For years, everyone has complained about the sorry state of the former Rightway Building. The London-based owners were not willing to sell it for anything but an inflated price, and the Council has been trying to encourage them to invest in it themselves.
The prospect of redevelopment in New Ferry taking place on adjacent sites has now encouraged the owners to rethink their strategy and they have - finally - submitted a planning application to turn the building into 3 ground floor shops with an extension at the back to refurbish the upper levels to 9 x 1 bedroom flats (thankfully not HMOs!).
Will everyone who is interested in the development of New Ferry please have a look at the plans and comment on the proposals (use the link below).
Essentially, this development should be welcomed as a positive step to see building owners start to realise they cannot continue to leave their buildings to rot. This is exciting news for New Ferry, and long overdue. Let's encourage the owner to proceed as swiftly as possible and it would help if all those who have been asking for retail space in New Ferry to let them know your interest.
The Mid-Wirral Crime Prevention Panel is pleased to announce that football for young people has resumed on Friday evenings at the Oval Leisure Centre with funding it managed to win from the High Sherriff Fund and Tesco Bags for Life in 2020.
The programme has been successfully run for several years at the Oval, but the sessions in 2020 were postponed because of the pandemic and then delayed by vandalism to the pitches which the Council has now repaired.
The football sessions are FREE and for people aged 11 to 17, at the Oval Leisure Centre on Friday evenings from 5.30pm till 7.30pm. Led by specialist sports coaches organised by Wirral Council Sports Development.
Open to ALL genders. No booking required - just turn up to have some energetic fun.
Inspired by the murals which renowned street artist Paul Curtis has brought to New Ferry in recent months, and the colourful planters that have appeared in the high street and Bebington Road pedestrian area from funding awarded to the community, local children have contributed designs based on nature to decorate the back fence on a temporary community garden site that will be redeveloped next year.
New Ferry Community Land Trust had aspired to turn the site - previously populated with shops and homes that were obliterated in the 2017 explosion - into a temporary community garden with lawns, flower beds, benches and planters where local people could plant their own fruit and vegetables. The project, however, was beset with issues including the fact that the site was in multiple ownerships and permission could not be agreed from the various owners.
Since that time, however, Wirral Council has gradually purchased most of the properties using an acquisitions fund that it approved two years ago to bring forward a redevelopment scheme. The last of the wrecked properties will be demolished this summer once the final land sales are completed. Additional problems that prevented the community garden being realised included severe waterlogging of the site, and the Covid pandemic restrictions preventing the team from getting together to carry out any work.
With most of the site finally having been purchased by the Council, and with less than a year to go until it is redeveloped, volunteers at the New Ferry Community Land Trust have installed a temporary path across it to the rear fence. Covid restrictions and complicated insurance procedures have prevented local children from painting their designs onto the back fence themselves, so the artwork produced by the children of Grove Street Primary School has been printed onto vinyl panels that have been fixed to the fence which has become a temporary art gallery.
The artwork was produced partly from prepared stencils which the children coloured themselves, whilst some of the works produced are freeform from the childrens' own imaginations on the theme "nature". It is hoped that when the redevelopment of the site for shops and flats begins next year, the vinyl panels can be preserved and displayed at other locations in the future.
Members of the public are invited to walk across the site using the temporary bark path which has been installed, to see the artwork close up for themselves. Please take care when walking on it.
On 19th May 2021, it was announced that the government will be awarding New Ferry £3.2 million through its 'Future High Streets Fund'. Although first announced "in principle" last Boxing Day, the Council has had to jump through several hoops to secure the money. They have provided the government with the info which they requested, and this is the government finally saying "yes" to giving New Ferry the money.
It will be partly used to complete the acquisition of derelict properties for next year's redevelopment, and also to redesign/repave the precinct and add new parking spaces closer to the shops.
It has taken 4 years to get this kind of funding out of the government since the explosion. It was a competitive process that has been going on in the background for a long time, and there was no guarantee we would win it. But we DID!
There will be more exciting announcements from the Council soon about New Ferry. Several people in the community have been critical about the length of time it has taken to see change. The hold up was caused by (1) the government not keeping its promise to MP Alison McGovern to help the community following the explosion sooner; and (b) the Council has had to struggle with limited resources to convince many of the private landowners of wrecked and derelict properties to part with them to allow the redevelopment to take place. Now that this funding has finally been secured, more will be revealed about exactly what the Council has been doing over the last few years.
