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Former landfill to become 'Gateway to Liverpool'

A former landfill site is to be given a £2.7 million facelift and will form part of the gateway to Liverpool when it becomes European Capital of Culture in 2008.

Once a landfill, now an area of natural beauty

Through the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), Bidston Moss in Birkenhead has been approved for regeneration under the Newlands Project scheme for local communities.

After being landfilled between 1963 and the 1990s, steps have been taken to improve environmental conditions. But with the funding, the long-held local aspiration to turn the area into a quality recreation area for public use has been realised.

Plans include introducing a more diverse range of wildlife species; opening up the woodland’s panoramic views and an eye-catching entrance feature.

Another key development at the site will be the extension of the Bidston Moss cycle track which it is hoped will be a valuable addition to the National Cycle Route Network. Facilities for mountain bikers will also be upgraded.

Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority chairman, councillor John Fletcher said: “The social and economic benefits of transforming an existing brownfield site into a multi-use, attractive woodland shouldn’t be underestimated. We are delighted that land that was previously landfill can be used for something which the whole community will gain from.”

The 40 hectare site is located close to the centre of Birkenhead and the ‘NewHeartlands’ housing market renewal initiative. It is also visible from the M53 east-bound motorway and the mainline train route to Liverpool.

NWDA chief executive Steve Broomhead said: “Restoring and securing the environmental quality of this location in support of the aims of the Mersey Waterfront Regional Park and European Capital of Culture 2008 strategic investments, as well as ‘NewHeartlands’ are key priorities for the NWDA. Together these will contribute to the significant changes that are revitalising inner Wirral.

“The Forestry Commission’s quality of approach to improving the region’s undervalued land will help to transform the perception of such challenging locations and raise values to bring about sustainable economic growth.”

A large percentage of the NWDA investment will secure a 20 year programme of site management, making sure the scheme’s initial benefits are sustained.

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