£12m plans to revamp Liscard town centre take next step

£12m plans to revamp Liscard town centre with a new community hub are set to take their next step.

Later this week, councillors at a Wirral Council policy and resources committee will take a number of decisions that will see its plans for Liscard become part of its wider investment plan for Birkenhead and Wallasey. These plans hope to see millions go towards regenerating Birkenhead, Liscard, and New Ferry.

The £10.7m funding for Liscard was granted in November 2023 through the Levelling Up fund. The local authority had previously bid for more than £12m but to cover this shortfall, councillors approved a contingency fund in January of £1.3m in case the council couldn’t cover it through local funding

This would also ensure the council could deliver the project before March 2026 which involves two key projects to revive the town centre.

One will see shop front upgrades, improvements made to the high street and changes to roads to improve traffic as well as cycling and pedestrian routes. Some funding will also go towards encouraging “high quality” residential development in Liscard.

The second project will look to create a new community hub which at the time of the bid made in July 2022 involved demolishing and replacing the derelict Liscard Community Facilities Complex on Egerton Grove just outside the town centre.

When the LDRS spoke to people about what they wanted to see, several called for a new community hub in the town.

Vanessa Quarless, from Community Food, said it would be a good start, adding, “Somewhere they could meet together and be friends. We have people coming in here looking for stuff to do.”

A neighbourhood framework published by the local authority in 2021 said the project “will put more emphasis on the need for spaces where people can come together with a common purpose, but there is currently little civic and community infrastructure in Liscard. The hub would provide a much-needed focal point for local people and would contribute to enhancing community life in Liscard.”

The council said it could be run by a local community organisation with different support, health and well-being activities as well as meeting rooms, offices, play areas, sports and arts facilities, and potentially a community café.

The 2021 masterplan said, “No site has been formally identified for the hub – this will depend on the needs of the facility. It may be that the hub initially occupies a ‘meanwhile’ space such as an empty shop unit. As the hub becomes established the hope is that a new landmark facility can be delivered in the heart of the town centre core.”

A council report said the funding was needed to address deprivation and poor quality housing in Liscard and tackle issues around antisocial behaviour which are significantly higher than the national average.

It added, “The one-way gyratory which encircles the town centre creates a barrier to pedestrian movements and is dominated by cars. Physical barriers at both ends of Liscard Way obscure its importance and are detrimental to the centre’s appearance. The high street is pedestrianised but in need of enhancement and renewal while pedestrian routes serving this area are poorly defined and uninviting.”

Asked for an update on where the plans are now, a council spokesperson said, “The original Levelling Up Fund bid for Liscard included a proposal for the redevelopment of the former community centre at Egerton Grove.

“Since the announcement Liscard would be included in the most recent Levelling Up Funding, the council has been reviewing opportunities for the most suitable location for a community hub in Liscard Town Centre, and is working with local community, voluntary and faith sector organisations to identify potential uses for a community space.”

Image: Another proposal in the Liscard masterplan. Credit: Wirral Council

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