between the lines. A land by stealth strategy has been
integrated into this bold proposal.
This bold proposal has no vital direct rapid-transit Merseyrail metro station in the plans. Are we to take this proposal seriously?
|Wirral Waters at Birkenhead Docks|
Land by Stealth Integrated Into the Plan
Below: The towers at East Float are way behind the river front with the water passage to Egerton and Morpeth Docks sealed up in this new proposal. On the river front from left to right, Morpeth Dock with Egerton behind, the filled in Wallasey Dock with the ro-ro berth in front and Alfred Dock with the river locks.
It appears Peel Holdings have integrated a land by stealth strategy into this bold proposal, as was the Canal Link at Liverpool Docks attempting to fill in West Waterloo Dock.
Oddly, there are no developments on the river frontage, with all developments centred around East Float and Vittoria Dock further inland. Even more oddly, there is no water passage to river fronting Egerton and Morpeth Docks from East Float. Alfred Dock incorporates the river lock and the whole dock is used as a large lock for long ships. Wallasey Dock was filled in to use as a car park for cars using the Twelve-Quays ro-ro ferry berthing in the tidal river.A ro-ro ferry terminal is to be built at Langton Dock wall at Liverpool, opposite the current ro-ro terminal.
When the Twelve-Quays ferry moves back to Liverpool this leaves three wet docks of Egerton, Morpeth and Alfred docks and the infilled Wallasey Dock. Do not be surprised if after the first few towers are built at East Float, a proposal is submitted to fill in Egerton and, Morpeth Docks and most of Alfred dock, leaving only a long river lock, generating a large mass of valuable river fronting land. These quays should remain and used to build around enhancing the East Float development, not filled in to make millions for developers. Developers regard the docks and waterspaces as a building land bank.
Below: Birkenhead Docks looking west with the River Mersey to the right and Liverpool Bay in the background. The Wirral Waters development will be mainly around East Float and Vittoria Dock. Vittoria Dock is the dock with the cream coloured roofed sheds, with water either side of the sheds.
Below: Birkenhead Docks looking towards Liverpool across the river. Note the green patch at the near end of the docks where Bidston Dock was recently filled in.
Below: Plan of the proposal to Vittoria Dock. Half the dock is being filled in. Clearly land by stealth. The impressive vast open water on the East Float is being reduced. Deep water vessels are eliminated, as occured at Princess Dock in Liverpool. Is Vittoria Dock and parts of the East Float to be reduced to inland canal barge depths precluding deep water vessels? Egerton and Morpeth Docks are not opened up to the East Float making these docks effectively isolated lakes.
Link to Official Wirral Waters Web Site
|A Bold Proposal to Transform Birkenhead Docks
Peel Holdings, announced on 6th September 2006 a bold scheme, breathtaking in scale, titled Wirral Waters, to transform Birkenhead Docks into a mini Manhattan. Birkenhead Docks are different to Liverpool docks in not following the line of the riverbank. With a small river frontage, the docks move inland for many miles forming the border between Birkenhead and Wallasey. Unfortunately the dock at the end of the complex, Bidston Dock, the most inland dock, was misguidedly filled in in 2002. The Wirral has now lost Bidston, Wallasey, Morpeth Branch and Bromborough Docks, amounting to substantial acres of water space. Peel propose to fill in half of Vittoria Dock.
The inland nature of the dock waterways, the large size of the two floats, East and West Float and the snaking shapes of the Floats, makes Birkenhead Docks superb for development, serving both Wallasey and Birkenhead. If this proposal goes ahead it will make the Mersey the finest waterfront in Europe.
Below: The tall towers are predominantly between the East Float and Vittoria Dock. Some buildings overhang the dock waters, while some quays are reshaped to accommodate the bold designs. Triangular islands are to be constructed between the infilled Wallasey Dock and Vittoria Dock.
The complex is centered around the large East Float and Vittoria Dock. Commercial activity will be centered further inland at West Float Birkenhead. Large ships will sail through the proposed new high rise development, giving an attractive, active, nautical aspect.
The much acclaimed and received proposal is currently conceptual only.
Below: Looking west along Vittoria Dock from East Float.
Below: Looking east along the north side of East Float.
Below: A shopping mall proposed at Bidston Moss at the most inland point of the Birkenhead Dock waterways. To be built on the needlessly filled in Bidston Dock. Using the water space of Bidston Dock would have enhanced the shopping development. Water from the West Float does not enter the water of the shopping complex.
No Vital Rapid-Transit Merseyrail Metro in the Plan
The main East Float sector of Wirral Waters, bizarrely as yet has no plans to run in a Merseyrail rapid-transit rail station. The project will not be a major success without rapid rail access to all of Merseyside and direct connections to:
Merseyrail rapid-transit rail transport access is vital to the success of the project, as experience in London's Docklands has proven. Once the rapid-transit London Docklands Light-Railway rail link was run in, investors followed. Few would invest before the rapid-transit rail links were installed.
Birkenhead East Float has the disused Birkenhead Dock Branch line emerging at East Float. Conway Park underground station is the nearest Merseyrail station, however not close enough to the proposed complex. The complex requires direct rail access right into the centre. Rail lines accessed the East Float from the Birkenhead Dock Branch line to the south east and Bidston to the west. Running in rail is not a difficult task, yet bizzarely there are no firm plans to do so.
It is relativity easy to create a Merseyrail metro connection direct to Wirral Waters. Extending Rapid Transit Merseyrail explains how this can be simply completed by using the disused Birkenhead Dock Branch Line running through the centre of Birkenhead. A branch and small section of line from Birkenhead Central Station is easily and cheaply constructed.Are we to assume Peel Holdings are not serious with this project by omitting a vital aspect that would ensure success?