Plans for a £25m maritime knowledge center at Wirral Waters

Peel L&P wants to turn the Tier 2 listed hydropower station in the Four Bridges area of ​​East Float into a center for maritime education and training.

Proposals for the Maritime Knowledge Hub were first announced in 2014. It was the subject of a design competition in 2018, which was won by Danish architect Schmidt Hammer Lassen and Ellis Williams Architects, based in Liverpool.

The end product, which is credited to Ellis Williams in planning documents, would retain much of the 1868 hydropower station, which sits on two acres west of Tower Road. It previously supplied the quays at Birkenhead. Plans would demolish three extensions that were added to the building later.

As part of the bid submitted by Eden Planning & Development, Peel would work with partners Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Wirral Council and Mersey Maritime to transform the historic structure into the Maritime Knowledge Hub. Construction is expected to begin in 2023.

The maritime knowledge center would include offices and workshops, a café, event space and an exhibition area. It would house the Maritime Technology Center and the Maritime Simulation and Training Center, with pontoons available for waterside access and training ships.

While some of the office space on offer would be for start-ups, there is one section that is envisioned as private office space that would have its own private roof terrace.

The proposals include 62 parking spaces, 10 of which would have access to electric vehicle charging stations. There would also be two designated disabled parking spaces and five bicycle racks.

“This is a pioneering regeneration project that will offer so much to the UK maritime sector,” said Richard Mawdsley, Development Manager for Wirral Waters at Peel L&P.

“Wirral and the Liverpool City area have a proud maritime heritage and the development of the Maritime Knowledge Hub will not only continue that legacy, but it also presents a fantastic opportunity for job creation and economic growth for the whole region. of Liverpool City and beyond. ,” he said.

“The design of the Hub and the regeneration of the tower is very special with education, industry and culture at its very heart. The tower is a very important local asset, steeped in history and heritage, and it is natural for it to take center stage in the Wirral Waters regeneration project.

Mersey Maritime chief executive Chris Shirling-Rooke said his organization had been pushing for the hub for more than a decade.

“Our commitment to this is resolute – it is really needed and now is the time to continue the work,” he said.

“This project is at the heart of the collaborative opportunities that drive our business every day and the timing couldn’t be better,” Shirling-Rooke continued.

“With decarbonisation firmly on the agenda, with the next stage of the government’s Clean Maritime Demonstration competition about to kick off, we are poised to maximize the opportunity it presents. Most importantly, the project will create thousands of high-paying, high-quality jobs where they are needed most.

Bcal, based in Liverpool, is the landscape architect for the project. Hydrock is the MEP and the sustainability consultant. Curtins is the engineer and Mel Morris Conservation is the heritage consultant. Gleeds is the cost consultant and Project Four is the security consultant.

The Wirral Council application reference number is APP/22/00937.

Donald E. Patel