The pace of regeneration in New Ferry is set to gather significantly in the coming months with a resolution close on some land ownership issues and the identification of a preferred developer for the wide-ranging programme.
One of the first physical signs of this progress that residents and businesses in the town will see is the demolition of the final block of damaged properties on the pedestrianised part of Bebington Road.
Having finally acquired all these properties, Wirral Council has contractors on site this week starting the work to bring down Nos 48-54 Bebington Road and clear the site ready for redevelopment. This block adjoins an already cleared site on Bebington Road and is opposite the cleared site which was the site of the 2017 explosion. Together they make up nearly two-thirds of the sites earmarked for regeneration under the programme.
Two reports that were heard at a meeting of Wirral Council’s Economy, Regeneration and Development Committee this week provided evidence of further progress on the plans to comprehensively redevelop New Ferry.
The first sought members’ approval for the appointment of a preferred development partner for the programme after the conclusion of a procurement process. The second sought approval for a council investment of £700,000 to purchase the former Co-op supermarket building at the junction of Bebington Road and New Chester Road.
The appointment of a preferred developer is significant in that it will allow the council and the developer to draw up detailed plans for the redevelopment and work towards getting full planning permission for the project. Outline planning permission is already in place for the overall New Ferry Masterplan. The identity of the preferred developer will be announced in due course.
The purchase of the Co-op building will provide an additional redevelopment opportunity on a site that adjoins land already earmarked for regeneration under the Masterplan. The final decision on the purchase will be made by the council’s Policy and Resources Committee.
Cllr Tony Jones, Chair of the Economy, Regeneration and Development Committee, says, “We cannot underestimate the importance of this progress. The regeneration of New Ferry is – and has been since the gas explosion in March 2017 – a top priority for the council. However, it has been and remains, a complex and long-term process due to the fact that the majority of the land and buildings earmarked with the Masterplan were in private ownership.
“It has taken investment and a lot of hard work to get us to the point where a large proportion of these sites are now owned by the council and we have been able to recommend the appointment of a preferred developer with a great deal of confidence that together we will deliver the New Ferry Masterplan.”