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Women's Open golf 'disastrous' for Hoylake businesses
BUSINESS owners in Hoylake say the Ricoh Women’s Open Golf championship had a ‘disastrous’ affect on trade after spectators were directed along a path which bypassed the town’s highstreet.
Because of the competition’s size, visitors were directed along a cinder path designed to take them safely from Hoylake Railway Station onto the Municipal Golf Club's main pedestrian entrance opposite Morpeth Road on Meols Drive.
Owners of restaurants and shops in nearby Market Street and West Kirby had brought in extra staff and ordered extra stock to cope with anticipated demand.
But some where forced to send staff home on Friday as business was so quiet and the golf was suspended because of bad weather.
Among those was businesses suffered was Kate Verdin-Walsh, manager of Vanilla in Albert Road.
She told the Globe: "It was supposed to be a boost for business, but we were overstretched and over-ordered.
"From speaking to people at the council it came across that we were prepared for the golf. But we had to send three staff home on Friday, because business was so quiet.
"I do think the event has been over-hyped. It’s been really disappointing and not what it should have been.
"Anyone visiting the town for the first time who doesn’t know the area won’t know that this part of town exists. It’s been a pointless, expensive exercise."
Cheryl Steadmon, who runs Newsmag Extra near Hoylake railway station said: "This is the worst week I’ve in five and a half years.
"We thought we were going to get an influx of visitors and it would be a boost for the local economy. Even our local customers stayed away because of the parking restrictions."
Andre Tedesco, manager of Monte Carlo on Market Street said on Friday:
"Trade has been badly affected. Hoylake was like a ghost town. The only trade we had was a small number coming in for coffee.
"I spoke to the council, asking whether there would be a car park at the other end of town, so people could walk past the shops on their way to the golf.
"I was told by the council that people don't want to walk through the town."
Before the championship began on Thursday, council leader Phil Davies said: "In 2006 there were pedestrian entrances onto the course off Stanley Road.
"This is not the case this year as The Ricoh Women’s British Open is a much smaller competition.
"Spectators are therefore being directed from the train station and the public car park on the Municipal at Hoylake via the safest and most direct route onto the course at the main pedestrian
entrance opposite Morpeth Road on Meols Drive.
"We have worked hard to make sure that as many businesses benefit from Wirral’s hosting of The Championship and we have produced a promotional leaflet through our Food and Drink Partnership to
promote special offers in local businesses during the Championship and this free opportunity was supported by Merseytravel.
"20,000 copies of this leaflet were distributed to tourist information points in Liverpool city centre, Cheshire Oaks, Chester city centre, train stations and local hotels.
"We have also invited local restaurants to give taster sessions on course at the Visit Wirral stand as well as promoting the Borough’s tourism offer to spectators and have given advice and support to our businesses through the Wirral Tourism Business Network in the run up to the Championship."