There are fears that multi-million pound Birkenhead plans may be ‘derailed.’
It was alleged tonight that massive ambitions to overhaul the look of Birkenhead could be thwarted by issues within the council.
The Economy and Regeneration Committee of Wirral Council met earlier tonight at New Brighton’s Floral Pavilion to discuss the massive plans, which include a rebuilt Birkenhead Market, event spaces, and hundreds of houses.
The local authority’s head of regeneration, Alan Evans, revealed that £88.7 million in funding had been secured for a number of initiatives throughout the town.
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He went on to say that the council has sought for an additional £130 million in financing, implying that the projects might grow to be worth over a quarter of a billion pounds.
Conservative councillor Andrew Hodson, on the other hand, addressed a study that revealed several of the council’s funding partners were unhappy with how the legal department handled their cases.
In response, Phil McCourt, Wirral Council’s director of law and governance, stated that if the report was prepared again based on the current situation, partners would not have the same concerns as Cllr Hodson.
Cllr David Burgess-Joyce, who also represents the Conservatives, asked if the committee could get a heat map of where issues in the council are occurring that could affect the authority’s redevelopment goals, so that councillors could engage with the authority to help it deliver them.
Wirral Council’s senior regeneration officer, Sally Shah, said she might adapt another performance report and present it to the committee.
The council decided to take note of progress on the major plans for Birkenhead, but with a change proposed by Cllr Hodson, who asked the authority to address any obstacles that may be preventing it from doing so.
The Heswall councillor stated that regeneration was the council’s “lifeblood,” and that if it did not do it right, it would generate financial problems, preventing the council from effectively delivering even its frontline services.
He went on to say that the council only had one chance to get it right, but that it seemed to be upsetting its partners.
Cllr Hodson expressed fear that problems with the council’s legal department could “derail” the regeneration plan.
As a result, he believes the matter should be sent to the council’s Audit Committee. “The summary has come to an end.”