HERITAGE tourism has become a "spectacular" money-spinner for Wirral and the wider Merseyside area according to Heritage Champion Cllr Jerry Williams.

As Wirral's Open Heritage Week drew to a close, Cllr Williams disclosed: "The money coming into the local area because of heritage tourism is absolutely massive - the local economy is benefitting in a spectacular fashion.

"In spite of restricted funding, Wirral is firing on all cylinders. The same is happening in Liverpool."

Wirral's Heritage Week was backed by more than 70 historic and heritage associations across the peninsula.

They worked closely with the local authority on what is recognised as the second-biggest event of its kind in the UK.

Said Cllr Williams: "Our heritage strategy is copied by local authorities across the country. English Heritage use it as a role model of good practice.

"And the work we are doing on our conservation area is seen as ground-breaking by them."

Wirral Council recently gave recognition to a new conservation area in Lower Bebington, which includes a variety of historic buildings, including the Mayer Hall clock tower.

Eileen Wilshaw, Wirral Council's heritage officer, said: "It is quite obvious this is not just a Wirral activity. We are bringing in people from across the North West, particularly Cheshire and Merseyside.

"Heritage weeks are national events which usually last for four days.

"But because we have so much activity we have extended it to nine days to give people the opportunity to go to places they want to visit.

"The whole idea is to get people who love heritage and history to look at things they might not have seen before."