Decision details


Decision Maker: Director of Law and Corporate Services (Monitoring Officer)

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


This report sets out a proposal for the Council to enter into a funding agreement with Wirral Growth Company LLP (WGC) to allow it to procure, via a specialist contractor Ameon Utilities Limited, the delivery of a primary sub-station in Birkenhead Town Centre. Scottish Power Energy Network (SPEN), the electricity provider for the region has advised that the network in and around Birkenhead is operating at capacity and without the investment in a new primary substation the network will be unable to support future demand for electricity that will be generated from the implementation of projects drawn from the Council’s on-going regeneration plans for the area.


The project is ready to be delivered and when operational, the primary substation will help to support investment in a range of new developments that when completed will help to create a regenerated town centre which is a long-standing priority for the Council as reflected in the Wirral Council Plan 2023-2027 and the Birkenhead 2040 Framework. The recommendations contained in this report directly support the key priority within the Council Plan to “Continue our ambitious regeneration programme through increased investment, jobs and new businesses throughout the borough”,It also supports the people focused regeneration theme of the Council plan.



The Director of Law and Corporate Services has approved the Council entering into a development funding agreement and any other necessary associated legal agreements with Wirral Growth Company LLP (WGC) to allow the delivery of a primary substation on land to the rear of Europa Pools on Conway Street, Birkenhead. 



Reasons for the decision:

In July 2021, the then Economy, Regeneration and Development Committee agreed the formal Site Development Plan (SDP) for Phase 1 of Birkenhead Town Centre. The plan has been developed by WGC in accordance with the prescribed process set out in the relevant Partnership Agreement that the Council and WGC have entered into. The Committee approved the delivery of Phase 1 of the SDP which has resulted in the construction of the two new office buildings, Mallory and Irvine and the plan also included for an investment in a new primary substation to be sited behind Europa Pools on Conway Street.  


This is required because as WGC was formulating the utility infrastructure plan needed to support the SDP, it supplied Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) with a load schedule that would be generated from the new office scheme as well as an estimate of the on-going power requirement needed to support future phases of town centre redevelopment. SPEN has confirmed that the office project could be served from its existing high voltage network but that would then take it to capacity and before any further development could take place in the town centre the local network would have to be upgraded through the provision of a new primary substation. 



Alternative options considered:

The Council could decide to delay investment in the Town Centre electricity network and/ or wait to see if a private sector developer emerges who would be prepared to make this investment as part of a specific scheme. Given the cost of the infrastructure required (circa £7.535m) and the fact that returns on investment property in the town are still sub-commercial this is not considered to be a feasible option, particularly given the need to drive forward Town Centre regeneration. The project is critical to the delivery of the regeneration programme, the emerging Local Plan and the Birkenhead 2040 framework and so it has been decided to deliver it on the basis that is set out in this report.


Publication date: 18/06/2024

Date of decision: 18/06/2024

Effective from: 22/06/2024

Accompanying Documents: