New Mersey Waterfront director

After a lengthy search for a director of the Mersey Waterfront programme, Peter Morton, a former regional manager of Business Link has been selected for the job.

Mersey Waterfront's £91m second phase was unveiled earlier this year and lasts until 2010. The programme covers the area's 90 miles of coastline and seeks to coordinate projects such as New Brighton's overdue renaissance, the Otterspool promenade and Liverpool Garden Festival redevelopment and Sefton water centre.

The organisation is funded through the North West Development Agency and European Regional Development Fund alongside other public and private sector sources.

The position is the latest high-profile Merseyside post that quangos have struggled to fill quickly. Morton's predecessor, Louise Goodman, left to pursue consultancy work last summer and the programme's backers were privately said to be concerned over the lack of potential candidates coming forward. Similarly, the new so-called 'Liverpool plc' super-agency being created by the merger of three agencies has so far failed to produce a chief executive and even had to admit defeat when the first choice, an economic development officer in Jersey, declined the offer. There was also a year-long wait before Lorraine Rogers was appointed to the chief executive's role at The Mersey Partnership.

Morton has worked across Merseyside and the North West over the past 30 years in a variety of roles focused on investment, economic and business development. He said: "It's an exciting time for the Liverpool city region and an exciting time to be joining the Mersey Waterfront team. The scale and impact of the projects we're supporting is larger than ever and I'm looking forward to helping to develop our impressive coastal assets."

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