Our proposals and how we will be funded.
Several shops in our district centre have been empty for many years. even before the 2017 explosion wrecked so many of them. Owners - often property investors who do not live in the North West - have little interest in or incentive to refurbish their sometimes derelict properties. We have heard from people who have enquired about renting empty shops only to be told that their owners will only rent to them if the business proposer is prepared to invest THEIR OWN MONEY into refurbishing the building back into useable condition.
This situation cannot continue any longer, as nobody wants to spend their money on SOMEONE ELSE'S BUILDING that they will not end owning. As a result, the shops remain empty and are dragging the shopping centre down.
As is common knowledge, £500,000 has been awarded to New Ferry by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s Combined Authority, through the City Region Town Centre Fund. Wirral Council will be managing the fund, working in collaboration with New Ferry Community Land Trust on a number of measures that will help reinvigorate the town centre according to an Action Plan which determines how the money is to be spent to deliver agreed targets.
Integral to this has been the Council and New Ferry CLT working together on the identification of suitable premises in New Ferry that can be refurbished with the grant, to enable them to be brought back into economic use. Typically, this will be a mix of uses – residential and commercial/retail. The Council and our own solicitors are currently finalising the legal agreement (GFA) that will underpin this partnership, although there are likely to be some unfortunate delays due to the current Covid-19 crisis.
Though the CLT has, since autumn 2019, already tried to acquire several properties, they have been unable to do so. However, using the City Region grant monies, the Council have now purchased 78-80 New Chester Road (former Shillings). Working with the council, it is the Council and the CLT's joint intention to complete the refurbishment of the building to enable the property to be let for residential and commercial uses at affordable rents. Given that it already has planning use as a public house, it would of course make an ideal pub again, but also could be used as a restaurant or for any other retail purpose for which the CLT can apply for change of planning use depending on who comes to them asking to rent it.
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