News: 19 August 2020Planning submitted for ‘the new Birkenhead’

After 18 months of extensive consultation our Manchester team have submitted a hybrid planning application for the regeneration of Birkenhead town centre on behalf of Wirral Growth Company (WGC), an exciting 50:50 joint venture partnership between Wirral Council and Muse Developments.

The proposed scheme seeks to build upon the town’s existing strengths, assets, and maritime location, creating a dynamic modern centre, with a focus on delivering a new commercial quarter and residential neighbourhood for Birkenhead. It will deliver over 1.5m square feet of new development including a new BREEAM Excellent office building for occupation by the Council, a new Grade A commercial office development, a high quality apartment and townhouse development, new hotel accommodation and a new home for Birkenhead Market. The scheme will be connected by new public realm and open spaces, drawing inspiration from Birkenhead’s rich heritage and relationship with the River Mersey, providing opportunities for events and pop-up activities, improving cycling and pedestrian routes, whilst creating a welcoming and accessible environment in the town centre; connecting communities and creating a place where people want to live, work, relax and visit.

The creation of a new sustainable residential neighbourhood centred around Conway Park station, with a range of homes (size, type, tenure), will create more housing choice in Birkenhead whilst meet modern design and sustainability standards. Up to 651 new homes will be provided, making a significant contribution to meeting the borough’s housing needs.

Greg Dickson, Planning Director at Barton Wilmore, said: “Wirral Growth Company is playing a key role in the delivery of regeneration across the Wirral and we’re proud to have played our part in the preparation of this major planning submission, which presents a unique opportunity to redefine the heart of Birkenhead town centre.”

As part of the commitment to engaging with local people and businesses from across the Wirral, our team orchestrated a proactive two stage approach to outreach consultation for the proposed regeneration of land in Birkenhead town centre. Over the past 18 months this has involved setting up a pop-up shop in the Pyramids Shopping Centre for the general public, presentations to Members and targeted outreach events with local interest groups (including Chamber of Commerce, Multi-cultural Organisation, Wirral Met College and Wirral Youth Zone) as well as online media activity.

The site in Birkenhead is sustainably located within the urban area and includes Conway Park Rail Station and Birkenhead Bus Station. As the lead consultant for the outreach and consultation process, a holistic approach has been applied to the masterplan for the town centre. This includes the drawing up of a phasing plan that strives to succeed over the medium to long-term, while identifying opportunities and key areas for change in the short-term.

Nicole Roe, Planning Associate, said “The hybrid planning application for the Birkenhead masterplan has been informed over the past 18 months by a proactive two-stage consultation process that gave us the opportunity to meet many people from the local community. These proposals have taken into account the wide-ranging feedback from people, organisations and businesses from across the Wirral.”

The WGC was established in 2019 to deliver transformational regeneration across the borough over the next 10-15 years. We have supported Muse Developments through the tender process and are providing Planning, Community Engagement, EIA, Heritage and Development Economic services to drive forward the ambition to deliver commercial, retail, leisure and residential development across four priority sites in Birkenhead, Bromborough and Moreton.  

Over the past six months, our team has led the preparation of the hybrid planning application and supporting Environmental Statement for the project. A full summary of the application is available on the Wirral Growth Company website.

Images: AHR Architects

Listen in to our latest podcast episode "How can we maximise social value in town centre regeneration?" where we brought together a range of voices from the industry, who are intrigued by this challenge and come at it from a range of specialisms and perspectives.

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