Wirral Growth Company, a joint venture between the council and Muse Developments, has been given the go-ahead for a £1bn project to regenerate Birkenhead town centre. Planning applications for the commercial district are expected in June.
A report to Wirral Council’s Cabinet recommended the approval of the joint venture’s partnership business plan and an annuity lease, whereby the local authority underwrites the scheme, as the preferred method of funding. The wider regeneration, which encompasses a further three sites, will take place over the next 10 to 15 years.
The anchor site is Birkenhead commercial district which proposes 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. A full business case will be submitted to Cabinet in March.
The delivery dates for the initial phase are:
- June 2020 | Submit planning applications
- July 2020 | Start demolition of Milton Pavements shopping arcade
- February 2021 Start construction of offices one and two
- February 2022 | Start construction of new market
- January 2023 | Complete office one and office two
- January 2023 | Complete new market
Later phases of the commercial district redevelopment could include 700 apartments and townhouses, a 110-bedroom hotel and a 300-space car park.
A proposed leisure centre to replace Europa Pools was removed from the masterplan after the second round of public consultation.
In Moreton around 70 homes are mooted for the site of the former Foxfield School, with a start on site anticipated in the autumn.
A site off Pasture Road, also in Moreton, is being lined up for a supermarket, a 60-bedroom extra care facility, family housing and a youth facility. An existing library and health centre will be retained.
Work on the supermarket is expected to begin in December while the extra care accommodation and residential development could commence in May 2021.
A 20-acre brownfield site off Old Hall Road in Bromborough, which was previously occupied by the Ministry of Defence before being cleared in 2005, could form part of the masterplan’s housing offer after a survey from the joint venture revealed that industrial development would not be viable.
However, an occupier on Tebay Road, next to the site, plans to expand which could reduce the plot by up to seven acres.
Mike Horner, development director at Muse Developments, said: “This is an important milestone for the company and we’re excited to take another step forward in delivering a real positive transformation for the borough that will benefit the lives of communities across the Wirral for years to come.
“We’ve been listening and collaborating with the community through a number of large-scale consultation exercises, to hear from residents directly on their thoughts about Birkenhead town centre now, and importantly how they would like to see it in the future.
“This consultation has informed and inspired the team to create an innovative masterplan, and we’re currently preparing an outline planning application for a large area of the town centre that will be submitted in the second half of the year.”
Barton Willmore is advising on planning. AHR is the architect. Gillespies is the landscape architect while engineer Curtins and transport consultant Vectos also form part of the professional team. Hannan Associates is advising on M&E and BREEAM.
Avison Young has been appointed by the council to produce a full business case to support the decision to invest in Birkenhead commercial district.