Economy and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee 16/1/2011 Part 2 Peel presentation on Wirral Waters

Mr. Mawdlsey went into detail about what would be in the “neighbourhood areas”. Part of it would be residential, with high density families called Sky City. They also hoped to have an area for corporate headquarters, studios, small and medium sized enterprises and a civic/educational hub. There would be a channel for large vessels as well as a marina park. Peel were also leaving an opportunity for a large cultural building. He showed various CGI images. The planning application in 2009 was for 13,500 residential units, which would hopefully create 20,000+ new jobs, but it would take 30+ years to build it.

The planning application had not been called in and the area was now part of the Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone. The next steps were getting occupiers in 2012 in the areas of cultural, commercial, educational and manufacturing. They wanted to secure both local and international occupiers.

On green infrastructure the Forestry Commission had pledged £1.4 million for tree planting. They were also looking for funding to extend the tram network. The first phase of the project was the Hydraulic Tower and the International Trade Centre. They wanted to have hotels, services offices, education as well as an automotive or rail supplier. The focus would initially be at the Four Bridges end.

The trams had the potential to be extended, which was “cheap and cheerful”. They would gift the land to the operators of a disused railway line and already had apprentices working on it.

The Peel International Trade Centre had come about from their sponsorship of the Shanghai Expo in 2010. The ITC would include four buildings, each with up to a thousand companies showcasing their products to trade buyers. There would be a series of showrooms in a large box. They had visited a trade centre in China with sixty thousand tenants called Yiwu City. They were working on the funding strategy and as part of the first phase had entered into a joint venture with Stella Shiu who would contribute fifty percent of the capital costs.

They were now in talks with the Bank of China for a loan for the other 50%. In March 2012 they would start remediation of the former industrial site and hoped that the first tenants would be occupying in early 2013. They had entered a new phase of work, in a difficult economic climate they were trying to take the small steps to get the catalytic occupiers. The strong government support they had received so far they needed to continue. He thanked people for listening.

The Chair asked if people had any questions.

Cllr Pat Hackett said he had a simple question, it was a massive piece of real estate, what were the processes for acquiring businesses if they didn’t want to move? What were the processes for relocating businesses on the dock estate?

Mr. Mawdsley said most of the land was already vacant, however the steel business was important to the local economy. Since gaining planning permission they were working with the businesses on the dock estate. However for some it could be five or ten years before they needed to move. They would look at their needs and help them move, but it was an ongoing dialogue.

Birkenhead, Merseyside, UK

Author: John Brace

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