Wirral Council is looking to progress its regeneration of New Ferry by purchasing properties in the area.
Once the sites are under public ownership, the local authority plans to clear them to make way for new retail and residential developments.
Proposals to buy the properties in the town, which was left devastated by an explosion in March 2017, will be considered by a special meeting of the council’s cabinet on Monday 17 December.
A row of largely vacant and rundown retail premises on New Chester Road (main picture) is being targeted in the move, along with a row of mixed retail and residential units on Bebington Road which faced the explosion site.
Some properties along the Bebington Road row have already been demolished for safety reasons, while others are said to remain in a state of significant disrepair.
Councillor Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Council, says: “Over the past months, the council has been working with Homes England – and its appointed consultants – to make progress on a residential masterplan for the area, one which will provide a key trigger for the wider regeneration of New Ferry.
“This latest proposal to bring key land and properties under the council’s control will see us invest nearly £1.3 million in addition to the £400,000 we have already spent on recovery efforts. We are also working with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to unlock £500,000 in regional funding to help us bring forward our plans at place.
“The focus of this new residential plan is based around the Woodhead Street car park area, which is already in the council’s ownership. The strategic acquisition of the properties on New Chester Road will remove the blight of those derelict buildings and open up the wider site for attractive redevelopment, including new community amenities and homes.
“Opening up sites and giving greater flexibility for redevelopment is the reason behind the acquisition of properties and land on Bebington Road. This area backs onto another small block of land already owned by the council so, along with the adjacent, currently vacant industrial unit, the entire Bebington Road site becomes an attractive development plot.”
Planning a longer term regeneration for New Ferry has been part of the council’s support to those affected by the explosion, which is still impacting on businesses and residents in the area.
Deputy leader of Wirral Council, Cllr Bernie Mooney, adds: “Despite the complications of land and properties across the sites being owned by various companies and people, I am delighted we have been able to find a way to deliver a comprehensive regeneration plan for New Ferry.
“With Port Sunlight on its doorstep, this can be a place where people want to visit, where businesses will want to locate, and where people will want to live.”