Add this £3.2m now secured to the £1.3m acquisitions fund already being spent by the Council makes £4.5 million. The redevelopment scheme (10 new shops and 79 new homes) will cost a minimum of another £10 million on top of this when it commences next year. New Ferry is finally getting the redevelopment it has waited so long for.
Wirral Council has launched a Green Homes Grant scheme to New Ferry homeowners whose household income is less than £30,000 a year. The grant can be used to install double glazing (if you only have single glazing at present), cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, solar water heating and solar electric panels in order to reduce energy bills and make homes warmer. It aims to reduce the impact that homes have on the environment.
If you are a tenant of a private landlord, your landlord can also apply on your behalf to make improvements to your home.
Go to the Council's website to find out more about the grant scheme, what it will pay for and how and by whom the work is carried out.
For years, residents have noticed that New Ferry's environment is not maintained to the same standards as those in more affluent areas of Wirral. In particular, some of our little pieces of open space which - at one time had trees, bushes and plants on them, now have very few. Some are now just bits of grass or weeds which seem to attract fly-tipped rubbish. New Ferry Residents Association has approached the Council to ask if they will reinstate the trees and flowers which used to be here, but their answer is that with the financial cut-backs they have had to endure, they "have no funding available for such improvements".
The Association is therefore going to apply to the Combined Regional Authority's Environmental Fund for money for trees and plants for three sites: 2 along New Ferry Road and a third at the Shorefields roundabout.
If we win the funding, we will use it to buy replacement planting material for these three sites and plant them up by ourselves, and bark mulch them so that future weed growth will be suppressed. We want plants that are of significant value to the local environment, attracting bees and other insects, and providing a food source for birds and other wildlife.
We are asking for volunteers from the community to (a) help us do the planting; and (b) volunteers to keep an eye on the beds in future, pulling out any weeds, picking up and disposing of small items of litter, or reporting to the council any serious rubbish dumping. If you would like to step forward to volunteer to do either of these, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of continuing improvements in New Ferry, and to celebrate the park’s Silver Jubilee, New Ferry Butterfly Park has received a £5,000 grant from the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund (i.e. HM The Queen, Duke of Lancaster) towards the cost of new spectacular butterfly-themed gates. This award was given in recognition of the work the park does for the local community in providing a safe wildlife haven, an education space, a space for outdoor art works, and youth work with groups such as the Princes Trust, Guides and Scouts.
The aim of the new gate design is to provide a welcoming feature to the park, giving a flavour of what is beyond the entrance way. Currently, a dilapidated understated standard black metal gate with barbed wire is present, which is not very aesthetic, not very welcoming and does not give any indication of the park or what it stands for. The Comma butterfly is a strong recognizable image and it, along with the name clearly stated, will be visible from a distance and on approach to the Butterfly Park. These spectacular gates will help secure the site but offer the opportunity to provide a welcoming entrance and celebrate the Butterfly Park. The gates have been sensitively designed by Ed Snell of Above Zero Landscape Architecture.
Paul Loughnane, Hon. Secretary, New Ferry Butterfly Park exclaimed “This is really excellent news. Along with the murals in New Ferry town centre this is certainly brightening up the area. With various covid disruptions it has been a long journey to secure funding for these gates. The project has been supported by New Ferry and Port Sunlight Community Fund, Wirral Wildlife and Wirral Farmer’s Market Community Fund. Paul added “The park’s opening day on the first May Day Bank Holiday Sunday is a regular and well-loved feature of the New Ferry calendar. It is hoped to invite the Queen’s representative, the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside to have an unveiling event then, Covid permitting. Next spring we hope to welcome back our visiting groups, as well as being open to anyone on Sunday afternoons.”
Contact and details: www.wirralwildlife.org.uk
New Ferry Residents Association has been awarded £5,000 in funding from Wirral Borough Council towards a £7,500 community-based project called "New Ferry - Dancing With Colours". This is the first phase of the project that will feature painted murals on several shops in the district centre.
The funding was part of the pot of money left over from the Council's "Hardship Fund" of £200,000 allocated last year to make payouts of £1,600 to each of the victims of the 2017 explosion. There was £19,000 of the money left over, so in January this year the Council offered it to local community groups as a "New Ferry and Port Sunlight Community Fund". The fund was advertised in the Wirral Globe, on the Council's website, in Wirral View, and on NewFerryOnline.
A group of traders in New Ferry stepped forward with an idea inspired by the successful scheme of colourful decorative murals painted onto the buildings in New Brighton. The artworks there have created a lot of interest, and have gone some way to brighten up the town. They asked if a similar scheme could happen in New Ferry to make our buildings look more interesting and colourful.
