The iconic hydraulic tower at Wirral Waters is set to become a world-class maritime hub, bringing jobs and investment to the area.
The nineteenth century Grade II listed building located on Tower Road had been left unused for decades.
But now the tower is set to be brought back to life as part of Wirral Waters, a scheme led by Peel L&P with support from Wirral Council which is set to deliver 13,500 homes over the next 25 years and potentially create up to 20,000 jobs.
It is hoped work to turn the tower into the 'Maritime Knowledge Hub' will begin this year.
Wirral Council believes the hub will be a high quality centre of excellence for maritime business growth, helping to bring talent from across the region together to tackle the industry’s future challenges.
The authority said the maritime project could create up to 621 new jobs, as well as bringing a listed building back into use.
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The scheme will be designed to help the sector grow, focusing on the environmental issue of decarbonisation and the growth of digital technology, two key challenges facing the maritime economy.
Last week, Wirral Council’s economy and development committee agreed to support the authority’s investment into the Maritime Knowledge Hub.
The council is now moving forward with agreeing a 250-year lease on the building and investing in its redevelopment, working closely with Peel L&P to do so.
Cllr Steve Hayes, a member of the committee, said: “It is a great idea which will hopefully regenerate the maritime industry in Wirral.
“It’s one of the major projects within Wirral Waters. It is in its early stages at the moment, but moving forward it will hopefully be a big plus, increasing the quality of companies coming to Merseyside."
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The Independent councillor added: “With the possibility of a Freeport this ties in nicely. It will help to make Wirral an attractive place and bring jobs for youngsters who have not had a lot to look forward to for years now.”
Labour councillor Anita Leech said Wirral Council had to step in to redevelop a building which had fallen into disrepair.
Cllr Leech, chair of the economy and development committee, said: “The Maritime Knowledge Hub is an incredibly exciting element of the renaissance of the dockland areas.
“This is a landmark building which has sadly been left to fall into disrepair and the only way to make this scheme viable is if the council steps in and uses grants and other funding available for a major capital project such as this.”
Across Wirral Waters, homes are beginning to be delivered, with around 350 ‘urban cottages’ at East Float on the way in a project by Urban Splash and Peel L&P.
The first of these homes will launch for sale this spring.
On the specific project at Tower Road, Richard Mawdsley, Peel L&P's director of development at Wirral Waters, said: “The Maritime Knowledge Hub will be a national base for marine engineering research and development and survival training, as well as providing business accelerator space for the maritime sector.
“It presents a fantastic opportunity for job creation and economic growth across the Liverpool City Region and beyond.”
Progress is being made on many of Wirral Waters’ other projects also.
The Northbank neighbourhood is on track to deliver over 1,000 new homes by 2025 and the Four Bridges neighbourhood, of which the Maritime Knowledge Hub will be the centrepiece, is also in the process of being transformed.