Traders in one Wirral village say extending their outdoor space onto the road is a must if they are to avoid ruin.

On Monday, cafes, pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen for outdoor service as the government eases covid restrictions.

But a number of traders in Oxton, a hub of independent food outlets, feel they need more outdoor space for reopening to be viable, given they cannot have customers inside until May 17.

Concerned residents have formed the Love Oxton Village Eating (LOVE) group to gather support for reallocating pavement parking bays and part of the main street, Rose Mount, for shared social spaces where people can meet, eat and drink safely outside.

Without such measures enabling traders to share the road with traffic, several Oxton business-owners feel they will be in for a very tough summer.

LOVE co-founder Kate Wyness owns Greens of Oxton, a local grocery and bakers which has stayed open throughout the last year as essential retail.

Ms Wyness said: “Local residents have been marvellous in the support they have tried to wrap around Oxton’s businesses in the last 12 months.

“[They have supported] us by buying locally sourced bread and groceries [and by] using the dine at home offer or takeaway coffees now offered by some of our restaurants.

“We closed part of Rose Mount for the Secret Villages of Oxton Festival so we have a precedent for the pedestrianisation zone.

“One of the joys of this strange year has been seeing the real engagement people have with the village and the concern they have that it should come through this time as a place where local people can gather again safely.”

Fellow LOVE founder, Cathy Frost, who owns the Oxton bistro Thyme, said traders need Wirral Council to support the pavement parking bays idea.

Ms Frost said: “We have changed our business into a takeaway coffee and pastry house and using Instagram to promote our offer, we have been able to keep ourselves ticking over so we could offer service of some sort to our customers whilst we try to keep ourselves in some form of business ready to open again when safety permits.

“But as the government support is phased out, the support of the council is urgently needed here by the hospitality sector as unless we can share the pavement and road spaces as a social space we are facing ruin and Oxton will become a half-village.

“We aren’t asking for a hand out, just a helping hand to support Oxton, at least at the weekend, to see whether we can create a new normal for Oxton Village as a people-friendly, outside social space rather than just a car parking zone.”

Andrew Tyler-Holland, another co-founder of the LOVE group, owns Oxton’s Elixir, a cocktail bar, and Bowler Hat, a tap room,

He said: “Oxton could be a real focal point for the Wirral with alfresco style dining all year round.

“Tasteful outdoor coverings with heaters and blankets for cosy afternoons, or open air dining for summer balmy evenings. A real European feel to [complete] our stunning village.”

Birkenhead MP Mick Whitley gave his support to the traders.

Mr Whitley said: “Our exciting and innovative plans for regeneration must take into consideration all parts of the town and an area that depends on hospitality and specialist retail – like Oxton – must be included in the council’s thinking.

“For this reason I am supporting the call by this group of businesses to request urgent action to open up the pavements to outside service as this will be vital in saving the businesses, saving an area that can benefit from improved hospitality access and of course saving jobs in the area and making it attractive to residents and visitors alike.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Allan Brame, who represents Oxton on Wirral Council, said he thought the pavement dining plan was an interesting idea, but he was worried that there might be practicalities which would get in its way.

Cllr Brame said he had met virtually with council officers and local business owners recently and some traders did not think the pavement proposal would give them enough room and that it presented safety concerns if traffic was still travelling along the road.

The Lib Dem member added that he would like to see the village pedestrianised in the long-term, but had misgivings about getting the changes traders wanted in the short-term.

A spokesperson for Wirral Council said: “We’re looking into ideas put forward by a number of businesses in Oxton Village.

“Any proposed changes would be subject to public consultation.”