£1 million is being invested in ‘quick-win’ projects in Birkenhead as part of a major bid to transform its town centre.
The fund will support capital works set to deliver an immediate impact and contribute to the revitalisation of Birkenhead over the coming months. Cultural projects and organisations are among those which will benefit, alongside improvements to digital infrastructure in the town.
Wirral Council are awaiting the result of its recently submitted £45 million bid to the Government’s Towns Fund scheme to support its longer-term regeneration plans for Birkenhead’s town centre and waterfront through significant improvement works and redevelopment.
The £1 million grant was awarded by the Government as part of that process to aid economic recovery and help get certain capital projects underway quickly following the Covid-19 pandemic. It builds on the £25 million awarded to Wirral Council at the end of last year from the Future High Streets fund.
In recognition of Argyle Street’s growing emergence as a creative quarter, cultural organisations in that area will receive over £430,000. Grants ranging from £10,000 – £120,000 were awarded to seven organisations following a competitive bidding process.
These are Spider Project, Future Yard (pictured), Open Door Charity, Make Hamilton Square Ltd, Imagine School of Dance, Start-Yard and Pink Sands Studio. They were judged on several criteria including increasing employment and training opportunities within the creative sector, raising the profile of Birkenhead’s cultural and heritage offer and increasing participation in cultural activities among residents.
The money is also being used to develop an audio trail featuring songs by local musicians which are inspired by key locations across Birkenhead. Residents and visitors will be encouraged to explore the town by following the trail using their smartphones to find the songs.
Pilgrim Street Arts Centre, run by the Council’s Creative Youth Development team, has been allocated funds to create an outdoor classroom and support the provision of creative activities for young people. Woodside Ferry Village is also receiving funding to make better use of the public space by the waterfront and expand its offer by introducing an artisan market with outdoor stalls.
The fund will be used to improve digital connectivity in the town centre and its surrounding area, with the installation of new technology. This will bring increased security, with six locations receiving new CCTV cameras and 18 existing CCTV sites to be upgraded. In addition, the improvements will enable the installation of Smart Cities technologies, such as public Wi-Fi, in the future.
Councillor Anita Leech, Chair of Wirral’s Economy, Regeneration and Development Committee said, “The projects that have received funding have got the power to make a difference very quickly. We understand how relationships to town centres are changing and culture is set to play a huge part in the future of Birkenhead. We are looking forward to seeing the impact of these projects as they reach completion over the next few months.
“The grant awarded to us is a real sign there is confidence at a national level in our future plans and Wirral Council’s ability to deliver them.”
Wirral Council has a target of becoming net carbon neutral by 2030 and declared a ‘Climate Emergency’ in July 2019. This policy is a key consideration for planning decisions and a significant matter to be considered in the development of the Local Plan.
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