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Finished With Engines: Irish Sea Shipping is now closed to new updates - J.H. Luxton Photography - Transport, Industrial History, Regional Photographs UK & beyond

Closure of Seacombe Promenade to Vehicles - Wirral Council Response

Following on from the Viewpoint feature concerning the proposed closure of Seacombe Promenade to vehicles [click here] I forwarded the letter opposite to Wirral Borough Council.

The letter prompted a detailed response which is reproduced below to which I have made some comments in the margin.

John H. Luxton

236 Smithdown Road


L15 5AH

September 10, 2007

Mark Reaney

Head of Legal and Member Services

Town Hall

Brighton Street


CH44 8ED




Dear Sir,

I note with concern the recently published notice announcing the intention to prohibit all but essential vehicles accessing Seacombe Promenade and, therefore, wish to record my objection to this proposal.

There exist very few locations where it is possible to park on the Mersey waterfront and I know that this particular stretch of promenade is particularly popular with ship photographers.

I, and a number of friends and acquaintances park at this location on a regular basis to photograph shipping movements. The removal of vehicle access from this location will be sorely missed especially when the weather is less than favourable.

At certain times the nearby Mersey Ferry / Spaceport car parks can be quite busy, and these parking facilities do not allow one to remain in one’s car and watch the passing shipping / river scene.

As there is no through traffic along the promenade the decision by Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council appears to be somewhat mean spirited.

May I make the suggestion that council has possibly overlooked the potential to offer pay and display parking in this area?

I therefore request that this decision is reconsidered.

Yours faithfully

Mr. John H. Luxton

 Wirral Council's Reply




I can think of quite a few areas of Wirral which are significantly "uninviting and unwelcoming" - can't say, in my opinion, that this is true of the promenade.

One can't help wondering why the scale and nature of the ventilation station has suddenly become a problem - it has been there since 1971.

Yes but it has always been like that - why change if for a few who may be put off walking along. It is quite evident as soon as one reaches the start of the promenade that vehicle access is prohibited beyond the ventilation station.






Someone appears to fail to realise that quite a few people who walk the promenade appear to park at the Seacombe end.

Only one objection? Given the number of ship photographers who I have observed park there I thought more people would have complained. - Perhaps I shouldn't have bothered?!








Why they thought I was suggesting a restriction on photography - I can't think!


Yes - but Egremont Ferry is further from the shipping channel due to the groyne - in bound ships do not pass as close!


Well I did my bit to look after ship enthusiast / photographers' interests!


•   This report considers an objection received to a proposal to prohibit driving on Seacombe Promenade, Seacombe.

•    Driving is currently prohibited on Seacombe Promenade from a point just north of the Kingsway Tunnel Ventilating Station. The proposal to prohibit driving is shown on the attached Plan Ref 67/07/G. It is considered that the first 200-metre section of promenade from Seacombe Ferry Terminal to the Ventilating Station is a key gateway to the Wirral waterfront for day visitors arriving from Liverpool on the ferry, or arriving by car or bus to visit Spaceport or the aquarium.

•   At present, this first section of promenade is uninviting and unwelcoming to visitors who do not know the area. This is not helped by the scale and nature of the ventilation station and also the existing street furniture and surfacing, which are in a poor state of repair. The existing car parking along the roadway adds to the unattractive setting, cluttering the view and impeding visual connections to the promenade further north.

•   The present arrangement of the roadway with parking and pavement limits access, creating a 'non-friendly' environment for pedestrians and cyclists. The narrow width of pavement (2.5 metre wide) compared to the roadway (6.0 metre wide) is also considered off-putting for those who do not know that the promenade broadens out to form a pleasant pedestrian and cycle route further north (14.0 metre wide).

•   As a result of these factors, this area was prioritised for investment through Mersey Waterfront's Pride in Our Promenades scheme. The design proposes the creation of a single, at-grade and high quality, natural stone surface to form a welcoming, safe and accessible gateway to the Seacombe to New Brighton promenade. As well as high quality surfacing, the design also includes new tree planting, street furniture and signage/interpretive features.

•   For the success of this scheme it is imperative that the existing vehicle access to this area is restricted, so that an attractive, pedestrian and cycle-friendly environment can be established. As part of the design process, a People's Panel consultation event was organised in July 2006 to put forward the general design principles of the scheme for this part of the promenade and to gauge public opinion. The panel was made up of a representative number of local citizens, including representatives of local community groups, neighbouring residents, as well as those living further a field. On the particular issue of access at this location, all but one member of panel were in favour.

•   As a result, restricted access is proposed along a defined, but at-grade carriageway from Victoria Place to the Kingsway Tunnel ventilating station. Access to the Seacombe Ferry Pub car park would be maintained, beyond this emergency and maintenance vehicles would be allowed only. This restriction would prevent all parking by the public along this section.

•    It is the intention that the new scheme will establish a welcoming and legible environment, creating an excellent first impression of the Wirral for visitors. It is hoped that this will encourage exploration further along the promenade, providing a safe and pleasant access route to other destinations, as opposed to visitors choosing to remain solely at the Ferry Terminal facility.

•    Following formal notification of the proposal, one objection to this proposal was received. The objector who visits this location wished to object on the grounds that there were few places where it was possible to park on the Mersey Waterfront and uses this location on a regular basis to photograph shipping movements. The objector considered the loss of parking at this location would be missed when the weather is less than favourable. The objector stated that he considered that other nearby Mersey Ferry / Spaceport facilities can be quite busy and do not allow one to remain in one's vehicle to watch the passing shipping / river scene.

•   The stretch of promenade between Seacombe and New Brighton on the whole is an excellent resource for both residents and visitors, offering a safe and car-free environment for cyclists and pedestrians. The promenade is already very popular with residents and there is great potential for the promenade to support greater visitor numbers, making a positive contribution to future health and well-being.

•   There will be no restriction on the use of the promenade for photography, only a restriction on vehicular access. This is in line with the restrictions in place along the remainder of the promenade between Seacombe and New Brighton, and for the sound reasons outlined above.

•    Furthermore, there are at least three alternative locations along the Promenade where photographers can view passing shipping form their cars, at the rear of Spaceport, at Egremont Ferry and at New Brighton. There is also substantial parking provision allowing "easy access to the prom, including car parks at Vale Park and the front of Spaceport.

•   Within equal opportunities implications the proposals have been designed in consultation with the Council's Access Officer, to ensure that the improvements are as accessible as possible to everyone.

•    In consultation with Wirral Waterfront, who are driving this scheme, we have considered the potential impact of the loss of parking and the incorporation of some "Blue Badge" spaces within the proposed order, but on balance decided that this would compromise the main purpose of the scheme.

•    In coming to this decision, we were mindful of the alternate parking provision for disabled car users in the near vicinity of the section affected by the proposed order, in particular at Egremont Ferry and at the rear of Spaceport, where there is direct access to the promenade. In addition there are dedicated spaces at the front of Spaceport.

•   There are no specific community safety implications arising from this report.

•   Within Local Agenda 21 implications the control of parking is part of a wider strategy to reduce reliance on the motor vehicle.

•   There are no direct planning implications arising from this report.

•   There are no anti-poverty implications arising from this report.

•   There are no social inclusion implications arising from this report.

•   This report has implications for the Seacombe Ward.

•   A letter from a non-Wirral resident has been used in the preparation of this report.


It is  recommended that the objectors concerns be  noted  but that the proposal  be introduced as advertised.


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