Issue - decisions
Wirral Plan: A 2020 Vision - Underpinning Strategies: The Wirral Growth Plan
Councillor Pat Hackett presented a report by the Investment Strategy Manager which included as an appendix the Wirral Growth Plan: a key strategic document which articulated the ambition related to the Wirral Plan Business Priority:
“Wirral is a place where employers want to invest and businesses thrive”.
The report aimed to support Wirral businesses, attract new investment and improve the skills of local people so that all Wirral residents were able to contribute to and benefit from sustained prosperity and a good quality of life.
The Cabinet noted that the Growth Plan aimed to drive economic growth across the Borough and ensured that employment opportunities were accessible to all residents. As a result it affected all Wards within the Borough and was therefore a key decision. The Growth Plan aimed to attract £250 million of new private sector investment into the Borough over the next five years, create 250 new businesses, generate and safeguard 5,000jobs and build 3,500 new homes.
Councillor Pat Hackett informed that he was excited to be presenting this report. The Wirral Growth Plan was very focused and would kick start investment. There were major plans to revitalise Birkenhead Town Centre and link it up to Woodside and Hamilton Square. This was a business improvement district and the potential for Birkenhead was immense. The Plan would now start to be delivered and would provide Wirral people with better life chances. Business Start-up Schemes had already commenced, the Contact Centre and Wirral Metropolitan College building were up and running and hundreds of jobs had been created. The Plan was the recognition the Council needed to work with businesses, support them and help them to grow.
Councillor Pat Hackett reported that there was a range of Action Plans in place for the Borough’s Shopping Centres, Cammell Lairds was attracting new business and Unilever was investing in Port Sunlight. The Council’s aim was to attract the very best of developers and there were immense opportunities. The Council would work with its City Region partners to obtain its fair share of development opportunities. It was expected that the City Region agenda would feature Wirral heavily.
Councillor Phil Davies informed that he wanted Birkenhead and Wirral to be the first choice for developers and companies looking to invest in the Northern Power House. The Council was showing leadership and bringing key partners and players together. People positively wanted to invest in the Wirral and Birkenhead was a significant opportunity. The Town Centre scheme would create jobs for Wirral people. The Council had a good track record on regeneration and what had been done to turn around the prospects of New Brighton was miraculous. The Council wanted to do this in other parts of the Wirral as well. The devolution deal provided a good opportunity to direct funding to attract businesses. The building blocks were in place to make major progress on this during 2016 and delivery was now absolutely essential. A number of priority schemes would go live in 2016, including plans for the regeneration of Woodside and rejuvenation of Downtown Birkenhead, new projects in Wirral Waters including housing and waterfront developments and improvements to Birkenhead Market and the retail and leisure offer in the town.
Councillor Stuart Whittingham informed that he considered the report to be very positive. There was to be investment in the infrastructure and in two of the dock bridges.
Councillor Tony Smith made reference to the connections to Schools and Colleges and reported that the Department for Education had released the latest GCSE results and Wirral was top on Merseyside for Mathematics and English.
That the Wirral Growth Plan be approved.