The regeneration of Birkenhead has taken another step forward with the announcement that Wirral Council has been awarded £19.6m from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.
The funding will be used to transform the waterfront at Woodside, supporting projects aimed at creating a thriving visitor destination and making significant improvements to transport infrastructure.
This latest funding announcement is another major milestone in the multi-million pound regeneration plans for Wirral and will help unlock the potential of Woodside at the heart of the Left Bank.
It now means more than £78.5m has now been secured towards Wirral Council’s ambitious regeneration programme in the last 10 months. This includes £25m which was awarded through the Government’s Town Deal scheme, as well as £24.6m from the Future High Streets fund at the end of last year to support the transformation of the town centre. £8.3m has been granted by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to support the removal of the flyovers into the town and a further £1m for Town Deal accelerator funds to help bring forward projects, particularly in the Argyle Street area.
At Woodside Ferry Terminal, the Levelling Up funding will be spent on transforming the outdoor public spaces along Woodside’s waterfront to enhance its potential for residents and visitors. It will also help towards upgrades to the existing U-Boat Story attraction and replace the ageing Ferry Landing Stage.
The funding for the U-Boat Story coincides with the announcement that the attraction is set to transfer ownership from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to Big Heritage, the team behind Liverpool’s popular Western Approaches heritage attraction. The link-up will create an International Battle of the Atlantic Centre spread across both sides of the River Mersey, which was the focal point of much of the planning, ship building and supply routes throughout the Second World War.
The Levelling Up Fund will also be used to make major infrastructure improvements with the removal of the Woodside Gyratory and the relocation of the bus interchange area outside the Ferry Terminal to create a new public space. These plans were first outlined in the Birkenhead 2040 Framework – Wirral Council’s 20-year vision for Birkenhead which was presented earlier this year. Removing the gyratory will open up the Woodside area and allow the creation of a much-improved link between Hamilton Square to the waterfront for pedestrians, cyclists and those with mobility challenges.
Alan Evans, Director of Regeneration and Place at Wirral Council, said:
“This funding announcement is yet another endorsement of Wirral Council’s ambitious regeneration plans for Birkenhead and the surrounding area. The Waterfront, with the views over to Liverpool, is an attraction in its own right, but has been disconnected from the rest of Birkenhead for too long. Today’s funding decision will allow us to make significant changes that will unlock the potential of this area, bringing new visitors to Woodside and Wirral, and creating a more enjoyable place for our residents to spend time.”