Long-awaited plans to redevelop properties damaged by a gas explosion in 2017 have taken a step forward after Wirral Council approved a scheme comprising 79 homes.
The project will feature houses, apartments, a public car park and more than 10,000 sq ft of retail units, under proposals drawn up by architect BDP and government body Homes England.
The development is to be divided into three phases across a trio of plots:
Land at Bebington Road:
- 5,800 sq ft of retail
- A 23-apartment block
Woodhead Street car park and land at New Chester Road:
- 15 houses
- 30 apartments across two blocks
- Retention of 70 public car parking spaces on Woodhead Street car park
Land at the Boundary Lane explosion site:
- Development of up to 5,100 sq ft of retail
- An apartment block with 11 units
The council is looking to appoint a development partner to deliver the scheme and remediation work at the explosion site has already begun.
The explosion in March 2017 destroyed six businesses and left almost 90 people homeless. Little had been done to regenerate the area until recently.
Wirral Council has now purchased several properties in the development area and is prepared to carry out compulsory purchase orders for those not yet under its ownership, according to council leader Pat Hackett.
Hackett said in a statement: “New Ferry is one of Wirral Council’s major priorities, even more so since that devastating night in 2017. It has been a very complex process to get to the position we are now in, which is a significant milestone for the redevelopment plans.
“We have ambitious plans for the town and I’m pleased that the patience of residents, business owners and visitors to New Ferry will soon be rewarded.”
A man named Pascal Blasio was sentenced to 20 years in jail in October 2019 after being found guilty of causing the explosion in an attempt to claim insurance.