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 24 March 2020]
Following the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, our Easter Market planned for 11th April 2020 has been cancelled, and our Summer Festival for the end of July postponed.
We will publish revised dates for our events for the rest of this year when we can.
[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 email@example.com 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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