Three years ago, after relocating the Hoylake Lifeboat to the new building, the council wanted to sell the old building and adjacent land off.
The winning bid for the building came from a carpet company; it was to be used as a storage warehouse.
On the face if it, this was a bad – but perhaps not terminally bad – idea. It would at least keep the building in use. It would need to be warm and dry, and it would preserve the building for a few more years, until someone had the money, and the inclination, to do something worthy of it.
And, who knows, in the meantime, the carpets could have made a lot of people very happy.
But, being realistic, in a stronger economic environment, pretty much like the one coming up sometime soon, the site could also be considered pretty prime seafront residential land. It’s not inconceivable that a proposal would come forward to knock it down and build another block of flats. It’s been done before, after all… and only next door; and remember, what was once a cinema, is now a car park.
There’s architects and developers with computers and coffee table books and snappy suits and, well, everything, just ready to ‘design’ a new seafront residential scheme in minutes…
But, understandably, the objections began – who in their right mind would want a carpet warehouse ON THE FLIPPIN’ BEACH?
Thankfully, the decision was called in, a local property company bought the building and leased it to the newly formed Hoylake Lifeboat Museum.
Much better than a carpet warehouse. The building was saved and would be used in a way that respects its heritage…
Pause for reflection.
And, now, we have an opportunity to take it on to the next stage in the life of the building with The Beacon project.
But, what if The Beacon doesn’t happen?
Is the museum sustainable indefinitely, without major investment? And if not, then what of the building, and the adjacent land, owned by a council looking to sell off unused assets?
How about a magic carpet warehouse? OK, let’s be serious. Storage for plastic gutters and drainpipes or, erm, windfarm components?
Or perhaps more flats? A car park?
These are hard questions that need to be asked and, as money appears again on the horizon, now is the time to ask.
Something will happen to the site, at some point.
The Beacon project offers something that would make Hoylake an even better place to live and visit. It will fully respect the heritage of the building. It will bring much needed activity and regeneration to North Parade. It could combine leisure and lifeboat heritage again, as it did in years gone by.
It could be more magical than anything Genie could conjur up!