West Kirby flood alleviation scheme guidance

What are the extents of the works?

The works will go from the junction of South Parade and Riversdale Rd in the north to Sandy Lane at the south end of the Marine Lake.

How high will the wall be?

The finished wall height will be 1.2m.

Will the flood wall spoil the view?

The design of a flood wall is primarily based on its effectiveness at reducing flood risks, however the initial consultation identified that positioning the wall at the roadside will maintain the view of the lake and the estuary for all promenade users.

Why not pedestrianise the area?

As well as being popular with visitors and people shopping in West Kirby, vehicle access to South Parade is required by residents.

What will the wall look like?

Details of the outline design of the wall can be found on the project overview page

After the wall is completed will CCTV be installed along South Parade to help deal with any anti-social behaviour in the area?

There is CCTV located on South Parade at the junction with Dee Lane. Subject to future funding being available in the longer term, a further CCTV installation may be considered at the Sailing Club.

Some increase in youth related anti-social behaviour was reported last year around Ashton Park and Victoria Park and the council worked with Merseyside Police to establish a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for the Promenade and Victoria Park area and the Police and other partner agencies have increased patrols in this area.

This partnership working resolved many of the issues and eradicated some of the low level crime affecting this area. The Police and partner agencies have also set up Operation Beach Safe and this again provides additional resources which will be deployed during high footfall periods – weekends, bank holidays and school holidays. This high visibility patrolling and engagement will hopefully reassure West Kirby residents and also deter any criminally minded individuals. 

Will there still be seating?

Yes, seating will be incorporated in the final design.

Will it attract vandalism?

The wall is in a popular area, will be well lit at night and subsequently, the opportunities to vandalise the structure will be reduced. If any vandalism were to occur, however, the Council would remedy the problem as soon as possible.

What will happen to the existing benches?

From the public consultation carried out in 2015 it was clear that the preferred option was for a wall located on the landward side of the promenade meaning the removal of the benches along South Parade in order to accommodate the structure. Seating will be incorporated into the wall design, as will a location for commemorative plaques. Existing dedications will be transferred to new plaques which will then be placed as close to their original location as possible at no cost to the owners. If you have purchased an existing bench on South Parade, please contact WKFA@wirral.gov.uk or a member of the team for further details.

Can I have the bench with my relative’s commemorative plaque on?

If a member of the public wishes to keep their bench or plaque the Council will be happy to accommodate this.

Will it be possible to purchase new commemorative plaques?

The final design for the structure will incorporate an area for commemorative and celebratory plaques. Details for purchasing plaques through the Council will be publicised once the design is finalised.

What will happen to the shelters?

The shelters are to be refurbished and moved to new locations along South Parade. One is to be placed near to the new Sailing Centre and the other will be positioned on the area of the ‘old baths’ site.

What will happen to the street lights?

Existing street lighting is to be replaced with new LED lighting.

What will happen to the bins?

The scheme will ensure there are sufficient bins spaced regularly along South Parade. The position of the bins will be accommodated during the design process.

How will the scheme impact on environmental issues other than flooding?

Planning consent will require the approval from Natural England of a Habitat Regulations Assessment to ensure the construction does not damage the Dee Estuary designation. Procurement of the construction phase will require bidders to put together formal proposals to reduce the carbon footprint and keep the scheme as environmentally friendly as possible.

Will the wall be reinforced?

Yes, the wall will have sufficient reinforcement to withstand the loading from storm events.

How will I access the promenade with the wall in place?

There will be a number of access points through the wall along South Parade. Each access point will be fitted with a flood gate.

Who will close the gates and when?

The council receives sufficient notice for flooding incidents and has an operational plan in place for closing and opening the gates. Our highways team will be operating the flood gates.

What about wheelchair access?

Each access point will be wide enough for wheelchairs; however the proposals also include for the modification of the promenade to incorporate a number of disabled parking bays.

Why are you doing this scheme in West Kirby and not investing money elsewhere on the Wirral?

We take a strategic approach to Flood Risk Management and to delivering schemes when and where the impact has the greatest benefit. The Environment Agency have approved Grant Aid towards the costs of the scheme.

How do you know the scheme will work?

Modelling of tidal events determines the height of the wall in line with national standards. The will stop most of the flooding, most of the time.

What will happen if water gets over the wall?

Any water or spray overtopping the wall will have had its energy dissipated and will no longer travel as waves across the road and into property. Overtopped or surface water will drain using existing highway drainage.

