Page last updated at 16:10 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Mersey waterfront plans submitted

The full scheme covers a huge area of the waterfront

Ambitious plans to transform a Merseyside docklands into a "waterside destination" to rival New York and Shanghai have taken a step closer.

Developer Peel Holdings has submitted a planning application for phase one of the 4.5bn Wirral Waters project.

Homes, shops, offices and a remodelled access to the Mersey waterfront are all planned for the Northbank East section of Birkenhead Docks.

If approved, the project could create up to 850 jobs, Peel said.

Northbank East forms just one part of overall regeneration plans for the docklands, which will take up to 30 years to complete.

It is situated between the converted corn warehouses and the hydraulic tower, near the former historic warships site.

It's the start of a very long journey that will take many decades to complete
Lindsey Ashworth, Peel Development Director

Peel said it wanted to create a new neighbourhood on the land with 1,700 houses and apartments that would appeal to all types of property buyers.

The development will also begin the process of building a new architectural skyline on the waterfront, featuring a number of high rises, the company said.

Much of the 850 jobs will be created in the early stages of development and construction, which has been welcomed by Wirral Council.

Leader Steve Foulkes said: "The creation of hundreds of new jobs in the first part of the scheme is very exciting and the council is doing its best to ensure that Wirral people are able to take advantage of these new opportunities."

Public support

Lindsey Ashworth, Development Director of Peel, said the application was the first of many and an important milestone for Wirral Waters, which he dubbed the biggest regeneration project in the country.

"It's the start of a very long journey that will take many decades to complete," he said.

"It's the start of a new and prosperous era for what is currently an area with real problems. We are very proud to be a part of this process."

In a statement, Mr Ashworth said improving and increasing activity at the port was central to Peel's plans as part of the redevelopment.

He added that public support was vital for the project, and urged the people of Wirral to have their say on the plans, which will be put on display at Birkenhead market hall.

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