Plans to create a conservation area in Lower Bebington have been given a mixed reception.
Following a consultation exercise by Wirral Council, many people welcomed the proposal as a means of protecting the architectural integrity of the area and a safeguard against unsuitable future developments.
One villager observed: “Lower Bebington has long lacked a degree of protection afforded by conservation areas status.”
Another commented: “It’s about time Bebington was recognised.”
Others remained less convinced. One resident responded: “There is little to conserve except for the parks.”
Others were concerned that conservation status would mean they would not be able to afford to do work on their homes.
Fears were also expressed that the move could hinder economic growth; while one person observed bluntly: “Bebington has no centre.”
In a report to this week’s meeting of Wirral planning committee Kevin Adderley, Wirral Council’s director of regeneration and environment disclosed several community groups had recently been formed with the objective of restoring The Clock Tower, Mayer Hall and Mayer Park – a legacy of philanthropist and educationalist Joseph Mayer.
He said that designation of the area with conservation areas status would help support the group in their endeavours.
Mr Adderley warned that designation on the area could have financial implications in respect of the provision of more traditional street furniture, lighting and paving that might be expected under conservation area status.
The village of Lower Bebington lies on the line of the former principal route to Chester from Birkenhead. The original village pre-dates the surrounding centres of Birkenhead and Bebington.
It has no defined centre but the principal buildings are the Mayer Hall complex, the Civic Centre and adjacent shops and pubs and St Andrews Church.
Councillors have been recommended to press Wirral Council to approve the conservation area designation as a material consideration in planning and conservation-related matters.