Friends of Hamilton Square Conservation Area
The Friends of Hamilton Square Conservation Area (“the Friends”) became a constituted civil society association on 17 February 2016. Membership currently costs £5.00 per annum. A membership application form may be downloaded from our Facebook page.
The principal object of the Friends is to promote the preservation of listed buildings and their setting and to promote the preservation and enhancement of the Hamilton Square Conservation Area and its setting by:
- Fostering a positive and constructive working relationship with the Local Planning Authority of The Metropolitan Borough of Wirral (“the LPA”);
- Engaging with the LPA, other statutory agencies, businesses, and civil society associations whose objects are complementary to that of the Friends, in order to collaborate for mutual benefit;
- Fostering the goodwill and involvement of the whole community through the equal treatment of all, regardless of age, belief, ethnicity, gender, impairment, sexual orientation or any other difference;
- Fostering community spirit, raising awareness of culture and heritage and encouraging civic pride through education and campaigning, and
- Supporting the establishment and continued viability of a Conservation Area Advisory Committee.
Hamilton Square Conservation Area Advisory Committee
The Hamilton Square Conservation Area Advisory Committee (“the committee”) was constituted as an independent working group of the Friends on 19 May 2016. The committee’s terms of reference are:
- To advise the LPA about relevant planning applications and other matters referred to the committee;
- To advise the LPA during the preparation or review of any policies or guidance, including the LPA’s Historic Environment Record, which would include or have the potential to affect the Hamilton Square Conservation Area (“HSCA”) and its setting, and
- To advise the LPA about schemes that are referred to the committee for works or operations (other than
maintenance works) to the public highway, public open space or any other publicly managed space which would be within or have the potential to affect the HSCA and its setting.
The committee currently comprises:
Chair – Philip A Barton Esq MCD BA(Hons) CertIT(cantab) MRTPI
Secretary – Mike Elkerton MBE
Treasurer – Richard T Fassam
Architectural Advisor – Mark Baker MSc. Arch. AEES
Rod Heron (resident and small business owner)
A significant achievement for the committee was the refurbishment and relocation of the pair of Grade-II Listed K6 telephone kiosks that stood where the new Birkenhead Institute memorial is now sited, at the junction of Duncan Street with Hamilton Street. Without the intervention of the committee, the hard work of Conservation Officer, Jess Malpas, and the generosity of BT, these listed kiosks would probably have been sold to a private buyer.
One of the refurbished kiosks is sited at the junction of Price Street with Argyle Street, where an identical kiosk was sited from about 1935 until about 1995. This was one of the first K6 kiosks to be installed in Birkenhead.
The other kiosk has been moved a short distance away from where it was originally sited, in Hamilton Street.
Despite being refurbished and relocated, both kiosks retain their Grade-II Listed status. The removal of the modern kiosks from Price Street and the restoration of the K6 kiosks therefore represents a significant heritage gain for the conservation area.
Birkenhead 2040 Framework (“the framework”)
Wirral Council has now published a comprehensive regeneration framework for Birkenhead, details of which may be viewed here.
The first round of public consultation for the framework closed on 19 May 2021 but will not be the only opportunity for local residents and business-owners to shape the future of our town.
The new team working on the framework is keen to collaborate with the Friends and a number of virtual meetings have already taken place. Relevant layers of the digital plan of the conservation area created by the committee have already been shared with the consultant who is revising the conservation area appraisal. It is likely that further survey work will be undertaken to assist with this task.
There is also scope to integrate some elements of the committee’s Historic Home Guide, currently being being researched and written by Mark Baker, with the revised conservation area management plan.
There are a number of elements of the framework for which the Friends have been campaigning for several years and it is very gratifying to see these now being proposed (or at least supported in principle) by the council. These elements include:
- establishment of a linear park along the route of the former freight railway line that runs through the town (called the “Dock Branch Park” in the framework)
- a revised conservation area appraisal and management plan
- working with building owners to preserve Listed buildings
- encouraging more residential conversions within Hamilton Square
- addressing bin blight with innovative waste storage and collection solutions
- saving 70 Argyle Street
- building an automated secure car storage tower (primarily for the use of residents) in order to reduce the need for unsightly car parks
- asset transfer of redundant council-owned buildings to community organisations
- restoration of John Laird’s garden (adjacent to 63 Hamilton Square)
- demolition of unlisted extensions to buildings in Hamilton Square
- pedestrianisation of Argyle Street
- a ban on HGV parking
- a local transhipment centre using small, light electric vehicles to deliver to local businesses
- restore the Hamilton Quarter branding (SRB1 1995-2002) or create a new brand identity for the area