BEING DEVELOPED: Major plans to overhaul Liscard town centre
The town centre in Liscard
Major plans to overhaul Liscard are being developed by Wirral Council.
The local authority is using £500,000 from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority for many things which will change the look of Wirral’s second biggest town centre.
With the first £200,000 of the money, businesses and community projects have been given grants of up to £10,000 to improve shop fronts and make other changes inside and out, which will improve the town’s appearance.
Among the businesses to receive the funding were beauty salons, gift shops and cafes, with community grants going to environmental initiatives, exhibitions and youth mental health projects, as well as other schemes the council considered to be important.
In total, 33 businesses were given an average of £5,000 in grant funding, while nine community projects got an average of £7,500.
Speaking to the LDRS about the scheme, Cllr Janette Williamson, leader of Wirral Council, said: “There has been a national decline in town centres, but Liscard is a great place.
“The high street will never be as it was and it needs a restart. One way forward is a more community focused approach, as well as one which supports our small businesses.
“It’s about bringing people together with spaces for communities and fostering pride in the local area.”
She added: “A lot of residents say to me if only we brought back the big names, but that’s unlikely to happen.
“This is a massive opportunity to rebuild the high street with small businesses which support local people and communities.”
The £500,000 sum will also be spent on new CCTV columns and better street lighting on Liscard Way, making the town a safer place to be.
Another use of the money is the creation of more sports activities for young people to get involved in every Friday evening in Central Park. This scheme started in August.
There are also plans to build a ‘pump track’ in Central Park.
Pump tracks are continuous circuits of banked turns and features that do not require pedalling and they can be used by cyclists, skateboarders and scooter riders of all ages.
They are becoming increasingly popular and help people to develop their fitness, skills and coordination as they teach you to use the ground to generate speed.
On this, the Labour leader said: “It is important to offer activities, anti-social behaviour often comes from boredom.
“We’ve got stuff going on in Central Park, with sports activities and the pump track, which we did a consultation on and found over 85% of the participants supported.”
While it is hoped the £500,000 will have a big impact on the town in the short-term, the investment set to be ploughed into Liscard in the long-term will be spelled out in the council’s upcoming Liscard Masterplan.
Cllr Williamson was not able to specify exactly when the plan will be produced, saying that it will be presented to a key committee in the next few months.
However, she added: “There is a longstanding perception that Liscard doesn’t get any funding, that Birkenhead gets it all.
“But [this plan] will tackle big issues, it’s going to tackle underinvestment and continue to support independent traders.”
Although no plans have been drawn up for the idea, the council leader said she would like to see an artisan or Christmas market in the town.
She ended with a key message on comparisons between Liscard and Birkenhead. Cllr Williamson said: “Liscard does not have to be set against Birkenhead, it can work in tandem with it.
“If Birkenhead improves it has a [positive] knock-on affect on Liscard and the rest of the borough.”
Words: George Morgan, Local Democracy Reporter
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