As a result, the community has come together to work on the first phase of a project we have called "New Ferry - Dancing With Colours". The New Ferry Residents Association submitted an application for and was awarded £5,000 for the first phase of murals which will go on the block of buildings close to the crossroads.
The work will be commissioned by the New Ferry Residents Association using the £5000 grant and also £2,500 funded by the participating businesses themselves. The art work will be painted by well known street artist Paul Curtis (https://www.paulcurtisartwork.com/). Work on the New Ferry murals is scheduled to commence next week (weather permitting). The artist reserves the right to make alterations to the actual designs used in the event of any copyright issues.
The mural project is the first of what we hope will be several phases. The Residents Association hopes to work with more traders who may be interested in taking the project further by applying for more funding from additional sources later this year. If you have a business in New Ferry and are interested in getting involved in the next phase, please email us at email@example.com.
Paul Curtis with one of his most famous mural creations in Liverpool's Baltic Triangle.
ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE COUNCIL REGARDING THE EXPLOSION SITE:
Last year, the Council acquired the freehold interest of the main explosion site at 41-43 Bebington Road in order to pursue its regeneration ambitions for New Ferry. An outline planning application is currently being determined, with a view to this enabling the redevelopment of the site of the explosion, at some point in the future.
Mindful of the negative appearance of the site since March 2017, the Council will shortly be appointing contractors to undertake improvement works that will not only improve its aesthetic appeal, but that will create some space that can be used by the community for a variety of “pop up” uses as necessary. Essentially this will involve the removal of the existing concrete slab and foundations of the former buildings, the levelling of the land, prior to the laying of a crush and run type finish.
In order to undertake this, the temporary block and mesh fencing around the site will need to be removed. There are currently a number of momentoes; ballet shoes, sweatshirts, t-shirts etc that were fixed to the fencing by current or former pupils of the dance school. These could hold sentimental value to the owners, who may wish to retrieve such items before the works begin. The Council are therefore advising anyone who wishes to retrieve any such belongings should do so by Sunday 28th June at the latest. Any items uncollected and remaining on the fencing after this date will be disposed of by the contractor.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the gradual easing of restrictions, Wirral Council is currently reviewing the support and measures that it needs to put in place to help its retail centres to re-open safely. With the government enabling all remaining “non essential” retailers to be able to re-open from 15th June onwards, the Council is keen to understand the extent to which business owners propose to take up this opportunity. In particular we are keen to hear from retailers as to:
Can all businesses who intend to reopen next week (15th June) please fill in the attached form (shown below as a download) and return it to me (my email address is below) as soon as possible.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The government have produced a number of helpful guides to prepare businesses for re-opening and these can be found via the links below:
In addition the Council has produced a Restarting Your Business after Coronavirus toolkit, which provides helpful advice and tips on re-opening your business. This can be downloaded from the Business Support section on our website via the link below: https://www.wirral.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/health-wirral/coronavirus-update/
In order that the Council can make adequate preparations for the gradual re-opening of some of its town centres, could we ask that responses be received no later than 1.00pm on Thursday 11th June. We apologise in advance for this short notice. Your assistance in this matter is greatly appreciated and we look forward to hearing from you.
Neil Mitchell Project Manager
Major Growth Projects & Housing Delivery
Economic & Housing Growth Directorate
Wirral Council CH44 8ED
Tel: 0151 691 8423
Visit our website: www.wirral.gov.uk
A series of outline planning applications for the rebuilding of the centre of New Ferry have just been submitted to Wirral Borough Council's Planning Department. These include for the redevelopment of the main explosion site, the site on the opposite side of Bebington Road(we call this the Griffiths/Lan's House site), and for part of the Woodhead Street Car Park and the mostly derelict buildings along that side of New Chester Road.
Following an extensive public consultation event that took place last year, the first two sites will be redeveloped with a mix of residential units and new retail space which was the preferred option selected by the community following the consultation event. Half of the Woodhead Street Car Park and adjacent properties will be redeveloped with flats and townhouses. 70 spaces will remain in the car park.
Obtaining outline planning permission is one of the things that needs to be put in place so that the Council can start the Compulsory Purchase Orders against property owners who are currently refusing to sell their land for this redevelopment to happen. Where this is happening, the Compulsory Purchase Order process unfortunately can take up to 2 years to complete, and this will delay any reconstruction work. The Council will keep the local community updated as this process progresses
We can announce, however, that the main explosion site is now in the Council's ownership in its entirety. The remaining foundations will be lowered in the next few months once a demolition contractor is appointed. The site will be temporarily surfaced with gravel so that it can be used by the community until the new development on that site begins. Being already in the Council's ownership, the Council are progressing this site to be the first phase that will be redeveloped, and they hope to announce the developer who will build the new shops and apartments on it later this summer.
