Council approves Peel’s Wirral Waters
Wirral Council has approved Peel Holdings' plans to transform 18m sq ft of redundant dockland in Birkenhead into a major mixed use development.
Peel's application for the main part of its Wirral Waters scheme, East Float, was the largest in the UK to be submitted, with an estimated requirement of £4.5bn needed to deliver the project.
Speaking at the planning committee meeting held at Wallasey Town Hall on Tuesday, Cllr Jeff Green, leader of Wirral Council, said: "This is a fantastic day for the people of Birkenhead and Wallasey and the future of Wirral. We can now look forward to the site's transformation over the coming years to help improve the economic fortunes of the borough and that of its residents."
Cllr Andrew Hodson, cabinet member for regeneration and planning strategy said: "We have been working closely with Peel for almost four years to bring jobs and regeneration to the borough."
"The approval of this planning application will lead to the total transformation of what is currently derelict brownfield land within East Float at Birkenhead Docks and when finished will create over 27,000 jobs. This has taken place against a backdrop of the worst recession in living memory and it is a credit to both Peel and Wirral Council that we have kept the plans moving."
Despite the council granting outline planning consent for the proposals, the scale and regional significance of the application mean it is likely to be called in for a public inquiry.
Cllr Hodson added: "Subject to getting the ok from the Government, we hope work will start on site within the next two years and Officers of the Council will continue to work with Peel as we move into the development phase."
Warner Estate Holdings, owner of the Grange and Pyramids shopping centres, and other major property owners in Birkenhead town centre are expected to object to Peel's proposals.
In August last year, Wirral Council approved Peel's £200m Northbank East proposals, a redevelopment of surplus dockland at a site within the East Float of Birkenhead Docks, which is part of the first phase of the developer's Wirral Waters project. Birkenhead docks comprise more than 500 acres.
As well as offices, the Wirral Waters scheme also aims to deliver 13,000 new homes, plus leisure and culture facilities.
Chris Johnson, managing partner at Birkenhead-based auctioneers Smith and Sons, said that the decision on Tuesday night represented a huge boost to the Wirral economy.
Johnson said: "Peel Holdings has an established track record of successful development and attracting major players to the area.
"The construction of iconic buildings in a revitalised area will prove to be symbols of success and this, coupled with the new infrastructure, will act as a catalyst for other developments in the area.
"We are excited by these proposals and will work closely with our clients to make the most of these outstanding opportunities which will reinforce Wirral's position as a fantastic place to live, work and relax."
The project is estimated to take 30 years to complete.