When did the project receive planning permission?

The scheme was presented at the Strategic Planning Sub Committee on the 2 November 2021 at 6pm. The scheme received approval from that committee.

How can the council afford to do this?

The council feels that the importance of the scheme to improve the amenity value of the area and to protect infrastructure, property and ultimately life, makes the council contribution a necessity.

Would the wall have stopped the December 2013 event?

The standard to which the wall is designed is equivalent to the likelihood of a similar event to December 2013.

Could the wall be lower to allow for an improved view from parked cars?

The business case tested a lower wall scenario and found that it was not viable and would not have attracted funding.

How will the flood wall be funded?

Funding for the scheme comes in part from the Government through Grants administered by the Environment Agency. As the scheme does not qualify for 100% funding the remainder comes from the council.

Why is a permanent wall the preferred option?

A permanent wall is considered to be the most effective barrier against tidal energy. This combined with relatively low implementation and maintenance costs make it the best value for money option.

Will a wall prevent flooding or damage?

A flood wall will mean that the road and properties are better protected and that the likelihood of flooding and consequential damage is reduced.

Will a wall prevent the need for road closures?

A flood wall will mean that the road is better protected and that the likelihood of flooding and closures is reduced.

Why not just provide flood barriers for individuals or properties?

This option has been considered but the residual risks remain high because not everyone will install the temporary defences when necessary. Furthermore temporary defences may not prevent the type of damage seen on December 2013.  Given the likely cost of damages that remain with this option it is not the preferred option.

Why not use temporary defences?

This option has been considered but the residual risks remain high because of the risk that there is a failure to install the temporary defences in advance of a flooding incident. A 1km long defence would also need significant resource to deploy and recover for which there would be additional cost. There is also an issue of storage and also the cost of replacing the temporary defence every few years. Taking all these issues into account, this is not the preferred option.

Why not issue sandbags?

In some instances sandbags can be useful but sandbags would not withstand the wave energy during a tidal flood event. Additionally there are also costs and risks associated with deploying and recovering sandbags. This is not the preferred option.

Why is this scheme going ahead when my road or house elsewhere has been flooding for years?

Funding to address flooding issues comes from lots of sources there are systems in place to ensure that the money spent represents value for money - the cost of works must be less than the value of the property protected. Sometimes other agencies also have responsibility for resolving flooding issues and this can make the approach to resolving flooding problems more complex.

Wirral Council has plans in place to secure funding for many flooding locations but these have to be prioritised because there is not enough funding to solve everything at once.

Will it have an impact on my insurance?

The implementation of flood defences should not adversely impact on insurance premiums as it will reduce the likelihood of flooding; however it is advisable to contact your insurers for a definitive answer.

Why wasn’t this carried out when the Marine Lake was improved a few years ago?

The work to the marine lake was urgent in nature and did not come about as part of a planned approach to reducing flood risk. The lake wall was reconstructed in a very short space of time as it was in danger of collapse. To integrate the proposals to reduce flood risk would have increased the time for that project and the risk to the outer wall was too great, that is why the two schemes are separate.

Will the promenade be resurfaced?

The promenade will be resurfaced at the end of the scheme.

Construction Works

What work has already taken place?

Contractors have been on site to determine ground conditions on South Parade, the results of which informs ongoing detailed design work. Environmental investigations have also taken place to answer questions raised by statutory consultees as part of the Planning process.

Will I still be able to access my property?

Access will be maintained to properties at all times. Traffic management will be in place throughout the works and will have an operative at each end of the working area who will stop works as required and direct residents along the residential footpath.

Will I still be able to park on the road?

In order to undertake the work safely, sections of the road will be closed to all non-construction traffic including parking.  Advanced notification will be provided of any closures, and we will endeavour to open the sections of road as soon as feasibly possible. 

Will there be any changes to bin collections?

Bin collection will be undertaken as usual. When we are working outside residential homes, our team will move bins from residential gates to outside of the working area and return once collection is completed.

Will I still be able to have visitors and deliveries to my home?

Deliveries and visitor access will be maintained at all times. This will be done under the same conditions as residents accessing their home under the guidance of our traffic Marshalls.

What hours will the works take place, will it be noisy?

Our working hours are Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm, and Saturday 8am – 1pm. We do not anticipate to work Saturday’s however will notify you if necessary. With this type of construction work noise is to be anticipated, however we will do all we can to minimise this as much as possible. Noise monitors will be in place to ensure that we are working within the permitted limit.

