Winter 2004

Mersey Waterfront Park
Estuary Development and Management

Article by Andrew Hall

The Mersey Waterfront Park (MWP) of which the Sefton Coast is a major player, is a wide-ranging initiative recognising the importance of economic regeneration of coastal assets.

The vision for the Waterfront is "To transform, energise and connect Mersey Waterfront - and all its assets - in producing a unique sense of place which acts as a key attractor of people to live, work, visit and invest in Merseyside"

The MWP Board are seeking to support schemes which are pan-Waterfront. This includes a network of high quality interlinked gateway sites across the sub-region and a Mersey Waterfront Way. (web link

Co-ordinated coastal management is well established on the Sefton Coast, through the Sefton Coast Partnership (SCP). This has enabled a wider range of interests to be involved in a truly devolved partnership.

A Sefton co-ordinating group consisting of land managers and Council officers are now developing project proposals with the support of the Mersey Waterfront Park to deliver improved visitor facilities, access and information identified. These projects were identified as a priority in the European funded Interreg IIC, Quality of Coastal Towns Report (March 2001) and the Mersey Waterfront Park Business Plan.

Current Developments

Sefton Coast Access Study
Through support from the Mersey Waterfront Park, Sefton Council, on behalf of the Sefton Coast Partnership, has commissioned Peter Scott Planning Services to prepare an Access Strategy for the Sefton Coast.

The Access Strategy will identify means of enhancing coastal paths and other access routes to and along the coast and related facilities (e.g. access information, toilets, access from public transport).

A series of open meetings took place in September to discuss the consultants' initial findings and suggestions for access improvements along the coast. The study is now at a draft stage and will result in a prioritised programme of access improvements to guide future investment along the Sefton Coast.

Formby Point and Ainsdale Lido Complex
A master planning and feasibility exercise is underway, as part of the next stage in drawing down funding to implement operational and visitor facility improvements at gateway sites along the Sefton Coast.

The properties in question are;

The National Trust property, Victoria Road, Formby.
The Sefton Council property, Lifeboat Road, Formby.
The Sefton Council owned Lido building, Ainsdale on Sea.

At the Formby sites new operational and visitor infrastructure is being considered, including parking, offices, storage, education learning centre and public toilets. Considerations at the Ainsdale site entail refurbishment of the Lido complex to include staff offices, beach shop, cafeteria and function room. Sustainable forms of building design, including how the buildings are to be serviced is being considered as part of the commission.

Crosby Coastal Park - Master Plan and Water Centre Study
The Leisure Services Department of Sefton Council, are currently preparing a master plan for the Crosby Coastal Park. Consideration is being given to how to improve access to the park, improve the promenade, the recreation potential of the area and protection of the natural habitat. This work is being undertaken in conjunction with a major feasibility study, which the Mersey Waterfront Park have helped to fund, for a Water Centre facility at Crosby Marine Lake.

RSPB Marshside Nature Reserve
As part of the their Integrated Visitor Strategy at Marshside Nature Reserve, the RSPB have secured funding from the Mersey Waterfront Park, which will lead to a new bird pool, viewing platform and improvements to site interpretation. Other plans include a small visitor centre and access improvements.