Birkenhead was once part a booming metropolis with Liverpool - ‘the New York of Europe’. From the extensive docks, the innovative Mersey tunnels, the oldest underground railway outside London, the world’s first public park (inspiration for New York’s Central Park), and Europe’s first street tram; the town was planned for major growth. Unfortunately patterns of deindustrialisation and suburbanisation over the latter part of the C20th saw it increasingly bypassed and neglected.
OPEN was appointed as part of a multi-disciplinary team to address the broad range of physical, economic and cultural challenges; unlock new relationships between the town’s many natural and infrastructure assets; and help shape the town for a stronger future. Our skills in strategic masterplanning, urban design, landscape architecture, architecture and graphic communication have been drawn on to varying degrees across a fascinating and diverse study area.
The resulting regeneration framework is rethinks Birkenhead’s role in a more competitive city region, linking physical and social regeneration through community wealth building. It works in parallel with a Town Investment Plan, driven by businesses and cultural leaders, to make bold but realistic changes; carving out a distinctive role that is building momentum with developers and public sector partners.
At the heart of the plans is the creation of family-friendly neighbourhoods, with over 21,000 new homes planned in sustainable urban locations as part of a commitment to a low-carbon future. This accelerates and builds upon progress already underway at Wirral Waters. It also sets out plans for continued investment in the diversification of the town’s employment and commercial base, with over 6,000 new jobs, including the once again thriving port and visitor attractions such as a new Market Hall, Eureka! Mersey -the National Children’s Museum, and the planned ‘Transport Shed’.
Key outcomes from the work to date include:
• Successfully securing £25m of Future High Street funding to bring forward a new market building and enable the development of a new commercial quarter diversifying activity within the town centre
• Successfully securing £9m of Transforming Cities funding from Liverpool City Region to demolish concrete flyovers that cut the centre off from its historic waterfront, the central train station and surrounding neighbourhoods
• Supporting the development of a LeftBank partnership between key public sector partners such as Homes England and the Liverpool City Region, to promote residential-led growth on the Wirral waterfront
• Working with stakeholders and major developers such as Peel, National Musuems Liverpool and Wirral Growth Company, to ensure investment and activity is aligned and mutually reinforcing
• Coordination, graphic design and branding of the Town Investment Plan which seeks around £40m in funding for a series of key initiatives and projects such as Dock Branch Park, a new linear park through the heart of the town centre.