Earlier this year, Wirral Borough Council were successful in their initial bid to the government's Future High Street Fund. They have now been asked to present a detailed business case for the £5.5 million worth of funding which will be used to buy up further empty properties in the district centre, redesign the precinct and how traffic moves around it, and create new parking to offset some of the parking being taken away from Woodhead Street Car Park.
The final report will be sent to the government, who will then make a decision sometime during this summer. This investment will also help to lay the groundwork for the emerging masterplan.
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.
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 we have, in the last six months, already tried to acquire several properties, we 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). We were asked not to announce this latest information without the GFA having been signed. However, the Council have now given us permission to bring you this good news. Working with the council, it is our 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 we can apply for change of planning use depending on who comes to us asking to rent it.
We hope to be able to bring you further information about these exciting developments as soon as possible.
As you will recall, the Community Land Trust had been given permission to set up a temporary community garden in the centre of the development site where Lan's House stood. The ground was cleared last summer and topsoil laid, but unfortunately the constant wet weather left the site waterlogged and unworkable so that we could not lay the £500 worth of turf which the Council gave us a grant for.
More recently, the Council has purchased the former Griffiths Butchers and is currently preparing the building for demolition. Unfortunately this could impact on the topsoiled part of the garden, so we have been asked by the Council not to complete the garden until the Griffiths building has been demolished. As with the blast site, a contractor will be appointed in the coming weeks and the work will be carried out as soon as the pandemic restrictions are lifted. The plan is to gravel the site and use it to double the size of the Community Garden.
Last week we were awarded £5,000 from the New Ferry/Port Sunlight Community Grant Fund, some of which we will be using to purchase large planters to place on the garden site. These will be planted up with small trees which have been donated to us by the Woodland Trust, whilst local schools and groups will be planting fruit and vegetables in them which local people can harvest when they ripen.
The remainder of the grant will also be used to purchase special planters that will be fixed to the railings along New Chester Road, in which we will plant annual bedding plants to bring a splash of colour as part of a project we have called "New Ferry: Dancing with Colours". New plants will also go into the existing timber planters already lining the precinct.
Obviously, the pandemic will have some impact on things which the Community Land Trust is trying to progress. Our monthly litter picks have been suspended until further notice, our Easter Pop-up Market has been cancelled in line with government advice, and our Summer Festival in July has been postponed whilst we wait to see what is happening with the national situation before we can choose an alternative date. Part of the funding from the Combined Authority is allocated to help us organise these events both this year and through to 2021, so we will be making sure that we spend it to bring you events in the precinct to benefit everyone.
[Published 11 February 2020]
In 2018, New Ferry Residents Association and New FerryCommunity Land Trust produced and distributed a printed version of the New Ferry Business Directory to over 4,000 homes in New Ferry and some surrounding areas. Unfortunately we cannot afford to keep reprinting and redistributing the directory every year. It is, however, more cost effective to maintain the business listings online on this website. Inclusion on this website FREE to any business that is based either in New Ferry or Port Sunlight Village.
We are sorry, but we cannot include businesses whose address is not within these two areas - we cannot maintain and provide a directory for the whole of Wirral. (For businesses from outside New Ferry/Port Sunlight who wish to advertise to residents here, please read about the New Ferry Messenger Magazine).
To get your business included on this Directory, please either email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your business name, details of what you sell or offer, your address and contact details; plus links to social media pages if you have them. Also include a photo for your listing.
[Published 23 November 2019]
Following the recent spate of anti-social behaviour in New Ferry, New Ferry Residents Association invited our local police inspector to come to speak to residents about what had happened and what residents should do to deter such behaviour.
On the nights of 30th October and 31st October 2019, and again on 5th November 2019 there were multiple reports on the NewFerryOnline and Crimewatch Wirral Facebook pages by residents who were experiencing broken car wing mirrors, smashed car windows, fireworks being launched at householders and passing cars; and later there was a car set on fire, rubbish bins to the rear of Iceland set alight, and on bonfire night, a derelict building torched.
Despite the many Facebook posts where residents were explaining what had happened to their property or was happening in their street, the police received only 13 calls on so-called Mischief Night from New Ferry; just 4 calls on Halloween Night, and just 4 calls on Bonfire Night.
