A POPULAR Wirral beach is in danger of becoming marshland, fear local residents.

Grass has been growing on the sands near to Hoylake’s new lifeboat station for more than five years and until recently the local sailing club held regular digs to try to remove it.

However, Natural England ruled that because local wildlife is of special scientific interest, digging stopped on the site and the grass now has to be removed as part of a controlled operation.

But nearby householders fear the beach will end up resemb-ling the marshland that greets visitors to Parkgate’s promenade.

Among them is Edwin Pownall Jones, who lives with his wife Joan opposite the beach in North Parade.

“We’re very concerned about what could happen to the beach in the future, because the roots are getting deeper and unless it’s moved in 12 months time you won’t be able to cut it at all.”

Mr Pownall-Jones, who has lived in his childhood home for 60 years, added: “The grass is two-and-a-half feet tall and I believe the area will end up looking like Parkgate, because it’s getting that way now.”

At a public meeting in October 2006, council officers agreed on a programme to remove all of the grass and some of it has been taken out.

But Hoylake Conservative councillors John Hale and Gerry Ellis are concerned that the council has forgotten the beach and want the work to resume.

Cllr Ellis said: “John and I have been campaigning to have this unsightly grass taken away from the beach for five years.

“This is a lovely resident-ial resort, and we don’t want it to become another Parkgate.

“I think they have been treating us casually regarding this beach.”

Cllr Hale said: “The grass has been dealt with succeessfully over at the beach in Thurstaston, but more needs to be done in Hoylake.

“It needs two more treatments before winter.”

A council spokesman said: “We have a regular maintenance programme for the beaches at Hoylake and West Kirby which ensures that they are kept clean and that vegetation is controlled. Conditions this summer have meant that some of the spraying has not been as effective as we would wish and we will be respraying in the near future.”