The regeneration of Birkenhead has passed a crucial new milestone following the approval by Wirral councillors.
Members of the Policy and Resources Committee have given the green light to the formal Site Development Plan (SDP) for Phase 1 of the regeneration of Birkenhead Town Centre.
The Plan, developed by Wirral Growth Company (WGC) as part of the Partnership Agreement between the council and Muse Developments, will allow the scheme to move to the next stage.
Approval of the formal SDP is one of the conditions that is in place between Wirral Council and Wirral Growth Company to allow the first phase of the town centre regeneration plans to move ahead.
Following the decision by the council’s Policy and Resources Committee and once the final conditions regarding funding and construction contracts are in place, then construction of the first two office buildings will be able to start, expected to start later this year.
Wirral Growth Company, a 50:50 joint venture between Wirral Council and Muse Developments, saw this initial phase of a 15-year regeneration strategy for the town given the green light by the council’s planning committee when planning permission for 150,000 sq ft (13,900 sq m) of Grade ‘A’ office accommodation in two buildings was given earlier this year.
One of the five storey office buildings will be occupied by Wirral Council, while the second building will be let on the open market to commercial occupiers. By relocating up to 800 administrative staff into the Birkenhead Commercial District, the aim is for the council to intervene in the town centre property market directly and drive forward the regeneration of Birkenhead.
The town centre plans are part of the wider Birkenhead 2040 Framework, a twenty-year plan which sets out the most radical proposals for the town since the 1947 Town Plan. At the heart of the proposals is the creation of family-friendly neighbourhoods, with beautiful green public spaces and parks. It will see Birkenhead’s revitalised town centre re-connected with the amazing opportunities along the Mersey waterfront, and will make the most of the town’s iconic heritage and buildings.
The 2040 Framework is also a key element of the wider Local Plan for Wirral which sets out how the borough will meet its housing and employment land needs in the coming years, with a focus on the regeneration of the “left bank” of the peninsula.
Wirral Growth Company’s new office quarter and market in the town centre also fits in with the changes already underway at Wirral Waters, and the opening of Eureka! Mersey in 2022 – all tangible evidence that major change is underway.
Cllr Tony Jones, chair of Wirral Council’s Economy, Regeneration and Development Committee, said: “This is a crucial moment for Birkenhead and the whole borough – we have secured major funding to support the town centre regeneration through the Town Deal and Future High Streets funding, and now alongside the work of Wirral Growth Company, people will be able to see that a major transformation of the town is already well and truly underway.”
Mike Horner, director of Wirral Growth Company and development director at Muse Developments, said: “This is a major milestone for Wirral Growth Company and the regeneration of Birkenhead town centre. It means that the first phase of development is now a big step closer, something that we have all been waiting for. We’re excited about getting our plans underway and starting to make a real difference for the people of Wirral.”