This is nothing new…

In 2004, Wirral Council commissioned a ‘Masterplan’ for Hoylake and West Kirby. It makes fascinating reading. There’s reference in there to a proposed project SH8: Beacon for the Coast. Here is the relevant extract:

Beacon for the Coast, North Parade, Hoylake – SH8
3.137  Planning permission has been granted for the relocation of the existing Lifeboat Station to the old bathing pool site adjacent to Meols Parade Gardens. This will release the site of the current Life Boat Station as a redevelopment opportunity. A local group is planning to turn the existing station into a Maritime / Life Boat Museum.
3.138  This project seeks to support this concept, identifying this important location on the North Parade as an ideal site for a beacon/sculptural icon that celebrates the coastal heritage and beauty of the town.
3.139  Different design options have been considered, for example, a new build museum building that is an iconic feature on the waterfront such as the RNLI museum in Cromer, Norfolk, or a lighthouse that would celebrate the original lighthouse that once stood at this location.
3.140  This museum could also include historical, natural and wildlife interpretation specific to Hoylake with a link across to the North Parade, which at this point would be anchored by a viewing station or key sculptural element as part of the Wirral Waterside Way project (ST1).

3.141  It is recognised that the whole of the North Parade, Meols Parade and South Parade needs investment in its public realm, infrastructure and overall environment, however, specific points of activity along the parade such as ‘The Beach’ are key projects to attracting new investment that will ‘kick start’ the wider improvements needed along these Parades.

3.142  These projects will influence but not fully finance the investment required along the full length of the three parades. Wirral Borough Council must commit to a long term improvement framework that outlines a phased enhancement programme but also retains the flexibility to be able to ‘tap into’ external funding mechanisms.

3.143  This framework should also focus on the activities that rely on the Parades, such as bird watching, wildlife and historical interpretation, dog walking and sand yachting, ensuring that there are facilities and focal points that deliver activity along the full parade frontage.

Granted, no mention of a cinema here, but it doesn’t take a huge leap of the imagination to see it fitting in rather well. And it is clear that the masterplan identified North Parade as having huge potential.

What has been done in the intervening years?

The new lifeboat station has been built… and now has a shiny new lifeboat… and Hoylake Lifeboat Museum did indeed achieve its dream of being sited in the Old Lifeboat Station. But, realistically, we think it needs something much more ambitious, and commercially backed, to kickstart the much needed regeneration of North Parade.

Yes, absolutely ensure those heritage assets are protected, enhanced, and remain central to whatever new is done, but the driver needs to be entertainment and leisure if it is to have sufficient appeal. Critical mass will not come through heritage attractions alone.

It’s nothing new…

As far back as 1911, The ‘Pavilion’ Theatre was accessed from the old lighthouse which formed part of the foyer:


After that, the Winter Gardens and then Cannon Cinema stood behind the Lifeboat Station:

Hoylake Cinema 1996

Seafront entertainment and Hoylake Lifeboat sat well together here long before most of us were born.

Imagine, watching a film, and sitting on the restaurant balcony afterwards on a balmy summer evening, watching the sun set… or keeping warm indoors mid winter enjoying the uninterrupted panoramic view of a mighty storm approaching from the horizon…


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