First council approvals for £4bn Wirral Waters

WIRRAL Council is expected to approve plans for the first major stage in the £4.5bn Wirral Waters scheme this week – but it could be a decade before any work starts on the scheme.

The local authority’s planning committee will be given detailed reports from officers recommending the project for Northbank East be approved by the committee on Thursday.

It is the first major planning application in Wirral Waters and would see around 1,700 homes built, plus shops and offices, which would create 850 jobs according to Peel Developments, the company behind the scheme.

Peel says the completed Wirral Waters could eventually create 20,000 jobs and put the Wirral waterfront on a par with Vancouver and Shanghai.

In September 2006 Peel Holdings, owners of the Port of Liverpool, first outlined its £4.5bn plan to transform the Birkenhead docks with homes, offices, retail and leisure schemes.

Northbank East is between the converted corn warehouses and the hydraulic tower and falls within the East Float section of the Wirral Waters scheme where the U-534 submarine, now at Woodside, used to be displayed.

Earlier this year when these plans were first submitted, Lindsey Ashworth, director of Peel Developments said one of their aims was to attract families to the scheme.

He said: “One of the difficulties in the past was apartments were often built with just one or one and a half bedrooms, which families aren’t interested in.

“These will be larger and have landscaped roof gardens and there will be facilities, including shops, offices, gyms and so on.”

At that time Mr Ashworth acknowledged that the recession was slowing work on developments and said: “Even if we had a planning decision in our favour now, we wouldn’t start on site yet.”

The report to the planning committee said: “Due to the present economic climate, the applicants have requested a five- year planning approval for the detailed application and a 10- year planning permission for the outline application.”

The report recommends granting extended consents “where appropriate in order to help bring forward development”.