Wirral Council has appointed Ion Developments to push forward with plans for a low-carbon urban village in Birkenhead comprising 1,400 homes. Tony McDonough reports
Ion Developments has signed a development management agreement with Wirral Council to bring forward plans to build 1,400 new homes in Birkenhead.
As part of the council’s £10bn regeneration of the town, it aims to oversee the creation of a low-carbon urban village. This would be located in the Hind Street regeneration area close to Birkenhead town centre.
Formerly known as Neptune Developments, Ion is behind some of Merseyside’s most significant regeneration projects. These have included the Queen Square project in Liverpool city centre, Liverpool Science Park and Marine Point in New Brighton, which has just been sold for £44m.
During the past 18 months, Wirral Council, Ion and other stakeholders have been working to create a concept for the low-carbon urban village. It will aim to deliver a sustainable residential-led neighbourhood, close to both the town centre and the two railway stations.
This latest role involves site investigation, master planning and viability work which will provide the basis of further detailed work. The appointment has been made under the Pagabo Developer Led Framework. The majority of the site is now controlled by Wirral Council with Ion also having “significant interests” in the area.
A phased development, the urban village is expected to take a decade to build. First phase will be the redevelopment of a former gas works site.
It is also expected that Dock Branch Park, the £13m proposed green space running through the town centre on the former railway line, will extend to the south as far as Green Lane. This will improve the sustainability and connectivity of the scheme.
Steve Parry, managing director of Ion, said: “The regeneration of the Hind Street area is a key component of the regeneration of Birkenhead. It will create a new vibrant neighbourhood that will directly connect to and support the resurgence of the town centre.
“We are seeking to deliver an innovative, high-quality environment which will be an exemplar for future residential developments within the town. Future residents will enjoy the perfect balance of life in a green urban village, with excellent access across the region through public transport links.”
Later phases of the site are likely to include mixed-use and commercial buildings to support re-establishing the town as a place to live, work and play.
Cllr Tony Jones, chair of Wirral Council’s Economy, Regeneration and Housing Committee, added: “This is a hugely significant site adjacent to Birkenhead town centre. The proposals for residential development here are incredibly exciting.
“I have no doubt this scheme will become an exemplar for how to bring forward major developments and help set the standard for low carbon and sustainable future housing in Wirral.”