An introduction to HVL
HVL formed in 2009 in response to concerns about the number of empty shops in Hoylake.
We are a group of volunteers who give our time and expertise free of charge to a wide range of projects ranging from events organising to long-term strategic planning. We meet regularly (once a month) and anyone is welcome to join in, please just let us know if you want to attend a meeting or get more involved.
At the time we formed, Hoylake had the fifth highest vacancy rate in Wirral (25 per cent) and was the lowest performing town centre in Wirral in the UK retail rankings (Experian). Our analysis of the Experian GOAD report from 2009 delivered some startling figures that we believe nevertheless are cause for great optimism for businesses in Hoylake, contrary to a report by consultants Roger Tym and Partners that proposed downgrading Hoylake.
On the basis of the amount of comparison floorspace, the catchment as identified by Roger Tym and Partners in their Core Strategy Report of 2010 and the average UK retail spend, Hoylake has a potential comparison shopping turnover of £45-£60 million. Actual turnover in 2009 was £15 million. That’s at least a £30 million underspend. And a huge opportunity.
There’s more… these figures do not take into account Hoylake’s ‘added value’ potential; they are based on UK averages. We believe Hoylake could far exceed this potential if we actively promote our unique and highly valuable assets: a great beach, beautiful sunsets and views, international and world-class sporting facilities and events, a classic Victorian/ Edwardian resort built heritage that can still be revived and blended with high-quality contemporary facilities and design; a raft of famous sons and daughters and a rich community heritage. The evidence is growing: Marco Pierre White has opened a ‘Marco’s’ Italian Bar and Grill at the King’s Gap Holiday Inn Hotel; the success of the 2012 Women’s Golf Open; the 2013 Youth Golf Open; the 2014 Men’s Golf Open and, in the pipeline, a £120 million 5-star Golf Resort and Hotel. And Hoylake’s existing offer includes some great shops, restaurants, bars and more, with new businesses arriving every week. It would be easy for all of this to overwhelm a small community. We could easily be turned into a ‘Clone Town’. Boom could turn to bust. Optimism has been dashed before. Much faith had been put in the advent of the Golf Open after an absence of 40 years. After the cameras left town, Hoylake’s fortunes went into reverse, leaving many businesses and residents in a state of shock. We need a solution that is sustainable. And that needs a more strategic approach.
HVL would like Hoylake to be a ‘Home Town’, not a ‘Clone Town’. Home to a blend of a few regional and national key brands, but mainly consisting of high-quality independent niche businesses. Based on our research in the community, we believe this is the future for Hoylake – one that reflects the personality of the Village. Quirky, independent, classic, fun, high quality, friendly and accessible. But it must be sustainable. The niche areas of Sports, Arts, Environment and Food & Drink are the key focal points for marketing Hoylake. HVL have been working since 2009 to help shape the Hoylake ‘brand’ to be attractive to these types of businesses. Since 2009 we have:
- Developed a Hoylake Village ‘brand’ including logo, window stickers and more
- Built and maintained a town portal website, now enjoying 40,000 unique hits a month, listing the vast majority of local businesses
- Maintained a Facebook page with over 1200 ‘likes’ and an average 10,000 visits a month
- Manage a Twitter feed with over 1300 followers
- Directly supported incoming new businesses
- Run a campaign to attract new businesses via a direct contact inward investment ‘pack’
- Designed and installed high-quality banners in Market Sreet
- Encouraged Hoylake residents to shop local with a ‘use em or lose em’ campaign
- Managed the annual Christmas Lights installation
- Managed and achieved national publicity for a Christmas ‘Projection’, to be repeated in 2013
- Run events such as the yearly Halloween Children’s Party
- Supported other events and local organisations with administration, publicity, public relations and marketing
- Responded to the Roger Tym Core Strategy on Hoylake and met with Council Officers to raise concerns
- Been accepted by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) as Neighbourhood Plan Vanguard frontrunners. This involves a significant community consultation process (now taking place) which requires the support and cooperation of local businesses, residents, community groups and organisations. If, after referendum, it is approved by the community it becomes part of the legislative framework.
- Established a Town team and won a ten thousand pounds grant.
- Established a new Hoylake Business Network.
- Established a Community Cinema at the Parade, Hoylake Community Centre, now in its second annual season, and won the patronage and support of film director Alex Cox, actor Daniel Craig and Glenda Jackson MP.
- Created proposals for an amended Golf Resort plan to include a Wildlife and Wetland Visitor and Research Centre and/or Eco-activity Centre.
- Meeting with Council Officers, Network Rail and Stobart Rail Infrastructure to discuss possible solutions to rail-crossing issues
- Developed a comprehensive Shopfront Design Guide.
What we can do together
If you are a resident You could come along to one of our open meetings; just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend. Or you can come and meet us in a more informal environment at one of our Community Cinema nights at the Hoylake Community Centre.
Get involved in one of many ways: in our Town team plans; our Community Cinema; event organising such as the annual Halloween party for local children; the Neighbourhood Plan process; helping us organise and run meetings with local businesses; childcare provision for children’s Saturday Matinee film showings… the list goes on.
If you have any particular concerns or just want to get involved, please do get in touch, we’d love to meet you. If you have a business in Hoylake we would like you to become involved; you are welcome to attend any of our open meetings or one of our local business group meetings, such as the accommodation providers’ group, or visitor economy business meetings.
We hope to expand these meetings soon to include more businesses, business leaders, local councillors, and so on. We recognise that working or running a business doesn’t leave much time for volunteering and activity at the end of the day.
But we hope you can see from everything you have read above that we have the energy and commitment to keep working at making Hoylake better. To help us achieve this, we need revenue for printing leaflets, for advertising and marketing, for banners in Market Street and more…. so if you can’t spare the time to give hands-on help… read on…
We get our income from advertising, sponsorships and grant funding. We offer local businesses great deals on website advertising, e-newsletter sponsorship, banner sponsorship and more…. We would be grateful if you would display a Hoylake Village window sticker in your window as a sign that you support HVL’s work in principle, and we would love to discuss advertising and sponsorship opportunities with you.
So, finally… If you would like to meet any or all of us, or if you have any questions or want to know more, check out this website and our Facebook page, and contact us by email and we will respond to you as soon as possible.