Will the works damage my property?

No damage is anticipated to be caused by the construction work. It is however standard practice with this type of work for pre-construction surveys to be undertaken. An independent surveyor will arrange a mutually convenient time to undertake a photographic survey to the properties identified as being closest to the construction work. We are able to share a copy of this report with you should you wish.

Vibration monitors will also be in place close to properties as the works are undertaken, with strict tolerances in place that we must work within.

Will the promenade and South Parade be closed during works to visitors?

In order to safely undertake the work, the promenade and South Parade will need to be closed in sections as the works progress. Closures will only be in place during working hours (8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday) and the gates will be removed each evening and on the weekend. During the closures only residents will have vehicle and pedestrians access. 

We will endeavour to open up both the promenade and South Parade as quickly as possible upon completion of high-risk activities.

Where will the construction vehicles and materials be set up and stored?

The main storage of materials will be in the site compound located in Dee Lane car park next to Morrisons, with a further material compound being located adjacent to the West Kirby Household Recycling Centre off Greenbank Road. Materials will only be brought to location as and when required and all traffic movements will be planned outside of busy periods wherever possible.

Can the lake and circular path still be used?

For the majority of the time yes. There are no promenade works between the north of the lake (opposite the compound) until past the slipway. There will be an upstand wall constructed later in the project.

At the south, there will also be access as this slipway will have some construction works later in the project. Access will be maintained at all times for the RNLI.

Why can’t the work be done in winter?

We have to conform with the recommendations of a Habitat Regulations Assessment carried out as part of the planning process. Undertaking the major and most disruptive construction work in summer will minimize disruption to migrating birds and other wildlife that are present at times at West Kirby. To comply with one of the planning conditions there is an ecological monitoring officer in place to ensure that none of the works or activities are causing significant disturbance to bird populations. 

Will the RNLI and Beach Patrols be adversely affected?

The council has had discussions with both the Coastguard and the RNLI regarding the scheme. Beach Patrols will not be affected during the works. We have met regularly with West Kirby RNLI and have formulated a plan with their assistance, to temporarily relocate them for a period of the construction. The RNLI will return to their base before the onset of winter.

Will the lake be accessible during construction?

Access to the lake will be available throughout the construction for both lake users and those wishing to walk along the outer lake wall. It is not anticipated that there will be any significant disruption to lake access.

Can the lake and circular path still be used?

For the majority of the time yes. There are no promenade works between the north of the lake (opposite the compound) until past the slipway. There will be an upstand wall constructed later in the project.

At the south, there will also be access as this slipway will have some construction works later in the project. Access will be maintained at all times for the RNLI.

Where can I park?

From 3 May 2022, Dee Lane car park will be fully closed to all motorists until early 2023.

The nearest alternative large public car park is at West Kirby Concourse, accessed from Orrysdale Road. This car park is pay and display.

What is the best way to get to West Kirby?

Consider using public transport to visit West Kirby whilst the construction of the wall takes place.

West Kirby train station is conveniently located in the centre of West Kirby with the beach just a 5-minute walk away. There are also a number of bus services that start and terminate at West Kirby.

The Merseytravel website provides the latest information on bus and train times and tickets available

Will it impact on the sailing centre development?

We have been working with the team responsible for the sailing centre to make sure the flood wall links in with the new development.

Will temporary street lighting be provided now that it gets dark very early?

The street lighting infrastructure along South Parade West Kirby has been removed as part of the ongoing flood alleviation project. The previous street lighting was in poor condition, particularly the cabling underground, which was life-expired and prone to failures causing widespread outages of lighting.  

Aside from the cost implications, regrettably it is not possible for us to provide temporary street lighting during the works as it is not technically feasible and would impact on the contractor’s programme and working operations within the curtilage of their site boundary.  

However, the project includes for brand new street lighting infrastructure, with new cables and ducting, including black coated aluminium lighting columns, and modern energy-efficient LED lanterns. All of this new infrastructure will significantly improve the efficiency and appearance of the street lighting provision along South Parade.  We do recognise that the project is continuing throughout the winter months and that there will be no public lighting provision on South Parade itself until the project is completed next year.  

However, the contractor is working on the site (providing their own construction lighting when working during the hours of darkness) and there is continued limitations to public pedestrian access on the promenade side during this time.  In the meantime, the street lighting in all of the side roads is fully operational.