Will ‘Birkenheads’ regeneration copy ‘Barons Quay’ success in Northwich?


HOW BIRKENHEAD COULD LOOK UNDER WIRRAL COUNCIL’S AMBITIOUS £1BN WIRRAL GROWTH COMPANY PLANS.THIS SHOWS A POTENTIAL VISION FOR A NEW BIRKENHEAD MARKET AREA – THE NEW MARKET IS WHERE WILKO IS NOW, WITH THE CINEMA ON THE SITE OF THE CURRENT MARKET (IMAGE: PUBLICITY /HANDOUT)

After reading these articles in the Liverpool Echo:

“STUNNING NEW IMAGES OF HOW BIRKENHEAD COULD LOOK IN FUTURE AS BILLION-POUND DEAL IS AGREED,”  

showing once again fantastic artists views of what we can expect

and

“WIRRAL COUNCIL TODAY CONFIRMED IT WAS LOOKING TO TEAM UP WITH MUSE DEVELOPMENTS TO FORM THE NEW  WIRRAL GROWTH COMPANY TO DEVELOP LAND ACROSS THE BOROUGHPOTENTIALLY HELPING TO CREATE THOUSANDS OF NEW JOBS AND BRINGING NEW REVENUES TO THE CASH-STRAPPED AUTHORITY.”

I am drawn to the plight of the regeneration of the centre of Northwich and the Barons Quay development where that Council has just had to agree an extra financial boost for the new retail development

Northwich council are planning to spend an extra £1.3m of taxpayers’ money to try and entice customers into their new shopping centre that has cost £80m, as six months after completion only one newly-built retail unit is occupied.

Following the termination of an agreement with the developers in 2008, and the plans being put on hold due to the recession, the Council had to take over the scheme in July 2013.

The construction work on Baron’s Quay in Northwich town centre was completed last November but all but one unit still remain empty.

The £1.3m extra that they are now to spend is to be on marketing to help lure businesses.

A council report said the authority was:

“targeting key fashion-led retailers and quality food and drink operators but in the current retail market this strategy is certainly a challenging one to deliver.”

“It will require further investment to optimise the chances of success, and a longer timeline than originally anticipated,”

Given the experiences of major development schemes run in the past by partners such as Neptune and the glorious Stella Shiu that our council announced with equal praise and high expectation, generating widespread anticipation only for it to dissipate into thin air joining the plans for those business schemes undertaken in Reno.

I am very concerned about how much of our tax payers money could be wasted on yet more wonderful plans such as the Niklaus Joint Venture Group proposed golf course in Hoylake that may, or if history is anything to go by, may not materialise.

 

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