BirkenEd’s Place – First Week Update

27th November 2022

BirkenEd’s Place has been open for a week now and what a week it has been! We are delighted to see so many people come into the space and have meaningful conversations with local people, community groups and stakeholders. We have even had the pleasure of having conversations with locals who have passed by the space and stopped to ask us about it – even before we officially opened and when we have been closed!

In our first week of delivering our exciting community pop-up space, we have engaged the public with the plans for Dock Branch Park and Neighbourhood. We have been asking people what they would like to see in this new neighbourhood and what features they would prioritise (i.e., shops, green spaces, cycling lanes, public art, and heritage) as well as how far they would be willing to travel to different services or facilities. Dock Branch Park will be a brand-new public park developed by Wirral Council on the former Dock Branch railway line in Birkenhead, one of the world’s first rail freight lines opened in 1847. Inspired by The High Line in New York, it will be a unique urban parkland and will help people get closer to heritage and nature. As well as creating a new linear park with walking and cycling routes, there are also plans to create a new well-connected green neighbourhood in central Birkenhead with the potential to deliver around 1,200 new homes. Already within our first week of opening, we have had a lot of engagement with the Dock Branch project, with people sharing many comments and ideas. You can see a short film of the area that is to be developed into Dock Branch Park and Neighbourhood in BirkenEd’s Place and, in December, there will be two walking tours of the site.

In week one, we have also done some engagement for Wirral Waterfront and Surrounds. This a project that aims to deliver highway and public realm improvements to Wirral Waterfront and its surrounding areas, covering the area from and including the Argyle Street/Conway Street roundabout to the Woodside Ferry Terminal. The design team, which includes Mott Macdonald and Planit-IE, are looking at how these areas could be redesigned to be more attractive to spend time in, be more accessible for walking and cycling and include improved landscaping. We had already done some engagement for this project a couple of weeks back in November at Future Yard on Argyle Street. It has been great to build on the success of the Future Yard pop-ups in BirkenEd’s Place, where we have received more important comments and ideas. Also, on our first Saturday, we held craft activities for families and children relating to the Waterfront project. Families and children were invited to make drawings and models that show a fun public space they might like to see at Wirral Waterfront in the future! See above a photo of a design created by a young and talented up-and-coming landscape architect who got involved in the activity!

So, it has been a fantastic first week! We have made brews, chatted, mapped out our favourite places in Birkenhead, made some great local connections, helped people to book onto our exciting events, and made some valuable suggestions for the Dock Branch and Wirral Waterfront projects. Thank you to our amazing ambassadors and volunteers, who have supported us this past week – Matina Vrettou, Rhianna Weston, Luke Bithell, Diya Calleechurn, Georgina Cantrill, Elizabeth Bundred-Woodward, and Orla Doherty.

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