Wirral Waters
DeveloperThe Peel Group
Physical features
DivisionsEast Float, Vittoria Dock, Bidston Dock
Wirral Waters
Coordinates: 53°23′05″N 3°00′39″W / 53.3846°N 3.0109°W / 53.3846; -3.0109Coordinates: 53°23′05″N 3°00′39″W / 53.3846°N 3.0109°W / 53.3846; -3.0109

Wirral Waters is a large scale £4.5bn development that has been proposed by the Peel Group for Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England.[1] It is the sister programme of the Liverpool Waters project. Since 2012 the two projects have enjoyed enterprise zone status, together forming the Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone.[2]


To regenerate a largely unused series of dock spaces in the area, the main part of the plan may eventually see the creation of 5,000,000 square feet (465,000 m2) of modern office space at the East Float and Vittoria Dock. This is alongside a waterfront hotel[3] bars, restaurants, other leisure facilities & 15,000 apartments which would be housed in a series of tall, modern towers. Three of these towers are designed to achieve fifty storeys.[4]

A dedicated development is also proposed at the site of the former Bidston Dock, close to the M53 motorway and the Kingsway road tunnel to Liverpool. This will encompass an additional 571,000 square feet (53,000 m2) of retail and leisure facilities.[4]

The architectural practice Broadway Malyan[5] have been employed by Peel, and are responsible for the overall design of the development. Broadway Malyan are also responsible for the design of the redevelopment of Mann Island, across the River Mersey, in Liverpool.

If achieved, the plan will increase dramatically the amount of business space available in the wider conurbation, addressing an imbalance that has seen the area develop 5,000,000 square feet (465,000 m2) less office space than other urban centres of a similar profile. It is estimated by the developers that the scheme may lead to the creation of over 27,000 permanent jobs.[6]


The Tower Wharf redevelopment, adjacent to Egerton Dock in May 2015.[7]
The Tower Wharf redevelopment, adjacent to Egerton Dock in May 2015.[7]

The scheme was revealed to the public in September 2006, after 18 months of design, whilst at a consultative stage. Peel stated that the project may take up to 30 years, before it is fully realised, meaning the development may not be completed until the year 2041. Local councillors welcomed the proposals.[6]

Peel purchased the Cammell Laird shipyard, in January 2007, to facilitate the development.[8]

The developers intended to submit proposals to the Wirral Council by Christmas 2008.[9] This did not happen and on 2 November 2009, the developers stated they would post the application soon.[10] However, they threatened to pull out of the scheme if the Government called a public inquiry into it.[11]

On 3 August 2010, the Wirral Waters Scheme was given full approval by Wirral Council's Planning Committee.[12]

On 29 November 2010 the project cleared the final planning hurdle after being given full Government approval.[13]

On 6 January 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron together with Lord Heseltine met with members of Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council who were given a presentation of the scheme, followed by a tour of the site.[14]

The West Float Land Remediation Project was eligible to start on 27 June 2011, with a completion date of 31 March 2014.[15] This project was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund,[16] with a project value of £1.506m for the ERDF[15] and a broader value of £3m, recovering 12 hectares (30 acres) of redundant and contaminated dockland.[17] The site is intended for the Peel International Trade Centre.[18] Planning permission was granted for an International Trade Centre, within the Birkenhead dockland, in September 2011.[19]

A plan was announced in February 2013, intending to redevelop part of the abandoned Birkenhead Dock Branch route, to run a streetcar system.[20] The plan involves connecting Wirral Waters to the Merseyrail network at Birkenhead North and Hamilton Square stations, utilising the stretch of dock branch trackbed along Beaufort Road and Corporation Road, with inner and outer loops around Vittoria Dock and East Float, respectively.[21][22] Options to connect this new system to Conway Park and Birkenhead Park stations are also available, along with a further extension for the Wirral Tramway to Seacombe ferry terminal.[21]

In April 2014, Wirral Metropolitan College announced plans for a new campus. The campus is intended for the development of skills needed for realising the Wirral Waters project.[23] Plans were submitted for a 60,000 square feet (5,600 m2) office building at Tower Wharf, in May 2014.[24]

In March 2015, Morgan Sindall were awarded a contract to build a £35m manufacturing facility, for large components to be used in the energy sector, on Beaufort Road, alongside West Float.[25][26]

In June 2015, Peel announced it was pulling out of its joint venture with proposed Chinese partner Sam Wa for the development of the cornerstone International Trade Centre.[27]

