FLOOD defence plans which aim to protect homes and businesses in West Kirby have been backed by the public following a consultation exercise.

A report on the proposed Flood Alleviation Scheme shows 90% in favour of a new flood defence for the seaside town, with preference for a new structure to be built set back from the iconic promenade.

More than 400 responses were received, with over 70% from residents in West Kirby and 20% identifying themselves as owners of a property or business directly affected by tidal flood risk.

Drop-in sessions and exhibitions were held throughout October, with representatives from the council, Environment Agency and specialist design and engineering company AECOM on hand to talk local residents through the proposals.

The authority will now move forward to design and secure funding for a new flood defence scheme.

Cllr Bernie Mooney, cabinet member for environmental protection, said: "I was really pleased to see the comments of residents and businesses, who have given their firm approval to work to safeguard life and property in the area.

"We will now take their comments on board and move forward with the complex process of securing grant funding and designing the proposed new defences.

"I am very aware that people want to see a sensitive design that maintains the beautiful promenade at West Kirby, and there will be plenty more opportunities for people to have their say on any potential design."

There will also be further chances for the community to feed back on the proposals, when detailed drawings and illustrations will be made available.

Comments received included reference to the landscaping for any structure, and the need to maintain the promenade's Victorian 'feel'.

There were also concerns on the proposed structure's potential impact on the iconic views across the Dee Estuary.

It was asked whether some kind of elevated seating could be created as part of the option.

For a copy of the report and to be added to the mailing list for regular updates on the schemes' development, email helengallagher@wirral.gov.uk or visit www.wirral.gov.uk/wkfloodplan