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21 March 2012 

It has been confirmed that £2.2m will be made available via the *Newlands programme so that work can begin on the creation of a new tourist attraction for Wirral at the former Bromborough Landfill Site.

The site is now referred to as the Port Sunlight River Park and the £2.2m will go towards creating, over the next 3 years, a vibrant community woodland on the ex landfill site. The project will benefit local communities and, combined with the beautiful heritage village of Port Sunlight act as an economic stimulus to the wider Wirral area and coastline.

The 28 hectare site offers visitors direct access to the River Mersey with stunning views across the river to the Liverpool waterfront and the UNESCO World Heritage Site and plans include taking advantage of the site’s existing 37 metre mound (just half a metre higher than Liverpool Cathedral) to create a new green visitor attraction. The site is the flagship project of the Mersey Coastal Park Strategy, part of Wirral Council’s regeneration vision for East Wirral designed to re-connect communities with the River Mersey and harness the economic potential of the waterfront.

The photo above shows BIFFA staff at the pond on the site, where a family of swans have been living for several years since tipping operations ceased in 2006.

Cllr Jeff Green, Leader of Wirral Council said: “This is fantastic news for Wirral as we turn an eyesore into a tourist attraction. With the Government's backing of £2.2 million and the Council's commitment to transform this site, we will be able to improve the access from villages such as Port Sunlight down to the coast.

"This funding will enable us to really move this project forward and begin to open up the waterfront to the local community and our visitors.”

Development partners including Biffa Waste, The Land Trust, BIS (formally NWDA), The Forestry Commission, Wirral Council and Port Sunlight Village Trust have been working together for over a year to develop a vision for the site which includes community woodland, open space and the creation of a major new waterfront visitor attraction for Wirral. The Land Trust will oversee the restoration process of turning the former landfill into a regional park before taking the site into its growing portfolio, securing the long term future of the site.

Euan Hall, chief executive of the Land Trust; ‘The creation of this new park will benefit not only the local community through health, education and social cohesion but also the region through tourism, creating a catalyst for economic uplift. This will be a terrific scheme and credit needs to go to all the partners who have pushed to make this a reality.’

The Port Sunlight River Park will provide visitors with a number of distinct experiences including links to Shorefields, a reed bed/marsh area, improved public realm along the coastal sea wall and waterfront, the River Dibbin walkway, a perimeter walk, as well as a walk to the summit including interactive public art and nature conservation.

Keith Jones, Regional Director of the Forestry Commission added: “The proposed rejuvenation of Bromborough is a very exciting proposal for the Newlands team as it will be our first multi-million project located on the coast. By employing our knowledge and expertise from transforming more than half a dozen former undervalued sites into high-quality community woodlands, and with the local skills and capacity of our partners, Wirral will get a civic and visitor attraction it needs and deserves.”

John Devine Regional Operations Manager for Biffa said: ”Biffa are excited about the new plans for the area and look forward to working together with the development team to help create this vision, offering links with the surrounding areas via community woodland and open spaces whilst at the same time securing the long term maintenance of the scheme”.

Lionel Bolland, Chief Executive of Port Sunlight Village Trust said: “This is a great boost to our visitor economy and should mean more people visiting the area and thus more jobs for the surrounding neighbourhood. It is most welcome news!”

*The investment is being made through ‘Newlands’ – a £59 million brownfield regeneration programme that is led by the Forestry Commission (FC) with funding previously given by the Regional Development Agencies (now with BIS as part of a portfolio of ex RDA live projects transferred to BIS through RDA closure). In partnership with the site’s landowners (Biffa) Newlands will rejuvenate 28 hectares of the redundant Dock Road South tip, which is situated between the historic industrial model villages of Port Sunlight and Bromborough Pool.