Wirral can once again become a “world leader in place-making” and build on the legacy of Port Sunlight - but only if it takes a more holistic approach to creating new and enhancing existing communities.
Leverhulme is calling for a wider debate about sustainable development in the borough to ensure that the Wirral of the future is best equipped to meet the needs of all of its residents.
Leverhulme says the pandemic has made it more urgent than ever that communities provide for healthy living and are as sustainable as possible.
The Estate has sent a brochure, entitled ‘The Leverhulme Vision’, to all Wirral MPs, councillors and other key stakeholders urging them to champion a broader debate on viable, deliverable and dynamic development to meet all needs before it is too late.
The document makes it clear that Leverhulme wholeheartedly supports the successful regeneration of brownfield land and adds that the Estate is “uniquely placed to enhance Wirral on a significant and comprehensive scale” and is “the only partner capable of creating beautiful new neighbourhoods, closely linked to their rural setting but offering enhanced accessibility and where health and wellbeing are prioritised.”
The 1st Viscount Leverhulme had the vision for Port Sunlight which is today still considered a shining example of model village excellence. Along with the 2nd and 3rd Viscounts, he also played a key role in the development of the village of Thornton Hough.
The Leverhulme document states: “Port Sunlight made Wirral a world leader in place-making. The Leverhulme Vision would restore this status to Wirral.”
Leverhulme says that the scale of its landholding – over 5,000 acres – would enable Wirral to maximise the benefits of sustainable development and access to the countryside for everyone and provide for:
- Greater health and wellbeing;
- Communities and not just homes
- Beautiful homes for Wirral residents;
- New and enhanced public access;
- Enhanced biodiversity;
- Modern, biodiverse farmland;
- Better connected infrastructure including enhanced network of cycleways and footpaths;
- A thriving rural economy;
- Improved leisure and tourism facilities.
The document recognises that the creation and delivery of sustainable communities where people want to live, and to spend work and leisure time, is complex and it needs to consider the views of many different stakeholders.
Nigel McGurk, of Leverhulme, said: “Wirral has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to achieve truly transformational new communities.
“A Local Plan is not about pitching brownfield against greenfield or for promoting things that can’t be delivered or that people don’t want.
“It is about how we deliver the kind of beautiful, sustainable communities that genuinely meet people’s wide-ranging needs today and into the future. The events of the last year have highlighted the importance of this approach more than ever.
“This means having a proper, holistic debate that considers all of the big issues including the climate emergency, health and wellbeing, connected infrastructure, leisure and tourism, a modern rural economy and the need to ensure that plans will be delivered.”