Thousands of proposed homes could see the Wirral completely change over the next few years.
Wirral Council said it currently has a target of building 13,160 homes as part of its draft local plan with sites earmarked for more than 16,000 homes in total.
A major development policy under government inspection, the local plan looks to preserve Wirral’s greenbelt and only develop housing on brownfield land, land that has already been developed.
However, a number of developers are challenging the council on this with Leverhulme proposing thousands of homes that could see the Wirral’s western side known for its small towns and villages change significantly.
2023 and early 2024 will also be a big test for Wirral Council as funding deadlines are fast approaching. The local authority is expecting to spend nearly £86m this year to get a number of projects off the ground.
If any of these developments do go ahead, Wirral could look significantly different in the future.
The decision over whether to allow the Leverhulme Estate to build homes on the greenbelt is expected following a lengthy inquiry which should finish on July 4.
Leverhulme has put forward plans to build more than 1,000 homes so far near Heswall, Pensby, Irby, and Greasby. The developer hopes to build attractive, sustainable neighbourhoods that will help contribute to housing needs on the Wirral.
However, the plans have been strongly criticised with protests, rallies, thousands signing petitions, and elected politicians voting against the plans. Leverhulme has appealed the decision to reject seven applications out of eight applications which would see 788 homes built.
These plans include some significant developments with nearly 290 homes near Irby, new sports pitches, cycling infrastructure, wildlife habitats, public parks, and support for autism facilities.
All of the projects will provide 30% affordable housing with the two largest applications near Barnsaton and Irby also providing 10% custom-built housing.
If the Planning Inspectorate decide to allow any of the homes to go ahead, Leverhulme said it has plans for 3,500 homes as part of phase two with nearly 8,000 homes proposed in total across 400 hectares.
Wirral Waters is the biggest urban regeneration project in the UK with 13,000 homes proposed, 1,500 trees planted, and 20,000 new permanent jobs could be created as a result.
The development includes Redbridge Quay where a number of houses are already up for sale, a resident care project called the Wirral Belong Village, and Millar’s Quay where 500 apartments are being built.
Millar’s Quay which is the largest residential development on the docks so far is expected to be completed in 2024. The project will cost £130m and following on from this, other plans for the area include nearly 900 homes along the south side of East Float.
Alongside the new homes, a major industrial development is underway at MEA Park near Birkenhead North station as well as plans for a maritime research centre.
Hind Street Urban Village
This project is one of the largest put forward by Wirral Council and will be one of the biggest developments in Birkenhead’s town centre if it gets off the ground.
1,600 homes are currently proposed alongside a new school, healthcare facilities, shops, restaurants, cafes, and hotels on what is currently derelict industrial land behind Birkenhead Central station.
As part of the plans, Wirral Council is also proposing to get rid of the flyovers taking traffic to and from the Birkenhead Tunnel that would see the way people drive around the town centre change massively.
A planning application is expected this summer with the first construction of the new homes in 2025. It’s anticipated the entire project will be complete by 2035.
Birkenhead Town Centre
Birkenhead town centre could see a number of major changes from new residential developments, a new market, new office space, and changes to some roads.
Proposed new residential developments include 84 residential units behind Birkenhead Market and 189 off Europa Boulevard. New cycle lanes and walking routes are also proposed near Conway Street station and Grange Road West is proposed to be moved down to one lane.
New office space in the town centre is currently under construction and the demolition of the old House of Fraser building is expected now that has been approved. This demolition is ahead of a new market being built in its place that is expected to open in 2025.
Alongside the new homes, Wirral Council hopes to revive the old railway that runs through the town to turn into a new public park with a museum as well as new walkways, event spaces, and a cycle lane.
£19.6m of Levelling Up funding has also been granted to help regenerate the area around the Woodside Ferry Terminal. This includes replacing the ferry landing stage, transforming the outdoor area, and upgrading the U-Boat attraction there.
Though smaller in scale, more than 70 new homes are proposed to help regenerate New Ferry’s town centre that was destroyed in the explosion there six years ago.
Plans for the first 34 flats have now been approved on the explosion site with construction expected to begin in the autumn of 2023. Building works are expected to then take around 18 months to finish.
The next stage will involve the former Co-op supermarket in the town, the Woodhead Street car park and some rundown retail properties on New Chester Road. Government funding has also been granted to help improve the high street with new benches and planters.
Though the plans have been criticised as “a missed opportunity” by some in the community, Wirral Council hopes the new homes will help revive the declining street scene and improve things for the town after a number of businesses closed down following the explosion.
This part of the Wirral could soon become home to some major developments with 124 possible new homes near the Port Sunlight River Park. Put forward by Persimmon Homes, the developer said the development could see an extra £3,3m spent in local shops.
Further down the banks of the Mersey, nearly 500 homes could be built on a former Ministry of Defence site as well as a business park next door. A £155m project further down the road could also see 1,200 homes built on the banks of the Mersey.