Wirral Waters seven years behind promise to build 1,100 homes

The developer behind the largest regeneration development in the UK is set to come in seven years behind its promise to build 1,100 homes by 2025, according to a council report.

Peel Waters, formerly known as Peel L&P, who manage the Wirral Waters developments on the Birkenhead docks, previously said it would deliver 1,100 homes by 2025 on the north bank in Seacombe.

However, an updated 2023 housing trajectory published by Wirral Council shows only 613 dwellings are expected to be built by March 2026.

The regeneration of the dock’s north bank includes several developments including Redbridge Quay, Miller’s Quay, and the Belong Village. 30 homes have already been completed at Redbridge and 500 apartments are currently under construction at Miller’s which is expected to be complete in 2025.

However, hundreds of the promised homes are years away, according to the report, with the report stating all of the 1034 homes on the dock’s north side were now expected to be completed by March 2032, seven years behind schedule. 

The council’s housing trajectory also shows three developments were pushed back a year following discussions with Peel including two originally intended to be delivered by Urban Splash.

House by Urban Splash went into administration in 2022 meaning Peel Waters had to take control of the development delivering the first 30 homes to the area. At the time, Peel said it was confident the next 55 homes “will be delivered within the planned timescales” and “the overall delivery trajectory for this particular development at Wirral Waters will not be adversely affected by the closure of the factory, and it will be delivered in full and on time.”

The developer also said the other phases of its developments would not be affected by the administration and would be delivered as intended.  The first homes on the south side of the docks as part of the Vittoria Studios developments won’t be delivered until at least 2028.

A Peel Waters spokesperson said, “Following our original partner, House by Urban Splash, going into administration, we were forced to revisit the plans for the next phase of development at Redbridge Quay, and other sites along the Northbank neighbourhood. We are now in advanced negotiations with new partners, and we hope to make a major announcement soon.”

Another development waiting for construction to start is the Belong Care Village, a “state of the art” development near the Tower Road bridge providing a dementia-friendly neighbourhood. £20m has previously been attached to the project with building work expected to be complete in 2024.

However, the development is now expected to be delivered between April 2025 and March 2026 providing 34 units. A Peel spokesperson said, “With planning permission granted and site enabling works complete, we remain on track to meet the five-year housing target, and we hope to see the delivery of a dementia-care facility at Wirral Waters soon.”

Peel has also pointed to their work at Wirral Waters in the wider community which the Pension Insurance Corporation said was an “outstanding example of what can be achieved by a group of forward-thinking, innovative and committed teams working together with a shared vision.”

This included employing 20 people locally on-site at Miller’s Quay, engagement with local colleges and universities, improving local primary schools, and donations to local charities including £10,000 to the Wirral Foodbank.

Wirral Council leader Paul Stuart said, “As a council, we have always been clear that the regeneration work taking place in Wirral now and in the coming years will deliver on every level for the people of Wirral.

“I’m pleased to see the commitment of those carrying out the building work to ensuring it delivers for local workers, students and the surrounding communities.”

Image: The first new homes delivered at Wirral Waters. Credit: Edward Barnes.

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