Wirral Council is looking to help the borough recover from the pandemic, and grow and decarbonise its economy, and is seeking the views of local people on its economic strategy. Tony McDonough reports
People living in Wirral are being asked for their input into the borough’s economic strategy for the next decade and beyond.
Wirral Council has published a draft economic strategy and a consultation exercise is now under way. It’s aim is to help the area recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, grow its economy and address inequality.
There is currently a significant volume of investment going into Wirral, particularly in the Birkenhead and docklands areas. New homes and offices are coming out of the ground as part of Peel L&P’s multi-billion pound Wirral Waters project. It will also be home to the £23m Maritime Knowledge Hub.
In Birkenhead town centre the council is already looking to create 58,000 sq ft of grade A office space and rebuild Birkenhead Market. On the waterfront Woodside Ferry Village now offers a food and drink attraction and a regular ‘makers’ market’.
Wirral is currently ranked 77th most deprived district in England, out of a total of 317, and 20% of children are living in poverty in Wirral compared with 17% across the rest of the country. It’s employment rate is 73.9% and the gap with regional and national averages has been successfully narrowed recent years.
The draft text of the economic strategy is intended to help generate debate and discussion on the borough’s future economic direction, looking at its strengths and weaknesses.
The objectives of the strategy as it currently stands are for competitive businesses, thriving communities and ensuring people – whatever their age or background – see barriers to their development removed and are able to reach their full potential.
In addition Wirral Council will put ‘community wealth’ at the heart of the plan so that more of the wealth held and generated in Wirral is retained and controlled locally and flows into the hands of local residents.
There is also a major focus on low carbon. The UK’s ‘clean economy’ is estimated to grow at four times the rate of the rest of the economy. With its Cool Wirral 2 Strategy, the borough is well placed to make the most of this new direction for sustainable economic growth.
Vice-chair of Wirral Council’s Economy, Regeneration and Development Committee, Cllr Andrew Hodson, said: “This economic plan will ensure Wirral’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, while looking ahead to the future and the many opportunities we have for growth and job creation.
“It will help us address disparities across the borough, the aim being to re-position Wirral to ensure our focus is on more equity in our communities.
“The document as it stands is a long way from a finished product and is designed to encourage as many people as possible to say what they think should be done to make Wirral a more prosperous place and a more sustainable economy for everyone.
“So I would urge you now to get involved, have your say, and tell us what matters, what you want to see and help us make Wirral an even better place to live, work and visit.”
To have your say on Wirral’s economic future, click here.