Developers Peel L&P and Urban Splash say the first residents will start moving into factory-built homes at the multi-billion pound Wirral Waters site by spring next year. Tony McDonough reports
People will move into the first of 1,100 factory-built homes in Birkenhead’s docklands in spring 2022, developers said on Monday.
Peel L&P, owner of the giant Wirral Waters site, has entered into a joint venture with North West developer Urban Splash at East Float which will deliver the first 30 homes ready for occupation by spring of next year.
Work is already under way on the site and the first of the homes, built using what is called modern methods of construction (MMC), will be delivered to East Float this summer. However, because of ongoing building work it will not be safe for people to move in until next year.
Called House by Urban Splash, the collection of 350 homes will form part of the wider Northbank neighbourhood at Wirral Waters that will see the construction of 1,100 homes by 2025 with the backing of Government agency homes England.
Wirral Waters is a multi-billion pound development first unveiled by Peel more than a decade ago. Early developments included Wirral Met College and a large call centre facility for The Contact Company.
Now the pace of the scheme is being stepped up. Work has started on the 25,000 sq ft Hythe, a speculative office development that will offer grade A flexible office space aimed at local SMEs. Peel L&P has secured £8.5m from Merseyside Pension Fund for the project and support from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
Work is also expected in site this year on two other developments – the £23m Maritime Knowledge Hub, led by Mersey Maritime, as well as Belong Village, an extra care facility comprising 38 apartments and 12 dementia care households.
Richard Mawdlsey, director of development for Peel L&P’s Wirral Waters, told LBN the work now taking place at Wirral Waters was addressing “market failure” and reversing “decades of decline” in Birkenhead. Wirral Council has a wider regeneration plan for Birkenhead that will see new homes and grade A office space.
“Things are happening at Birkenhead and it’s fantastic to see,” said Mr Mawdsley. “All the projects need grant support but we are trying to wean ourselves off that. There was a big remediation effort to get the site ready for development. We are building in dockside walkways to bring the public back to the river and docks again.”
The new homes at East Float will be located next to a new park being created by the developers and Peel L&P and Urban Splash are aiming to have that ready for a launch event being held for potential buyers in July. The homes will be marketed by City Residential in Liverpool.
All the homes are timber-framed and the buyers can customise the interiors to suit their needs for things such as number of bedrooms. The first homes will be 80, 100 or 120 sq m followed by a number of 150 sq m three-storey town houses. Once built at the factory between six and nine homes can be installed on site in a single day.
Simon Humphreys of House by Urban Splash, said: “We’re bringing town houses, apartments and the bold and innovative new housing typology in Row House – and we’re excited to premiere it in Merseyside.
“Urban Splash was founded in Merseyside, creating hundreds of thousands of sq ft of workspace as well as city centre apartments in Liverpool. 28 years on we are immensely proud to be back in the region and bringing a stunning new development to the area.”
The go-ahead has already been secured for the first 30 homes with a detailed application for the next 55 due to be submitted in the next few weeks. Each home will built with the highest standards of energy efficiency and each parking space will have an electric vehicle charging point.
Mr Mawdlsey said students at Wirral Met were also benefiting from work on Wirral Waters with work experience and apprenticeship opportunities. He added: “Working in this joint venture with House by Urban Splash we will transform East Float into a contemporary waterside community for anyone looking to make Wirral Waters their home.
“Together with the new public realm, that includes new pocket parks and dockside walkways, these innovative new homes from Urban Splash will help create a new exciting, diverse and healthy community.”
East Float will offer quiet pedestrianised streets, additional green space for residents with large communal gardens – in addition to private outdoor space, gardens or terraces.
House by Urban Splash is owned by Urban Splash in partnership with Sekisui House, Japan’s largest housebuilder, and Homes England. Other shareholders include architect and TV presenter George Clarke, and We Buy Any Car founder and tech entrepreneur Noel McKee.