Special guests from across Wirral and the wider Liverpool City Region have today (Friday 11 March) attended the official opening of Hythe, Peel L&P’s high-tech business hub at Wirral Waters.
The event was an opportunity for all those involved in Hythe’s construction to celebrate the successful delivery of the transformational project, which has used innovative low-carbon construction techniques and will act as a catalyst for economic growth in Birkenhead.
Representatives from Wirral Council, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Merseyside Pension Fund and Wirral Met College, attended the event to officially open the ‘next generation’ office building, located in the Four Bridges neighbourhood at Wirral Waters.
After the ribbon-cutting, five students from Wirral Met College who were involved in the construction of Hythe, were commended by Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, and Marc Banks, Divisional Managing Director of GMI Construction Group, who presented them with vouchers in recognition of their work on the scheme and to purchase some of the equipment they need to further their careers in the construction industry.
Also in attendance were the Leader of Wirral Council, Cllr Jeanette Williamson; Chair of the Economy, Regeneration and Development Committee, Cllr Tony Jones; Cllr Cherry Povall, Deputy Chair of Merseyside Pension Fund; Sue Higginson, Principal of Wirral Met College; and Richard Mawdsley, Peel L&P’s Director of Development for Wirral Waters.
Hythe’s construction has met its BREEAM target rating of ‘Excellent’ by including low carbon procurement initiatives and innovative construction techniques which set high standards in sustainability and place it in the top 10% of all buildings for its green credentials.
Efficient building systems, sustainable urban drainage, the installation of photovoltaic panels, electric car charging points, cycling facilities, and future provisions for bike charging points all contributed to this achievement.
The construction of Hythe has also brought significant benefits to the local and the wider Liverpool City Region economy. Over £1.5m of the build costs were spent within the Liverpool City Region’s construction supply chain, with nearly a third of the 422 contractors working on Hythe being based within the Liverpool City Region. This was a direct result of Peel L&P and GMI Construction’s ‘Meet the Builder’ events.
During the construction of Hythe many Wirral Met College construction students benefited from site visits and other learning opportunities gaining practical on-site work experience with many resulting in full time roles in the construction industry.
Richard Mawdsley, Director of Development for Wirral Waters at Peel L&P, said, “This is an exciting day for Wirral Waters. The success of Hythe is testament to the collaboration and partnership working of everyone involved, from our talented students and the local contractors who have been engaged in delivering the project, to our funders and construction partners.
“Hythe is a key part of the high-quality, sustainable urban neighbourhood that we are creating at Wirral Waters and it will provide a catalyst for economic growth in the area by providing high quality office space that will enable local businesses to expand.
“I would like to thank all the partners involved and the team at GMI Construction who have done a fantastic job delivering this incredible asset for Wirral Waters.”
Hythe has been funded by Peel L&P, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, through the Local Growth Fund, and the Merseyside Pension Fund, managed by CBRE’s Investment Advisory team, part of CBRE Capital Advisors. Local Growth Funding is awarded to the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and invested through the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund.
Wirral Council has also played a pivotal role to support Peel L&P’s team in delivering the project, emphasising the importance of collaborative working to ensure that the vision for Wirral Waters is delivered.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said, “The opening of the Hythe is symbolically an important moment for Wirral Waters and the wider work we are doing across our region.
“We’re building the environment to attract well-paid jobs to our region through top-class office space housed in one of the greenest and most sustainable buildings in the country and improvements to our transport network to help make getting to and from there as quick and easy as possible.
“The Hythe has also been a great example of our community wealth building approach, with more than £1.5m spent locally, helping to create and support hundreds of jobs for local people.
“The Left Bank and Wirral Waters projects have enormous potential to regenerate and reinvigorate Birkenhead and the surrounding area. We’re working closely with Cllr Janette Williamson and Wirral Council to help drive that renaissance.”
Minister for Levelling Up, Neil O’Brien MP, said, “It’s great to see that with the help of more than £1.2 million of government investment, Birkenhead’s first office development in over a decade is now complete and businesses are gearing up to move in. Through exciting projects like this, we are levelling up communities across the country by supporting education and training, driving innovation, creating jobs and providing a boost to local economies.”
Cllr Pat Cleary, Chair of Merseyside Pension Fund, said, “We know that Merseyside pension scheme members are keen to see their money invested in ways that benefit the local economy and local people. I’m delighted the fund has been able to contribute to this exciting new scheme and especially pleased at its strong environmental credentials which sit very well with our policy of protecting future pensions from climate related risks.”
Cllr Tony Jones, Chair of Wirral Council’s Economy, Regeneration and Development Committee, also commented, “Grade A office developments such as Hythe are essential for Wirral’s economic growth and transforming this area into a thriving community of businesses and homes. Hythe has set a high standard for showing how regeneration schemes can benefit our residents and businesses during the design and build stages – from sustainability, to providing opportunities for Liverpool City Region contractors and skills development for local students. The official opening now marks an important step forward for the future of Wirral Waters, Birkenhead and the wider LeftBank.”
Designed by Glenn Howells Architects, Hythe offers over 25,000 sq ft over three floors of high quality, flexible office space for entrepreneurs and local businesses. Lettings are available for businesses wanting to relocate to Hythe. Business should contact lettings agents Matthews & Goodman and Avison Young for further details.
Image: (L-R) Cllr Cherry Povall, vice-chair of Merseyside Pension Fund; Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region; Cllr Jeanette Williamson, leader of Wirral Council; Mick Whitley MP; Cllr Tony Jones, Chair of Wirral Council’s Economy, Regeneration and Development Committee; and James Whittaker, Executive Director of Development at Peel L&P.