AMBITIOUS proposals for a complete overhaul of the Birkenhead seafront opposite Liverpool's Three Graces have been revealed.
It follows lengthy research by planning consultants who were brought in by Wirral Council two years ago to develop a "masterplan" for the Woodside area.
The land near the Birkenhead ferry landing stage is seen by Wirral Council as offering "one of the World's most recognisable and spectacular views - that of the Liverpool waterfront".
'The report by planning consultants Building Design Partnership (BDP) who were commissioned to look at the area's future said "it clearly has massive redevelopment potential which needs to be managed to enhance the overall offer of this key strategic gateway into Wirral".'
The work has been overseen by Merseytravel, Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, Pierhead Housing Association, private land owners, including the owner of the Woodside Hotel and officers from the council.
The masterplan put forward would see a first phase of works to include the creation of a "development spine" running from the Woodside Ferry Terminal up to the corner of Hamilton Square at its junction with Hamilton Square Station.
The plan also calls for the development of a quality hotel as part of the package, and the aim is to draw a wider range of visitors into Birkenhead in the evening, both from the rest of Wirral and Liverpool.
Executive member for regeneration, Cllr Pat Hackett, said the scheme shows the authority's "ambitious programme for the waterfront in particular and Wirral in general".
He said: "The pieces of the jigsaw are now coming together, as Wirral and our partners across the region grasp the opportunities afforded to us by the Capital of Culture.
"This is one of many visionary projects that we are on the verge of implementing this next year, including the New Brighton Neptune development, Pride in our Promenades Initative, Birkenhead Town Centre developments, Cammell Laird's proposals and other schemes including a golf resort for Hoylake to build on our golf coast ambitions in light of the success of the Open Golf Championship.
"This scheme is particularly important as it right across from the Liverpool world heritage site.
"It sets it sights high in terms of quality and landmark buildings of a superior design. It will link up with Hamilton Square and Birkenhead town centre offering a mix of leisure facilities, housing and retail."
Last year, Liverpool-based Neptune Developments revealed they had struck a deal with the owner of the Woodside Hotel, opposite the ferry terminal, to redevelop the site as part of a wider scheme to regenerate the area.
Details were kept under wraps, but Steve Parry, managing director of Neptune, said he thought Wirral's waterfront "has been Liverpool's poor relation". He added: "I believe that Birkenhead's waterfront renaissance will begin at Woodside."
The latest update given to councillors says that private sector developers have already worked up proposals for Woodside that are broadly in line with the vision set by the masterplan, and adds: "This is very good news indeed."
Council officers now plan to consult with those involved with the aim of having the masterplan brought to the council for approval later this year.