The Beacon is Dead! Long Live the Beacon!

Reply to:

From David Armstrong
Acting Chief Executive
Wirral Borough Council

Dear Sirs


I understand that issues have been raised by the Head of Regeneration and Planning in respect of any development of the triangular shaped piece of land on Hoylake promenade.

These concerned the constrained nature of the site, lack of car parking, the affect on the amenity of neighbours, difficulties with servicing and its isolated position in respect of other facilities in Hoylake.

In addition, you are aware that a covenant restricts the use of the land for any purpose other than in connection with the Hoylake and West Kirby Improvement Acts 1897 or associated Acts, and so a release from this would be required from Peel.

There was considerable opposition to the last attempt to develop the site which caused us to withdraw the site from sale. In turn, we had to pull out of a deal agreed with Peel.

In light of the above therefore, I have to advise that the site cannot be made available.

Yours Faithfully

David Armstrong
Acting Chief Executive


Ian Hazlehurst

February 2, 2015 at 4:41 pm - Reply

Oh no, oh well if Peel Holdings has ruling over it, nobody can touch it. Such a missed opportunity.

Maybe another site will prove to be more suitable.

Brian Campbell

February 2, 2015 at 6:31 pm - Reply

Peel Holdings?

Is there anything these land grabbers do not have any control over?


February 2, 2015 at 7:48 pm - Reply

Just as a point of clarification, the land is owned by Wirral Council albeit with a covenant held by Peel Holdings; both of these issues were known and had been discussed at length with WMBC. See our blog item ‘The Magic Carpet Warehouse’.

It had been firmly established and understood that WMBC could not dispose of the land to a potential developer without Peel’s consent as holders of that covenant but this in itself would not be insurmountable: covenants are not unusual.

This is what has now changed insofar as WMBC now appear to be refusing to sell the land to any prospective developer, regardless of the covenant.


February 2, 2015 at 7:41 pm - Reply

So the triangle of land remains as an eye sore for Hoylake residents?! So much potential. When will they realise that Hoylake prom needs something to attract visitors?!

Richard Stowe

February 2, 2015 at 9:32 pm - Reply

interesting turnaround by Wirral. The site was highlighted in the Regeneration for Hoylake andWest Kirby master plan back in 2004-titled Beacon for the Coast. Actually not much seems to have been achieved from this 10 year plan. I really think this proposal has merit and you shouldn’t let this stifle the main goal. Sometimes it’s best to go round walls than tackle them head on.

Paul Cardin

February 2, 2015 at 9:34 pm - Reply

Acting Chief Exec and he can’t spell “effect”. Tut.

Peter Wilson

February 4, 2015 at 1:46 pm - Reply

A disappointing response from WBC.

No doubt Hoylake’s councillors are piling in to support such an excellent project? I do hope so! But I haven’t seen any quoted in the local media.

I can’t believe the covenant is a big issue. Why would Peel not lift the covenant? Is it indeed clear that the covenant is an impediment in reality?

Hoylake residents have the right to expect the council and local councillors to be promoting this kind of development with all their energies.

Sadly, the H&WK Masterplan has only delivered some very smart but very limited public realm improvements which were the least they could get away with to attract the R&A to hold The Open in Hoylake.

Come on, Councillors, please roll up your sleeves and champion this great project!

Peter Reisdorf

February 7, 2015 at 7:08 am - Reply

What does the Hoylake and West Kirby Improvement Acts 1897 actually say? What are the associated Acts?


February 7, 2015 at 7:51 am - Reply

From Hansard 6 August 1897 vol 52 c532

ci. An Act to confer powers upon the Urban District Council of Hoylake and West Kirby, for the construction of Parades and a Marine Lake and for the Improvement of the Hoyle Lake, and to make better provision for the local government, health and improvement of the district, and for other purposes. (Hoylake and West Kirby Improvement.)

It is our understanding that the Act is therefore for the “betterment” of the Promenade and the, er… district.

Stephen Donnelly

February 7, 2015 at 7:32 am - Reply

Facilities such as a cinema make a place ‘more town like’. Wirral Council want to give Hoylake ‘local centre’ status. David Armstrong is only obeying orders.
His response reminds me of a school boy essay – must give a long list of reasons. Laughed at the one about it being isolated from other facilities (5 minutes walk from Market Street). As if people will only visit a cinema if the cinema is next to other things.

Julian Priest

February 7, 2015 at 9:48 am - Reply

Quote “and for the Improvement of the Hoyle Lake,”…well our local Council failed on that one didn’t they….it silted up….perhaps we should remind “them” of that inclusion in the covenant they refer to?

John Hutchinson

February 7, 2015 at 10:10 am - Reply

Covenants are not unusual and can always be overcome by agreement with a reasonable “owner” of the covenant.

The aims of the Lifeboat Museum, Ruthstar, are well stated and it would do much for the Promenade. There is an article in “The Lake” about the Museum but it does not provide us with encouraging news.

John Hutchinson

February 7, 2015 at 10:15 am - Reply

The land with its covenant was sold to Peel.

So, why cannot Peel sell on the land still with the covenant?

The houses that my wife and I lived in, all had covenants of varying types, but we bought the houses and we sold them.



February 7, 2015 at 10:27 am - Reply

Just a point of correction John, it is WMBC, not PEEL, who own the land. Peel simply hold a covenant on it… But even so, this would not normally preclude development or a potential future sale to a developer.


February 11, 2015 at 5:29 pm - Reply

I encountered this covenant when I was Chair of the Lifeboat Museum. I cannot recall the details exactly but I think it dates from the time the Victorian promenade was built. The wording is something along the lines that the use of the space (“the triangle”) should be for the well-being of the people of Hoylake. It struck me that the exact wording might be narrowly or broadly interpreted. It was always going to be open to question whether a profit-making bistro might be compliant with such a covenant, but I am far from expert on the subject. The Council appear unwilling to sell the land or allow building upon it but, that aside, I do know that senior Council officials like a great deal of what the Beacon project seeks to do. I know those on the Steering Group and I am sure others have put a great deal of work into the concept and I would urge them to explore opportunities with Wirral Borough Council and retain their optimism.

As a suggestion, I think that the former Presbyterian church at the Market Street end of Alderley Road might be worth examining. It is a nice building, an established public facility and close as a church on February 28th. The building also has alongside it a good size public hall and might offer excellent potential as a future cinema cum arts/heritage centre close to the heart of Hoylake. Just a thought.

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