See http://www.westkirbyrenewal.org.uk/birket_valley.htm for more details.

Ian

http://www.westkirbyrenewal.org.uk/

Do forward this email to anyone who may be interested.
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