Following approval at January’s full Council meeting, plans are now progressing for improved access and facilities at Sefton’s Ainsdale Beach.
In 2020, the Council saw huge numbers of visitors flocking to the coast. This highlighted the need for further investment to maintain the best possible experience for all beach users, while factoring in important conservation and environmental needs.
As part of the investment, designs are now being drawn up for an off-beach car park that will help to reduce the impact on local communities who have been affected by irresponsible parking in the past. A new, cashless payment system will also be introduced at the beginning of April when beach car parks reopen.
The Council’s Green Sefton team is set to recruit more than 30 Seasonal Rangers for the 2021 summer months, an increase in the number of posts usually recruited for the busy visitor period. Some of the new rangers will help to manage car parking and access at Ainsdale as well as ensuring that visitors keep the coastline clean and tidy.
Options for new toilet facilities are being explored alongside a trial for new off-beach food and drink vendors, all with a view to enhancing visitors’ experiences at Ainsdale.
Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “I am pleased to see plans progressing for the much-needed investment at Ainsdale beach and I am very much looking forward to welcoming more Seasonal Rangers to the Green Sefton team. Not only will the additional rangers help to support our management of the existing car parks, they will also play a vital role in ensuring that our coastline remains clean and beautiful.”
This week, Cllr Moncur approved a freeze on the car parking season ticket for all Sefton residents, which was introduced last year, meaning they can continue to enjoy the beach and save money after just three visits.
The specially reduced ticket costing just £30, also remains available to anyone driving an electric or hybrid car, as part of measures to encourage the use of more environmentally-friendly transport.
Meanwhile, the standard day visitor rate for the car park will increase by £2, to £10 per day to cover the costs of the latest improvements and generate income for the long-term care of Sefton’s unique 22-mile coastline.
Cllr Moncur added: “Further improvement of facilities will provide a better environment for people to enjoy this beautiful space, while protecting our special wildlife and landscape, and tackling car parking concerns.
“I am particularly pleased that the Council can continue to offer a favourable car parking rate for Sefton residents, and electric and hybrid car drivers.
“We often say we want visitors to our beaches to leave nothing but their footprints, but we can now help them think about their carbon footprint too as well as encouraging them to enjoy these special sites.”
Residents and visitors alike will continue to be encouraged to travel by other means to the beach too, as part of the Council’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and tackling the Climate Change Emergency. People can access the coast via local walking and cycling routes, as well as wheelchair and pram friendly access through Ainsdale station and village.
Beach car parking charges for 2021:
- £10 per day for cars
- £16 per day for horseboxes or minibuses
- 50% off the above rates after 4pm subject to car parking management arrangements
- £30 season ticket for Sefton residents and those who drive an electric or hybrid vehicle
Current national lockdown restrictions still apply to the use of outdoor spaces across Sefton, with people being advised not to travel to the coastline for exercise if it is not local to them.