At a meeting of Liverpool City Region Combined Authority in Feb 2016 Wirral Metropolitan College was granted an expression of interest for the building of Health Campus at their existing site in Wirral Waters. The campus will be used for nurse training and other vocational skills for NHS workers.[28]

It was announced in November 2016 that Wirral Waters had been made one of six new 'Housing Zones' and could apply for a share of £18 million of government funding designed to speed up the construction of large scale housing developments.[29]

Work is expected to begin in the summer of 2018 on a £25 million maritime training and business hub. The hub will be located in the old Victorian pumping house situated by Alfred Dock within the development.[30]

At the 2018 MPIM Global Property Expo in Cannes, three schemes to develop over 1,000 homes were announced. The schemes consist of a 'dementia care village', 347 modular homes and 500 apartments. The development of 500 apartments were announced as being confirmed by Cabinet of Wirral Council with construction cleared to officially begin.[31]

Blue Abyss announced in early 2019 that they were in advanced stages of planning a 50 metre deep research and training pool at Wirral Waters.[32] Blue Abyss had looked at sites including RAF Henlow and Colchester before settling on Wirral Waters. When completed in 2021 the pool will be one of the deepest in the world and will be able to be utilitised for freediving, research and training.


  1. ^ "Market shoppers acquire a taste for Wirral Waters development", Liam Murphy, Liverpool Daily Post, 16 September 2008
  2. ^ "Enterprise Zones drive forward UK industry with foreign investment". Click Liverpool. 28 November 2013. Archived from the original on 10 March 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  3. ^ Manning, Craig (18 May 2008). "Go ahead given for waterfront hotel plans". Wirral Globe. Retrieved 12 June 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Peel unveil plans for £4.5 billion 'Wirral Waters' scheme". Peel Holdings. 5 September 2006. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  5. ^ Broadway Malyan Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b "Wirral's skyline to rival New York". BBC Liverpool. 6 September 2006. Retrieved 20 February 2007.
  7. ^ "Approval given to new Wirral Waters office block". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  8. ^ "Wirral Waters scheme", Planning (UK), 12 January 2007
  9. ^ McCann, Sue (10 September 2008). "Threat to Wirral Waters scheme as firm threatens to withdraw". Birkenhead News.
  10. ^ "Peel Holdings on verge of submitting largest planning application in the country for Wirral Waters project". BBC Liverpool Echo. 2 November 2009. Retrieved 3 November 2009.
  11. ^ Vaughan, Richard (9 September 2008). "Peel Holdings threatens to pull out of £10 billion Broadway Malyan Merseyside schemes". Architects' Journal.
  12. ^ "£4.5billion Wirral Waters gets the go ahead". Wirral Council. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  13. ^ "Approval for £4.5bn Wirral waterfront regeneration". BBC News. 29 November 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  14. ^ "PM David Cameron visits Wirral Waters site". www.wirralwaters.co.uk. 6 January 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  15. ^ a b "ERDF North West List of Beneficiaries" (PDF). gov.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  16. ^ "Wirral Waters Enterprise Zone Secures Funding from Government". Peel.co.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  17. ^ "Construction". GallifordTry. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  18. ^ "West Float gets the vote!". RSK. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  19. ^ "Peel Gets Go Ahead For International Trade Centre". www.wirralwaters.co.uk. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  20. ^ "Peel reveals streetcar plan for Wirral Waters". Liverpool Echo. 15 February 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  21. ^ a b "Wirral Streetcar: Pioneering small-start systems in the UK" (PDF). Sun Link. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  22. ^ "Wirral Streetcar". Wirral Waters. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  23. ^ "Wirral Met announces plans for Wirral Waters campus". Wirral News. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  24. ^ "New office on Wirral Waters site could create hundreds of new jobs". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  25. ^ "Morgan Sindall wins £35m Wirral Waters warehouse build". Construction Enquirer. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  26. ^ "Morgan Sindall linked to £35m Wirral Waters contract". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  27. ^ Murphy, Liam. "Peel step away from Wirral's £175m International Trade Centre scheme". Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  28. ^ "College's plan for uni health campus gets past first stage". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  29. ^ Fitzsimmons, Francesca. "Wirral Waters could see cash boost with councils offered £18m for house building". Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  30. ^ "Planned summer start for £25m maritime training and business hub in Wirral Waters - Liverpool Business News". Liverpool Business News. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  31. ^ "Peel announces major building projects for Wirral Waters". Wirral Globe. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  32. ^ Farrell, Emma (15 January 2019). "Blue Abyss Liverpool Location Announced!". Go Freediving. Go Freediving. Retrieved 26 October 2019.