Inspector Georgina Minnery said: "I've seen the Facebook posts from the nights in question, from which it is clear that New Ferry suffered a spike in anti-social behaviour. Merseyside Police can only respond to problems IF we know there IS a problem. The number of posts on Facebook clearly suggest that only a handful of people bothered to notify the police of issues they were suffering; whilst the majority - for whatever reason - didn't bother."
Inspector Minnery continued: "Policing has changed from the 'old days'. We don't have enough officers to be 'on the beat' just walking around the area. They're in cars so that they can get to places much quicker when reports of trouble come in. If an area has a particular problem, and we receive reports about it, we CAN get additional staff and resources to tackle those issues. But that can only happen if residents TELL US there is a problem! If we don't know about it, we can't do anything about it!"
The debate tackled the issue of HOW to contact the police. It is well known that ringing 101 leaves you waiting for long periods until someone answers. However, we have discovered a much better way to contact the Call Centre if you have access to the internet and use social media. If you contact the police on Facebook, search for 'Merseyside Police CC' and send them a message. Or for Twitter, @MerPolCC. You will be surprised by how quickly you will get a personal response.
However, Inspector Minnery said that physical damage to cars and property SHOULD be regarded as "significant crimes" in which case you should ring 999, particularly if an individual or a gang is to blame and might still be in the area targeting other peoples' property.
Residents suggested that people wouldn't bother if 'kids' were to blame, as 'the police won't do anything to them if they catch them'. Inspector Minnery disagreed, and said that they do indeed follow through with actions against young people who commit crimes such as criminal damage. Working with other agencies, the police have mechanisms which allows them to make interventions to control the whereabouts of young people who commit crimes; control who they can mix with, where they; when they are out. If the young person continues to behave badly, sanctions and curfews can be imposed on them, increasing in severity each time until the young person realises they are not going to get away with their bad behaviour.
Questions were asked about one young individual who has been named by several people as being involved in some of the recent incidents. Inspector Minnery confirmed that the young person in question is being spoken to whilst the police continue their investigations.
As for what to do when the period comes around next year: Inspector Minnery advised that all parents should be aware of where their kids are and what they are up to on Mischief Night. Because New Ferry was targeted this year, it is likely it will have more police officers/patrols the area just to be safe. There should be no need for residents to form vigilante gangs, and further advice will be issued to public nearer the time (in 12 months).
The reason why so many young people are hanging around in New Ferry was discussed. We know that several of the troublemakers come from outside of New Ferry; from neighbouring Rock Ferry and Bebington, and Birkenhead. Several of them come here because cannabis is being openly sold in the streets and the CCTV cameras we have are not necessarily pointing in the right direction. Inspector Minnery said: "Merseyside Police are already actively targeting drug dealing in this area. Cannabis farms are being frequently found - but this comes from good intelligence: residents on the ground need to report drug dealing that is happening around them. If you are worried about repercussions, report them anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers by ringing 0800 555 111 or online at Crimestoppers-org.uk
Some residents posted on Facebook that what the gangs were doing on those nights was "normal teenage behaviour" and that residents who had their cars damaged should "shut up, get their cars fixed and let the police deal with other (more important) crimes". It was mentioned at the meeting that criminal damage is NOT "normal" behaviour and should never be treated as such. Teenagers who think it is acceptable to cause so much damage to property or to scare others by firing fireworks at them have little or no respect for others, and grow up to think and behave the same way into early adulthood. Should we expect and allow them to do this?
Miscreants' behaviour has a knock on effect for others. Car insurers have already warned their customers in New Ferry that motor insurance premiums for this area will now go up because it is seen as a "risky" area to live in and own a car.... so we will ALL be paying more insurance because of it. Is this fair? In the meantime, because the car was set on fire in the car park next to the Village Hall, at least one group has now withdrawn from using the hall, and others may follow suit after reviewing the situation. The two recent attacks where the toilets inside the Village Hall were vandalised have not helped in this particular situation.
In summary, Merseyside Police appealed to everyone in the community to pull together and REPORT issues of crime and antisocial behaviour - even that which is committed by young children. If they are able to, they WILL take action against those who they catch, INCLUDING young people. We - the residents - are the eyes and ears for the police. If we WANT the police to be here protecting us and our property, we MUST TELL THE POLICE what is happening. If they don't know, they CAN'T do anything about it.
Damage to a car in New Ferry on Mischief Night, 2019
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