Sunday Snippets for week-ending 30 January 2022

Welcome to “Sunday Snippets” a weekly feature from It is a round-up of important local news stories from the last seven days. Click or tap on each story to read the full article.

New homes project complete at former day centre site in Birkenhead

Leading construction specialist, HMS, has completed its latest new build project and handed over 13 new build homes to landlord, Torus. 

Riverside adds to the new build homes already completed by the team this year and marks the beginning of a series of exciting handovers for HMS, including schemes across the Liverpool City Region. 

With new build construction a relatively new workstream for the organisation, only commencing in 2018, HMS is quickly demonstrating its ability to grow and adapt, with over 300 new homes currently on site. 

Read more …

Crowdfunder launched to create urban walled garden in Birkenhead Park

Birkenhead-based social enterprise HYPE Merseyside is calling for people to support a crowdfunding campaign to create an urban walled garden for the community, which would be launched in time for Birkenhead Park’s 175th anniversary in April.

The courtyard behind the organisation’s office, located in the listed building at the entrance to the park, has mainly been used for storage over the past twelve months, but HYPE Merseyside now wants to transform the empty space into one that the whole community can enjoy.

The organisation needs to raise £3,000 to create a public space that will contain colourful and exotic plants, a water feature and will provide a welcoming habitat for insects, birds and other creatures. There will also be a seating area where visitors can take in the sights, sounds and scents of the garden while enjoying a cup of coffee purchased from HYPE’s office. 

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Pension business invests £130m in Wirral Waters

Legacy Project

Pension Insurance Corporation plc (PIC), a specialist insurer of defined benefit pension funds, has completed a £130 million investment in Wirral Waters One (WWO), the cornerstone residential scheme at the former dockland between Birkenhead and Wallasey.

Regeneration specialists Peel L&P has launched a 30-year strategy which will see the site become the largest regeneration project in the UK, creating up to 20,000 permanent jobs. Wirral Waters is supported by central Government as a key part of its levelling up strategy.  

Working in close partnership with Peel L&P and Wirral Council, PIC is the sole investor for the development of a Build-to-Rent scheme, comprising 500 one- and two-bedroom apartments, with an affordable housing component of 100 homes. Rents on the affordable units will be a maximum of 80% of open market value, delivering significant social impact.   

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Mystery monthly gift of flowers to staff and patients at Arrowe Park Hospital

A mystery donor has been sending flowers to a ward at Wirral University Teaching Hospital at Arrowe Park, every month since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ward 30 at Arrowe Park Hospital which cares for patients with blood cancers, such as leukaemia and lymphoma and patients receiving palliative care started receiving the flowers in March 2020 when the nation went into lockdown.

Two bouquets of flowers were delivered on that first month and there was no sender’s name on the cards that were attached. It simply read: “For staff” and “For patient”, along with the messages, “To cheer you up” and “To make you smile”.

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Construction begins on Birkenhead’s two Grade A office developments

Following the announcement of a £75 million forward funding deal, Wirral Growth Company partners joined together to celebrate the start on site of two Grade A office buildings in Birkenhead town centre.

Totalling 150,000 sq ft, the BREEAM Excellent-rated office buildings have been forward funded by institutional investor Canada Life Asset Management and are due for completion in autumn 2023, with Morgan Sindall Construction named as its contractor.

The two new office buildings mark a significant milestone in the transformation of Birkenhead, being the second Grade-A development in the area since the Queensgate development at Wirral Waters in 2014. They form the central hub of an exciting new business and leisure quarter being developed in the heart of Birkenhead, which will enable the borough to attract further significant investment and create more opportunities for local people.

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School Streets launches at more schools in Wirral

Two more schools will join the trial scheme in Wirral to help make the school run safer, healthier and happier for children, families and the surrounding community.

Liscard Primary in Wallasey and Christ Church CE Primary in Birkenhead will be the next to join the ‘School Streets’ scheme in February and March 2022.

The project sees a stretch of road outside a school closed to traffic temporarily during drop-off and pick-up times. Some vehicles will be exempt, but it will reduce the build-up of traffic outside the school gates and create a predominantly car-free zone to improve safety and air quality by encouraging walking, scooting or cycling.

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Wirral school awarded honour for outstanding teacher development

The Birkenhead Park School has won a Silver Award from leading educational charity, the Teacher Development Trust Network, who help schools to build upon their foundations of great teaching and leadership and develop further excellence in the teaching field.

The school, based on Park Road South in Birkenhead, says that continuing professional development is a hugely important part of what happens at the institution, and that this award shows that it is part of their long-term education plan involving all areas of the school.

Founded by teachers and school leaders, the Teacher Development Trust is the national charity for effective professional development in schools and colleges, and uses evidence-based research to help schools identify areas that could gain insight and support in overcoming any potential barriers.

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Community project to make streets ‘safer, healthier and more attractive’ in Bebington

Residents in Bebington and other areas of the Liverpool City Region will help to design safer, healthier and more attractive streets, as part of the ‘By Ours’ project.

‘By Ours’ is a new community-based project operated by Sustrans in three areas of the Liverpool City Region, Wirral, Liverpool City and St Helens and is set to make streets safer, healthier and more attractive.

Households in the Lodge Lane area of Toxteth, Liverpool and the Cowley Hill neighbourhood of St Helens have received surveys through their doors to gather views about what they like and dislike about their neighbourhood.

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Birkenhead MP calls for energy sector to be brought back into public hands

The Member of Parliament for Birkenhead has called for the energy sector to be renationalised, as data reveals that the UK exported unusually large amounts of gas in the autumn of 2021.

Research published by the Government this week showed that twice as many Gigawatt hours of gas were exported in the autumn of 2021 as in 2020, even as widespread shortages drove up bills for millions of ordinary people and led to the collapse of twenty-seven energy companies.

Mick Whitley said this was a sign of a “dysfunctional system, designed only to line the pockets of private shareholders and not to serve the needs of the millions of people facing fuel poverty.”

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What Can the Highway Code do for Climate Change?

You’ll know from my previous article (and from sticking your head out of the window) that emissions from transport are a very big deal. The Wirral Council climate strategy  spells it out quite starkly. We need ‘a complete shift to fossil fuel free local travel by around 2030.’

Yes, you read that right. No petrol or diesel cars on our roads in less than 8 years. Yikes.

You’ll also likely be one of those people that would love to cycle more or let your kids walk to school independently much more but, for quite obvious reasons, might be a bit wary thanks to the masses of cars, vans and lorries whizzing around.

Read more …

Community protests against cuts at Woodchurch Leisure Centre

Central government funding to Wirral Council has dropped by around 85% between 2010 and 2020. Income from other sources such as business rates has compensated to a degree, but the overall revenue of the council was still 25% lower in 2020 than it was in 2010. 

For the financial year 2010/11, Wirral Council income from central government, council tax and rates was £450m, adjusted for inflation. Ten years later for the financial year 2020/21, and again adjusted for inflation, Wirral Council income was £338m – a huge drop of £112m.

This means that Wirral Council has a seemingly impossible task of balancing its books whilst maintaining services, such as libraries and sports facilities.

Read more …

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