Wirral Waters ‘reminiscent of early days at Salford Quays’

Tom Bloxham MBE is chairman and founder of award-winning regeneration company Urban Splash, which has received 419 awards to date for architecture, design and business success.

The company is responsible for development projects across the country, including Manchester, Liverpool, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford Sheffield, Bristol, Plymouth, North Shields and Morecambe.

In 1999 Tom was awarded an MBE for Services to Architecture and Urban Regeneration.

In 2016, Tom and Urban Splash co-founder Jonathan launched House by Urban Splash – their modular housing concept which is being rolled out across the country. House is created using modern methods of construction allowing for customer specification.

The first homes are completed, fully sold and occupied at sites in Manchester, Salford and North Shields, with other modular homes on sale in Manchester, Birmingham and soon to launch in Cambridge, Walsall, Wirral and Milton Keynes.

Urban Splash are in the process of creating the East Float neighbourhood of Wirral Waters at Northbank in partnership with Peel L&P.

Tom Bloxham says this stage at the Wirral Waters development nestling between Birkenhead and Wallasey is reminiscent of the early days of development at Salford Quays.

Tom said, “In 1986, at the tender age of 23, I was in the process of buying my first house in Salford Quays. It was a fairly basic three-bedroom house at Merchants Quay – somewhere known as Manchester Docks until the early 1980s – but I was keen to invest in somewhere I knew would become quite special.”

The Manchester Docks regeneration began in 1985, with Merchants Quay being one of the area’s earliest residential developments. Tom continued, “When I first moved in, there were only about 30 houses and not a lot else; no offices, the Lowry theatre hadn’t been built, there was just a pub called Pier 6, the Copthorne Hotel, and a cinema.”

But there were rumblings of more to come, and Tom wanted to be at the vanguard and a pioneer of somewhere new. Since then Salford Quays has changed beyond recognition – especially with Peel L&P’s work in creating Media City and anchoring a whole new media community up North.

Fast forward to 2022, and this type of waterside regeneration is happening 30 miles up the road at Wirral Waters.

It’s a similar former docks setting – again led by Peel – on the cusp of something brilliant. There’s a lot of investment into the area – from the Future High Streets Fund £24.6m grant to Wirral Council to revitalise the centre of Birkenhead – to the £25m Towns Deal Fund which will support major capital projects, focusing specifically on skills and enterprise infrastructure, culture and improved public realm.

Tom concluded by saying, “If the halcyon days of Salford Quays are anything to go by, this will greatly benefit the first homeowners at East Float who’ll not only have lots of new amenities, but also a possible capital uplift when they become early adopters here. Not to mention the relationships they’ll form as more people move into the area.

“Even now, many of my best friends are neighbours from my Salford Quays days, and I look forward to our customers enjoying the same fate as their own neighbourhood at East Float comes to life.”

Salford Quays pre-redevelopment.
Salford Quays today. Credit GOOGLE

Main image: House by US at Wirral Waters

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