Wirral’s hunt for New Ferry developer drags on  

The council expects to appoint a development partner by next February, almost five years since a gas explosion ripped through part of the town. 

A report to the council’s regeneration committee in March said a developer would be appointed to deliver the 79-home redevelopment by July, but this timescale has since been revised due to delays caused by finalising funding contracts, the council said. 

This week, the authority has invited developers to submit their ideas and plans for the New Ferry project, which spans three sites. 

The deadline for submissions is midday on 2 August. A period of competitive dialogue will then take place and the preferred developer should be announced by February 2022, the council said.

The gas explosion at a shop in March 2017 destroyed six businesses and left almost 90 people homeless. Under a masterplan designed by architect BDP and government agency Homes England, the redevelopment of the area is to be divided into three phases.

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 

Wirral is also moving to approve the use of compulsory purchase powers to acquire parts of the site deemed necessary for the redevelopment 

The council secured £3.2m for the project from the Future High Streets Fund earlier this year. 

Alan Evans, Wirral Council’s director of regeneration and place, said: “New Ferry is a key part of our plans and this call for a development partner represents an exciting and unique opportunity for the right developer to work with the council to make sure the regeneration of the area is delivered for the benefit of local residents and businesses.” 

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I think a developer from outside the LCR would be far more suitable for this. We have to be pragmatic.

By Heswall

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