Plans for the redevelopment of Birkenhead town centre will take a major step forward as Wirral Council’s proposal to take ownership of a key site within the town centre is discussed on Monday 27th November.
The ‘Europa Buildings’ in Birkenhead - home to Mecca Bingo and Wilkinsons - will be acquired by Wirral Council to form a central part of any redesigned town centre.
Council Leader Phil Davies said: “Our stated ambition is to seek new investment in Birkenhead town centre as a catalyst for regeneration across the whole borough. The Council is currently in a process of Competitive Dialogue with global investment and development firms to identify a joint venture partner to create Wirral Growth Company to realise that ambition. I am expecting to conclude that process early in 2018.
“Clearly, any successful regeneration plan for Birkenhead will need to rebuild a town centre comprising new retail, leisure, residential and office developments.
“The Council already holds land on Europa Boulevard and in other town-centre locations. Adding this site to existing Council assets will provide greater scope for regeneration and development, and should return a larger share of the development rewards to the Council.
“Our proposed joint venture Wirral Growth Company will not only drive wide scale regeneration across the borough but, as a profit sharing partnership, will return vital income to the Council to support important services. Making investments which will both benefit the local economy and potentially provide the Council with a sustainable income stream for the future, is a sensible way to invest to earn.”
Councillor Davies first announced Wirral’s economic development intentions at MIPIM, the Global Property Conference, in March this year. He used that opportunity to launch the competition to seek the Council’s joint venture partner.
Since then, Council officers have worked to identify potential joint venture partners to generate and deliver growth and regeneration plans across a range of sites including Birkenhead, Wallasey, Moreton, Bebington and Bromborough. The gross development value of the regeneration opportunity across Wirral has been calculated at £1billion by valuation experts close to the project.
Councillor Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Council, added: “This is a bold and ambitious move. We are committed to economic growth and regeneration across our borough to create a thriving local economy, where our residents have opportunity and access to secure good, well-paying jobs.”
“Through regeneration and development we intend to make Birkenhead a thriving, bustling retail centre and market town once again. It must attract visitors and shoppers from across the peninsula, the northwest and beyond. As the retail offer in neighbouring towns has changed with the success of Liverpool One and Cheshire Oaks – Birkenhead needs to offer an attractive alternative. Local markets like those in Altrincham and Bury have demonstrated a renewed interest in specialist food and drink offers, and further afield markets like Lisbon, Rotterdam and London’s Borough Market have become destinations in their own right.
“Adding key sites such as Europa Buildings, with its proximity to the existing Birkenhead Market, Pyramids Shopping Centre and leisure offers at Europa Pools and Vue Cinema, will put us in a strong position to drive the regeneration we aspire to see. It will allow us to redesign the town and create hundreds of jobs.
“I am incredibly excited about the future of Birkenhead and Wirral and know this will be the first of many exciting new developments. Over the coming months we will announce the next stage in the creation of Wirral Growth Company, a radical and ambitious new venture which will drive forward the redevelopment of many areas of our borough.”
The council’s cabinet will meet to decide on acquiring the Europa Buildings on Monday, 27 November.