Hamilton Square Aerial
Woodside, Hamilton Square and Birkenhead town centre will be the initial focus areas

OJEU notice out for Wirral’s £1bn joint venture

Wirral Council has published a “prior information” contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union as it begins the formal procurement of an investment partner on a £1bn development programme starting in Birkenhead.

The formal procurement process will begin in May and it is hoped the investment partner will be in place by the end of the year. There will be a mixture of residential, leisure, commercial and cultural development opportunities in the three areas of Hamilton Square, Woodside and Birkenhead town centre, where there would be a new business district.

Around £100m of council land would be put into the joint venture, to be known as Wirral Growth Company.

The OJEU notice states: “The council is seeking a partner to join with the council for a long-term (up to 20 years) joint venture and to create a property vehicle (Wirral Growth Company), probably a company or Limited Liability Partnership, to secure the investment, skills and expertise to deliver Wirral’s regeneration and council asset transformation strategy.”

Council leader Cllr Phil Davies was part of the Liverpool delegation in Cannes for the MIPIM property convention this week to meet with potential investors. Davies said: “We will unlock the huge, untapped potential of Wirral and Birkenhead as an outstanding destination of choice for business and investment.

“The Wirral Growth Company will over the coming months identify a joint venture investment partner, triggering the creation of thousands of jobs and economic growth.”

The council said in its OJEU notice it “will explore various issues during a soft market testing exercise, including the legal form/structure of the joint venture vehicle…the optimum duration of programme, the likely value of the opportunity to the market, the operation and governance of the joint venture, due diligence requirements and the most appropriate procurement procedure.”

A new website, www.wirralwellmade.com, was launched to promote the development contest.

GVA and Bevan Brittan advise Wirral Council.

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Finally, a bit of vision from Wirral Council. I know a lot of the peninsula is made up of suburban types who are too horrified to even countenance the notion that part of their area is/was properly urban, but that is what has done for these neighbourhoods in the past. It’ll also be good if these proposals see an end to Neptune and their ‘visionary’ plans, such as a McDonald’s style shack next to the cinema.

By Mortified of Morton

At last. But for this to be a success the Wirral placemaking agenda has to stop. The destination strategy WMBC has relentlessly pursued for Brand Wirral over the last 40 years has failed (just visit Bhead) but Wirral joining ranks with Liverpool would formally re-establish the LCR as a major urban conurbation and send out such an exciting, positive message to the UK. The jobs, transport investment and tourism will follow. Of course investors don’t have a clue where, or what, ‘Wirral’ is, but if you tell them there are effectively 300,000 extra people all within 8 miles of Liverpool city centre… Liverpool’s Left Bank.

By LEighteen

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