A former freight railway line to Birkenhead’s docklands dating back to the 1840s is to be transformed into a ‘linear park’ almost a mile long and could also create space for 1,000 new homes. Tony McDonough reports
A disused railway line that once served Birkenhead’s bustling docks is to be transformed into a £13m ‘linear park’ linking the town centre with Wirral Waters and the waterfront.
And the Dock Branch Park project will also open up areas of land next to the old line that could see the construction of up to 1,000 new homes. Wirral Council’s head of regeneration and place, Alan Evans, told LBN work is likely to start next year.
Originally built in the 1840s, making it one of the oldest railway routes in the country, the line runs from Hind Street to Birkenhead’s docklands. Carrying freight to and from the waterfront, the line was closed in the 1960s as the docks declined.
Wirral Council has secured almost £100m in funding for the regeneration of Birkenhead from the Government’s Town Deal, Future High Streets and Levelling Up funds, as well as from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, to regenerate the town.
This money will be used to create the park which will provide routes for walking and cycling and open up a link between Birkenhead’s town centre and Peel L&P’s multi-billion pound Wirral Waters scheme where work is well under way on new office space and modular homes.
“Peel L&P is doing a great job down at Wirral Waters,” said Alan who is currently drawing up a strategic plan for the transformation of Birkenhead that will go out to public consultation next year.
“We have been working closely with them for the past 18 months and we have a solid partnership with them. It is important we both understand how Birkenhead town centre connects with Wirral Waters and the park is an important part of that.”
Network Rail still owns the land and the council is talking to them with a view to taking over ownership of the site. Alan added: “This is a 30 hectare site that is almost a mile long and we will put in access points along the route. It also potentially opens up space where we can build 1,000 new homes.”