Winter 2001


Article by Ceri Jones, Planning Department, Sefton Council

An Action Plan for the City Region has been prepared by The Mersey Partnership (TMP) on behalf of the six Greater Merseyside Local Authorities (i.e. Merseyside plus Halton Borough Council). The plan was prepared in response to the North West Development Agency's (NWDA) request for contribution to their three-year Corporate Plan (2002 - 2004) which will guide the way the Agency funds local economic regeneration and investment throughout the NW Region. The NWDA asked for "big ideas", and one of the big ideas that came out of the Action Plan was that of the Mersey Waterfront Regional Park.
Mersey Estuary Photograph
The Mersey Estuary. © John Mills Photography Ltd

The proposal has caught the interest of the NWDA which has already identified notional amounts of investment against it in their draft Corporate Plan. The Waterfront Regional Park concept encompasses major urban and industrial regeneration projects around the Estuary such as the Ports and Airport, the city centre waterfront, and Wirral Waterfront, as well as tourism honeypots like Southport, New Brighton and West Kirby. It also includes the open coastal areas of the Mersey Way at Speke, the Sefton Coast and the Wirral Coast.

It is envisaged therefore that there will be four main components in the concept:-
arrow 1. Mersey Port 1. Mersey Port, led by Sefton MBC, is targeting the involvement of all private sector port, marine engineering and maritime industries plus the public sector partners.
arrow 2 2. Estuary development and management 2. Estuary development and management will embrace water quality, beaches, bio-diversity, formal and informal recreation sites and their access, formal and informal urban parks, sensitive coastal sites of high environmental importance and nature conservation value, country parks and coastal trails and cycleways.
arrow 3 3. Development of tourism, sport and leisure 3. Development of tourism, sport and leisure will include golfing, watersport development, additional moorings at Liverpool Marina and at Albert Dock, more spectacular river events, promotion of visitor packages, hotel development, restaurants, markets, and Maritime Museum and Industrial heritage.
arrow 4. Flagship and infrastructure development 4. Flagship and infrastructure development will include for example Southport and New Brighton resorts, Kings Dock, a major conference centre, a Fourth Grace, Stanley Dock, a new or refurbished iconic building in Birkenhead, 12 Quays, the RoRos, Crosby Marina, a Cruise Terminal, and the canal extension from Stanley Dock to Albert Dock.

The full plan and a helpful summary are available on the TMP website at TMP would welcome any comments.

It is good news that the importance of the Merseyside coastline for the economy of the sub-region has been recognised -for instance it is accepted that the "Park" stretches from the Dee round into the Mersey and up to the Ribble estuaries.

The fact the NWDA has taken the idea on board may help with the funding of a number of projects on the Sefton Coast, although there is much to be done to develop an agreed programme. The immediate next step is that Wirral Council has been asked to take the lead in working up the ideas in more detail on behalf of the Greater Merseyside