FREE public Wi-Fi is being installed in the seaside resort of New Brighton to encourage people “to use the fantastic local shops.”

The free internet connectivity is being rolled out in two shopping areas in the town with Wi-Fi access along Seabank Road and Victoria Road, an area which has often been compared to Lark Lane in Liverpool and is known for its independent bars, shops, murals, and an art gallery. The rollout is being funded through £5,000 from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

This money comes from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, a government grant that replaces previous funding provided when the UK was part of the European Union. People will be able to access the “New Brighton Public Wi-Fi” connection along Seabank Road between Vaughan Road and Ash Grove as well as the main shopping area on Victoria Road between the mermaid sculpture and Rowson Street.

New Brighton councillor Tony Jones said: “Lots of popular tourist destinations have areas where free public Wi-Fi is available and we jumped at the chance to secure funding for this in New Brighton.

“I’m pleased to see that the town – one of our most popular areas for tourism – has been granted this funding. It will mean visitors and locals alike can access fast, secure internet access while they’re in the area without having to worry about expensive data charges.

“And most importantly I hope it also encourages even more people to use the fantastic local shops and businesses New Brighton has to offer while they’re in the area.”

Wirral Council is currently running a Shop Local campaign aimed at promoting different local businesses on the Wirral and people can send in nominations. On the new Wi-Fi network, local businesses will be spotlighted when people connect.

Chair of the New Brighton Coastal Community group, Sean Martin, said they gladly welcomed the rollout but were disappointed it wasn’t extended to independent businesses on the town’s promenade or nearer to its train station. The group has previously criticised the council for what it sees as a lack of investment in New Brighton.

However, Mr Martin said: “It’s wonderful, it’s great news and the independent businesses are very appreciative of it,” adding: “As the tourism numbers increase going into the summer, it will definitely help. There will be more people in New Brighton and it will benefit the local businesses.”