2011 start for Wirral WatersTHE first stages of the ambitious £4.5bn Wirral Waters development could begin as soon as spring 2011.
Peel Developments submitted the biggest planning application in the country for the major part of the project, around Birkenhead docks, last month.
The firm’s ultimate ambition is to create thousands of new homes and jobs, bringing major companies and possibly even a government department to what is currently mostly wasteland and an underused brownfield site surrounding the docks.
Lindsey Ashworth, director for Peel and the man driving the scheme, said that work was progressing rapidly behind the scenes, despite the current economic downturn.
He also dismissed critics who remain sceptical about the prospects for the plans.
Mr Ashworth said the firm had to be ready for when the country came out of recession, and cited Salford Quays, a Peel success story, which had its stops and starts during development.
He said: “We have started and stopped a few times there and this is no different.
“That scheme is not how we would have imagined it when we started.”
Mr Ashworth said Peel had spent “a seven-figure sum” on developing Wirral Waters to the current stage and councillors would discuss a second planning application within a few months before it was passed to Government Office North West.
Planning permission was granted in August last year for the Northbank East part of the scheme.
That included details of a development with 141 homes, a small supermarket and restaurants and cafes, and a second outline application for 1,531 homes, offices, bars and leisure facilities, including buildings reaching up to 40 storeys high.
A second application was then submitted to Wirral Council last month for the East Float element of the scheme, which would provide 1.4m square metres of mixed-use floor space.
The project, to be delivered over the next few decades, would provide offices and workshops to support more than 20,000 jobs in a broad range of commercial sectors. THE WIRRAL NEWS