Birkenhead was built to work. Industrious, inventive, inspiring, it’s a town of world firsts and listed buildings. Of parks and poetry, and passionate people. It’s the town that built Liverpool, quarried the stone to clad the Empire State Building, launched the world’s biggest ships.
If ever a town was built on rock solid foundations, it’s Birkenhead. It’s time to recapture that spirit and rekindle the energy and ambition that put Birkenhead on the map. We’re starting a conversation about how we revive and re-imagine the town. It’s about how we make the most of what’s unique and special about Birkenhead, how we nurture the energy and creativity of our people and how we create a vibrant and attractive place to live, invest and do business. Move Ahead Birkenhead starts with a real plan for how we kick start this next chapter – an exciting proposal for a new leisure destination at Europa Boulevard – but this is bigger than a single scheme.
We want to open a conversation about what happens next. It’s a conversation that involves everyone who lives, does business, visits or simply cares about the town. Because we believe it’s high time we learned from our past – and looked to the future.
There are things missing in Birkenhead Town Centre and Europa Boulevard is an opportunity to provide one of them. Ion Developments have been working with Wirral Council to rethink this area and create a new leisure destination and restaurant offer in the heart of Birkenhead town centre.
By relocating Europa pool and creating a new leisure centre and pool, we can make space for a cluster of family restaurant uses around the Vue Cinema. Creating a vibrant and popular evening leisure destination is something that Birkenhead urgently needs and is the starting point for a much more comprehensive and radical vision to renew and transform Birkenhead.
The new leisure destination and proposed Travelodge Hotel expands the town centre across Europa Boulevard towards Conway Park station, creating a new strategic connection north towards Wirral Waters.
This is the key opportunity to make a big difference and provide something that’s missing and needed to kick start further investment and regeneration.
What kind of restaurants and supporting leisure attractions should we looking to bring to this site?
What else needs to be done to make this area more attractive to families?
Birkenhead has something that towns and cities across the world would envy – a waterfront. Waterfronts give places an edge and a recognisable visual identity and signature. They are places where people want to live, visit and gather.
They are a magnet for investment and a catalyst for change and regeneration. At present Birkenhead’s waterfront is disconnected and underwhelming. It’s biggest appeal is as a viewing platform for Liverpool’s iconic waterfront buildings.
How can we begin to re-imagine Woodside, better connect sites, and realise the potential for major redevelopment?
How can we create a waterfront that is busy, accessible and enjoyed by people and visitors?
What kind of development and what kind of architecture do we want to see at Woodside?
How do we bring the kind of life and visual appeal to the Woodside area that will not only underpin the future of the ferry, but will attract more people to renewed and regenerated Birkenhead?
We boast some exceptional and beautiful buildings and spaces, including the country’s first municipal park, an historic Priory and one of the country’s most architecturally impressive public spaces. These assets need to be cherished and their potential fully realised.
History and heritage are not just about the past. They are essential foundations for a future vision. We need to rethink these precious spaces and buildings so they can be celebrated, accessed and enjoyed – becoming the special places that define Birkenhead’s identity and appeal.
Only Trafalgar Square contains more listed buildings than Hamilton Square. The Square is one of the finest collection of Georgian Buildings in the entire UK.
How can we bring renewed life to the square and better connect it to the rest of the town centre?
What sort of commercial uses can we encourage to make the square a vibrant and people-friendly destination?
How can we use the space more creatively for events and public gatherings?
How do we make Hamilton Square and its surrounding area an exceptional place and attractive space to live?
Successful places understand the value of difference. They build their offer on the things that are original, specific and local – the things that express their character. Once upon a time Birkenhead’s identity was built on things that people knew and recognised – its industry, its buildings and its market.
Birkenhead Market attracted people from across Merseyside, North Wales and beyond. It underpinned the town centre economy and its wider retail offer. Surrounded by successful and established retail centres, Birkenhead needs to recapture a greater share of the local shopping spend, but also attract new and more people to the town.
Rethinking and improving Birkenhead’s retail offer may mean improving access and connections and spotting opportunities for new development, but it also means offering something that no-one else can provide.
Birkenhead is still one of the region’s most successful markets, but in an age where people are fed up with characterless superstores and identikit high streets, can we offer something more diverse, more interesting and more original?
What can we learn from successful urban markets in the UK and internationally?
How do we exploit the growing appeal of farmer’s and artisan markets to make space for local growers, traders and makers?
How do we support local start-ups and young entrepreneurs to create the new businesses that may be the retail businesses of tomorrow?
Places are made by people. One of the biggest drivers for town centre and city centre regeneration has been the growth in urban living. New developments and residential conversions are beginning to happen in Birkenhead, but ultimately we need more people to support the shops, leisure and cultural facilities that make up a vibrant town centre.
It’s not just about providing more houses and apartments, creating attractive and sustainable residential areas means thinking about all the things that make a place desirable and liveable – including shops, cafes and restaurants, schools, good quality and safe public spaces as well as cultural and leisure facilities catering for a wide variety of people.
Birkenhead’s excellent transport links and its closeness to Liverpool city centre could make it a very attractive and popular residential area, if we are able to provide the right type of accommodation and the services, amenities and cultural offer that people want.
What kind of housing and apartments do we need to be providing and where should they be located?
How do we learn from other places where too many identical or poorly designed apartments lie empty?
How can we provide the quality and diversity of accommodation that provides for different ages and groups of people making a balanced and inclusive community?
Can we take the opportunity of our proximity to Liverpool to offer people a better quality of life and more affordable places to live?
What do we need to do and create to make Birkenhead Town centre a more attractive and appealing place to live?
Birkenhead is served by one of the UK’s busiest rail networks. We are connected to tunnels, motorways and ferries and yet people complain that it’s sometimes easier to bypass the town centre than it is to actually access it.
Poor connectivity not only inhibits access to the town centre, but it also makes it difficult to navigate. Our shopping, civic and waterfront areas are disconnected and somehow add up to less than the sum of the parts. Making the most of our assets, increasing vibrancy and attracting more people are all about movement and better connections.
What are the biggest obstacles and problems to getting around Birkenhead?
Do we need any new transport routes, roads or cycle ways? Are there any roadways or flyovers that need to be redesigned or even removed?
How do we balance the needs of drivers with pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users?
How do we make public transport more accessible, attractive and safer?
Don’t miss the opportunity to find out more about the proposals for Birkenhead by visiting our public exhibition. There will be representatives of the developers in attendance to listen to your views and answer any questions you may have, We look forward to seeing you there.
WHERE: The Pyramids Shopping Centre (CH41 2RA) opposite Select and close to the food court.
WHEN: Thursday February 25th (10am-6pm), Friday February 26th (10am-6pm) and Saturday February 27th (10am-5pm)