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Bid to recreate sands of time in New Brighton
A MAN with a vision to recreate the sand levels of a century ago at New Brighton and Egremont has approached regeneration giant Peel with plans to replenish the beaches with two million tonnes of sand waste.
The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company – owned by Peel – dredge more than one million tonnes of sand a year from Mersey shipping lanes, which is dumped in the Irish Sea.
John Lamb, who masterminded a scheme to boost sand levels at New Brighton 25 years ago, is now urging Peel to consider diverting 20% of sand destined for deep waters onto the beaches of Egremont and New Brighton – adding up to two million tonnes in ten years.
Birkenhead-born John, a 49-year-old teacher in South Liverpool, said: “Twenty-five years ago the dock company has no interest in leisure.
Now Peel are in charge they have the resources and they have great interest in leisure, the Liverpool Waters scheme and in marketing.”
In a series of “power points” delivered to Peel John claims that the sand “replenishment” would cover the slimy rocks at Egremont and significantly raise beach levels at Egremont and New Brighton.
The aim, he explained, was to recreate – and even surpass – the sand levels that existed there 100 years ago.
He insisted that sand replenishment would revitalise images of the River Mersey, Liverpool and Wirral.
And he told the company: “Peel Group’s proposed £5.5m Liverpool Waters scheme would have a river and beach setting – a marketing dream. This would add ‘light and vision’ to the views from Peel’s proposed scheme.”
John pointed out that six years ago, Westminster Dredging Company deposited 1.5m tonnes of sand on to Bournemouth’s beaches in just six weeks.
And a similar ‘city beach’ scheme was carried out in Barcelona in 1992 when boulder groynes had to be constructed to keep the sand in places.
Similar groynes, he said, were built between New Brighton and Egremont in 1998. And, he added, there were precedents for using dredged Mersey sand when, in 1984, Merseyside Development Corporation pumped ashore one million tonnes of clean beach sand to fill in the King’s Dock in Liverpool.
John is still awaiting a response from Peel.
Councillor Pat Hackett, Wirral Council cabinet member for regeneration and planning strategy, said he recalled John’s beach initiative that resulted in the transfer of sand from a Mersey sandbank to the New Brighton shore.
He said: “A lovely sandy beach has built up from that. This is more ambitious and in the present economic climate there is no money available from the council.
“But I think the idea is fantastic and I hope his approach to Peel is successful.”
The Globe has contacted Peel seeking its views but the company had not responded by the time we went to press.