As it looks to put together a regeneration blueprint for the next 15 years, Wirral Council is looking to identify brownfield and urban sites for development. Tony McDonough reports
Owners of brownfield or urban land in Wirral are being asked to contact Wirral Council as the authority looks to push forward with regeneration plans while protecting the green belt.
As part of the development of the borough’s Local Plan, a regeneration blueprint for the next 15 years, the council has launched its ‘Call for Sites’ initiative as it seeks locations for around 12,000 new homes it believes will be needed.
Wirral is currently in the middle of a major public consultation exercise. It is asking its 320,000-plus residents to offer ideas on how it can deliver the plan for new homes while keeping its greenbelt intact. And it is now urging those who own sites in the borough, suitable for development, to come forward.
Wirral Council cabinet member for the Local Plan, Cllr Anita Leech, said: “This is another way we are making sure we look at every potential development site to provide the homes and employment land we will need over the next 15 years.
“I would urge anyone who owns a site which we have not yet included (in our Issues and Options document) as we move towards our draft Local Plan to get in touch through our specially designed website and let us know.
“We have been clear from the outset that we are focused on using this opportunity to regenerate areas of the borough such as Wallasey and Birkenhead, using the huge swathes of land around the dockland area and in and around Birkenhead town centre.”
In January, the leaders of all political groups on Wirral Council sent a letter to the Government to ask for continued Government support in the regeneration of the borough. In the letter, they said: “We believe that our brownfield-first strategy will be the catalyst to the wholesale regeneration of the urban area in east Wirral stretching along the Mersey waterfront.
“We have an exciting vision to regenerate this area, known as the LeftBank, to be a world-class sustainable urban garden city with the potential for at least 9,000 new homes and 6,000 new jobs. A key priority is to increase the supply of affordable homes to help more people secure their first home, whether rent or buy.”
The letter outlines how the LeftBank footprint is larger than Liverpool city centre and the programme is one of the largest regeneration schemes in the UK. It includes Wirral Waters around Birkenhead docks where Peel L&P is working with the Council and Muse Developments who have a 50:50 agreement with Wirral Council initially focused on Birkenhead town centre.
Significant development is already under way at Wirral Waters. In January Peel L&P and Urban Splash have secured planning consent to build 30 modular homes at Wirral Waters in the first phase of a £55m project.
Under the 50/50 joint venture 347 new homes are planned for the Birkenhead docklands site and Wirral Council planner have given the go-ahead for work to start. It includes the customisable Town House from House by Urban Splash, which will launch for sale next spring.