THE Floral Pavilion in New Brighton hosted the final area forum on the council's proposed strategic asset review last night (Thursday).

Council leader Steve Foulkes was booed loudly as he entered the venue to host the debate on the cuts.

It was one of four that were held at venues in West Kirby, Port Sunlight and Birkenhead, that were attended by more than 2,500 demonstrators.

In the audience were members from swimming groups and community groups who volubly voiced their concerns over how the proposals would affect them.

After the New Brighton forum, Cllr Foulkes told the Globe: “It doesn’t take the wisdom of Solomon to come up with a solution that is acceptable.

“The dilemma is that people are pretending, or are being told, that there isn’t a problem and we can walk away from it.

“But the world at large knows that you can’t bring premises like the new Floral Pavilion on board and all the 19 children’s centres and all the other great stuff that we’ve done and maintain everything else at the same time. So something’s got to give in the system.

“I am confident that we can meet head-on some of the challenges, such as with issues around transportation need to be considered better, as well as issues around deprivation and the feeling that somehow we are picking on deprived areas. Actually, this is a Wirral-wide project. That’s why it’s taken so long.

“Once we get to the point were people have some certainty, I’m sure people will engage and use that same enthusiasm and passion in designing and moving on to new premises and new initiatives.

“It’s not a done deal, it’s not in tablets of stone. We’re listening, taking on board the comments and we will make a very difficult decision and hope people realise that we have genuinely gone out and spoken to them.

“The meetings have been full of high passion with a great exchange of views. It’s really rewarding politics for me, because so much apathy has been around in the past.”

Also on the panel were council chief executive Steve Maddox, Liberal Democrat leader Simon Holbrook, the council’s regeneration officer Alan Stennard and Jim Lester, head of cultural services.

Among those invited to speak were Wallasey resident Wendy Bennett who told the panel: “It saddens me to see the state of Wallasey Library. Wirral council don’t give a fig about our heritage. I think Wirral council is like an old computer, which needs to be rebuilt. Stop knocking down our buildings.”

Dave Barke, chief swimming coach at Wallasey Swimming Club, said: “The feedback is that the vast majority of people are against the proposals in the strategic asset review. They don’t want these cuts to go ahead. My hopes are that the council will listen to the views of the public.”

Also present was Wallasey MP Angela Eagle who said: “The overwhelming view from my constituents to this strategic asset review is opposition.

“Seacombe is one of the poorest areas in the borough and they face losing the swimming baths in their constituency.”

A protest march against the planned cuts, organised by public service union Unison, will take place earlier that afternoon. It starts at Seacombe Ferry at 4.30pm, ending outside Town Hall at 5pm.

Under the proposals, libraries, leisure centres and community centres across the borough will be closed. A final decision on the proposal will be made by Wirral's cabinet next Thursday, January 15.