Minister for Northern Powerhouse James Wharton visit to Wirral Waters and the Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone

Posted 19th August 2015
7 minutes read
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James Wharton MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Minister for Local Growth and Northern Powerhouse, is to make a fact finding visit to Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone on Tuesday (18 August).

The Minister announced in July that government will be extending the Enterprise Zone scheme beyond the current 24 zones in a bid to add to the 15,500 jobs attracted since the EZ’s were introduced.

During the visit, the Minister will see the progress on the Wirral Waters and Liverpool Waters developments within the Mersey Waters EZ, one of the largest EZ areas in the UK.

The Minister will visit Liverpool Waters to review progress on a pipeline of projects being developed within the 42 hectares of land in Peel’s ownership and then travel across to see the Wirral Waters project, which aims to transform 84 hectares of semi derelict dockland in Birkenhead. This Enterprise Zone programme will play a major part in development of the Northern Powerhouse and local growth agenda.

The Wirral Waters project – the largest regeneration project in the UK *1- will transform 500 acres of semi derelict dockland in Birkenhead.

This Ministerial visit will include a tour of Tower Wharf, the 48,000 sq ft new build office, currently being built and due for completion in November, and the new Wirral Met College Campus nearby, which opens on September 7.

The £11m college campus will become the first new build capital project completed in the EZ when it opens to its first intake of students.

More than 300 students have already been involved with the build of the college, which is focused on training ‘home grown’ local people who can benefit from the jobs created in building Wirral Waters’ over the next 20 years.

The Minister will then be given a tour of the 500 acre Wirral Waters development, as part of a wider discussion on the programme of pipeline projects due to come forward.

Minister for Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse James Wharton said:

“Investment and innovation are at the heart of Enterprise Zones and the Wirral Metropolitan College project is a testament to what can be achieved when the public and private sector work together to support businesses and create jobs.

“What is really gratifying to see is the way this development is not only creating much needed jobs, but also creating the very skills we need to ensure the success of the Northern Powerhouse now and into the future.”

Richard Mawdsley, Director of Development at Wirral Waters: “The Minister’s visit comes at an important time in Wirral Waters progress. The first two buildings are near completion. We are proud that the first new build in Wirral Waters, Wirral Met College, is focused on applied skills for young people.  We’ve been able to capitalise on the tools that the Enterprise Zone brings – these are essential to generate development activity in this area.  The key now is for partners to accelerate delivery momentum and help deliver the pipeline of forthcoming projects in order for this Enterprise Zone to fulfill its potential in the Northern Powerhouse.”

Sue Higginson, Principal at Wirral Met College, said: “It is really appropriate that the first building in this area is a college campus that has been specifically designed to train and educate a highly skilled construction workforce.  Because of this, the workforce can be ‘home grown’ local people who can then benefit from the jobs created to build the rest of the Wirral Waters’ vision. I can think of no greater example of engaging local people in transforming their own community.

Robert Hough, Chair, Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said: “Enterprise Zones are a key feature of the Government’s local growth and Northern Powerhouse agenda, offering incentives for businesses to locate and grow at these key locations. This visit was an important and timely opportunity for the Minister to see first-hand the significant value of the Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone as a key strategic initiative which will create multiple job opportunities and boost growth for our City Region.

“It was also an opportunity to demonstrate the power of a strong partnership approach between the LEP, Peel and the local authorities.”

Cllr Phil Davies, Leader of Wirral Council said: “Wirral is a place where business wants to invest and thrive. As the only area in the NW with CORE rating, we are already acknowledged as the home of the Sustainable Energy industry – supporting offshore wind projects and manufacturing for UK nuclear industry; our river and port access is part of the Mersey Gateway to the Atlantic and we have a strong claim to be the preferred location for investment in advanced manufacturing in food science, automotive parts and light engineering. I’m delighted the Minister has been able to see for himself the remarkable achievements we have already secured and look forward to his Government’s support in helping Wirral and the wider Merseyside region achieve its devolution goals.”