Work starts at Port Sunlight River Park
The Manchester studio of landscape architect firm Gillespies is leading the design team for the £2.3m scheme, which will see the creation of the Port Sunlight River Park on the former Bromborough Dock landfill site.
Scheduled to open in summer 2014, the project is intended to benefit local communities and, together with the heritage village of Port Sunlight, stimulate economic development of the wider Wirral area and coastline.
The 28-hectare site will offer visitors views across the River Mersey to the Liverpool waterfront, and plans include ‘taking advantage’ of the site’s 37m-high mound, which is half a metre taller than Liverpool Cathedral.
The scheme 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’. Improvements to the public realm along the waterfront will include a perimeter walk, new wildlife habitats and seating. An area of salt marsh to the north of the site is an important site for large populations of water birds and is a site of special protection.
Warren Chapman, associate in Gillespies’ Manchester studio and leader of the design team, says that the new park will completely transform this part of Mersey Coastline, offering ’a vibrant and appealing experience for both local residents and visitors’.
The designs for Port Sunlight River Park, he adds, have a strong emphasis on access to nature, incorporating wildlife habitats such as a wildflower walk and a wetland area: ‘It will offer people a new leisure destination, and provide the perfect setting from which to enjoy the best view of the city of Liverpool’.
The transformation of this former landfill site is possible thanks to £2.3m made available via the Newlands programme, and from the site owner Biffa. The restoration work to ensure the vision for Port Sunlight River Park becomes a reality is being managed by the Land Trust on behalf of Biffa and a number of delivery partners.