Last week Lynne and I had a meeting at the Beacon Project in Hoylake…
For those that may be unaware of what the Beacon project is or where it is, I’ll let you have as much detail as we gleaned from the meeting. The project is situated in Hoylake’s old Town Hall, which was the Job Centre and also housed some of the council departments. With the closure of the Job Centre the property became vacant and Hylgar Properties who own it along with the steering group have planned its complete refurbishment and redevelopment under the title of the Beacon Arts Village.
We understand that the planning approval is through and the project has now put in its bid for a grant under the Coastal Communities Funding. This funding is for the costs of renovation, conversion and fit-out of the Old Town Hall – this includes the cinema, restaurants and creative industry office spaces. The funding will also be used to construct the new artists and makers units and the atrium café elements of the scheme. So fingers crossed that they get the funding otherwise the process will be slower.
We had a tour around the building and were impressed to see that the main entrance and some of the rooms have already been decorated. The old council chamber which has waist height original oak panelling has been earmarked for a fine dining restaurant. Could we see another Michelin star restaurant on the Wirral?
The development of the land behind the Old Town Hall is probably just as exciting… the entrance of the old fire station will be incorporated into the development but from there back will be flattened (Sidings and its various precursors – no more) and on the site will be maker/retailer units with forty 1 and 2 bed apartments. We were told that the maker/retail units will be flexibly sized and with a pricing structure which will help start-ups get up and running and grow. There is a selection process for the units that are being controlled by the British Art and Design Association… Why? It was explained that in order for the community to work it has to have a balance of age, experiences and of the art itself… it can’t all be 60 year old cabinet makers and much as it can’t be 19 year old jewellers.
Local film company, and WKBN network members, Mad as Birds is already a tenant within the complex!
This really is a mix of the old with the new. What impressed Lynne and I was how close the Beacon project sits with the mix of creatives and smaller businesses within our own network… I guess we might be onto something!
To find out more, please visit http://www.hoylakebeacon.org.uk/.
* All CGI images kindly provided by Hylgar Properties.