Wirral Growth Company, a joint venture between Wirral Council and Muse Developments, has lodged plans for a 15-year transformation of Birkenhead town centre, creating office and residential space and a new market hall.
If the plans are approved, the first phase of development will bring forward two office buildings totalling 190,000 sq ft, which are anticipated to be on site by the middle of next year.
The vision, which also proposes public realm improvements and leisure space, was first revealed last November.
A report to the council’s cabinet in February gave the joint venture the green light to draw up the plans for the scheme after approving a business case for the project.
The anchor site is Birkenhead commercial district, the plans for which include 280,000 sq ft of offices and 36,000 sq ft of retail, as well as the relocation of the market.
Talks about a new site for the market are ongoing. The vacant former M&S and B&M buildings are potential locations, the council said.
Later phases of the commercial district redevelopment could include 700 apartments and townhouses, a 110-bedroom hotel and a 300-space car park.
Wirral Growth Company was formed in 2019 after the council selected Muse as its development partner the previous year, creating a 50:50 joint venture to deliver a long-term vision to regenerate the town.
Mike Horner, development director at Muse Developments, said: “It’s a proud moment for all associated with the growth company as we reach this significant milestone, which is the culmination of months of hard work.
“We’ve taken the thoughts of the community into consideration, which I hope they can see in the final masterplan. We’re committed to working with the council and all stakeholders as we bring forward a new vibrant vision for Birkenhead.”
Tony Jones, Wirral Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and growth, added: “This is a pivotal time for Wirral. [The council] has long harboured ambitions to see the borough fulfil its potential as a desirable destination for businesses to locate to, families to live and visitors to discover.”
AHR Architects is the masterplanner for the project, and Barton Willmore is the planning consultant.
Greg Dickson, director at Barton Willmore, said that Wirral Growth Company’s plans represent “a rare opportunity to redefine the heart of the town centre”.
Gillespies is the landscape architect, Hannan Associates is the building services engineering and utilities consultant, and Curtins is the structural and civil engineering consultant and Walker Sime is contract administrator.