Long-awaited plans to regenerate an area destroyed by a gas explosion in New Ferry in 2017 have taken a step forward, as the council continues its search for a development partner.
Wirral Council has submitted an outline application for 45 homes on two acres at Woodhead Street car park, one of three sites impacted by the explosion.
The other two sites will see almost 6,000 sq ft of retail space and 23 apartments brought forward on Bebington Road, while a further 5,000 sq ft of retail space and another 11 apartments are proposed for land off Boundary Road.
Architect BDP, in collaboration with the council and Homes England, drew up three options for the redevelopment of the three sites, and the preferred option will see the construction of 79 homes in total.
Woodhead car park and Bebington Road are council-owned, but other parcels of land are under multiple private ownerships. A planning statement for the project states the authority has a £1.3m fund in place “to assemble the sites for redevelopment and is currently in negotiations with many of the landowners.”
If necessary, the statement reads, the council will utilise its Compulsory Purchase powers to acquire the sites.
BDP is acting as planner and architect, with Curtins advising on transport and flood risk.
In February the Bebington Street plot was one of six sites across the Liverpool City Region which was the subject of concept designs intended to contribute to regeneration ideas. The designs for New Ferry were drawn up by Gort Scott, Smith Young Architects, and Turner Works.
The explosion in March 2017 destroyed six businesses and left almost 90 people homeless. Until now little has been done to regenerate the area.
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.