Looking ahead to 2024 in Wirral
A huge range of projects will be moving ahead in Wirral in 2024 as the borough pushes forward with its ambitious and transformative regeneration plans.
A report to the council’s Policy and Resources (P&R) Committee (January 17) outlines how the Capital Programme – delivery of major projects – is being delivered and gives an outline of what to expect in the coming year.
This includes both the regeneration developments set to transform key areas of the borough as well as major spending by the council on Wirral Plan priorities, ranging from highway maintenance, school buildings and provision for those with special educational needs (SEN), extra care housing and tele health care, among others.
The report to P&R also outlines how key projects will be progressing, assuming sustainable business cases can be made. Set to come forward such projects include the Birkenhead Commercial District offices in the town centre, to move ahead while also providing a realistic assessment of market conditions and the impact this will have.
Among the changes to the Capital Programme being put forward is how the new Birkenhead Market will be delivered following the recent decision of councillors to reassess the best options for its future. Councillors will also be advised to pause plans for the Maritime Knowledge Hub at Wirral Waters until a business case which sufficiently balances the public and private sector risk can be brought forward.
The Capital Monitoring report also outlines how Wirral’s Regeneration Programme has grown due to the significant success in attracting government funding and external investment, with the past 12 months work focussed on developing the programme, supported by building a new team and now moving to more firmly into the delivery phase.
Additional recent good news is the success of Liscard in attracting almost £11 million in Levelling Up Funding after the Government looked again at the council’s bid for the grant. That original bid was focused on providing shop frontage upgrades and public realm improvements in the town centre including Liscard Way, better traffic flows, as well as unlocking high quality residential development in Liscard Village and creating new public areas and enhancing facilities[CM3] for the communities in the town.
Following an invitation from DLUHC for the council to participate in a Pathfinder Simplification Pilot the council is also now able to streamline its Future High Streets Fund, Town Deal and Levelling Up Round 1 allocations into a single programme meaning there is some extra time and flexibility to deliver the projects, with a revised spend deadline of 31st March 2026.
One of the major schemes set to move ahead this year is the Woodside Waterfront area, a key visitor destination, where the projects include a renewed landing stage at Woodside Ferry Terminal, a new International Battle of the Atlantic attraction at Woodside, and a number of improvements designed to make better connections and drive footfall between Hamilton Square and the Waterfront. Consultation on this is now underway.
Leader of Wirral Council, Cllr Paul Stuart, said:
2024 will be an exciting and vital year in delivering truly transformative regeneration.
For the last couple of years, we have been working steadily behind the scenes, securing significant funding from public grants and private investors, drawing up plans and consulting local people on Wirral’s ambitious regeneration ideas.
As with any series of major projects on this scale, we can’t do everything we had hoped for, circumstances change, costs rise for reasons such as inflation, and the risks of some projects change and grow such that we don’t feel it is an appropriate and prudent use of council taxpayers’ money. But there can be little doubt the work being done now and coming through in the next few years will help make Wirral an even better place to live, work and visit.