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New Brighton finally reaps rewards as successful revamp takes off
Investors are queuing up to get a slice of New Brighton’s success story following a summer season that has seen a massive increase in the number of day trippers to the resort.
As predicted by the local authority and developers Neptune, the success of the Marine Point seafront project has acted as a catalyst for further development.
Focus of most attention is the derelict promenade site where the former Grand Hotel once stood.
The building was severely damaged by fire before being demolished some years ago.
Now potential investors have approached Wirral Council with plans to redevelop the site and sweep away a promenade eyesore.
Councillor Pat Hackett, council cabinet member for regeneration and planning strategy, said: “Due to the success of current developments we have received interest from a number of developers for sites along the promenade.
“Their identities are confidential at the moment but the schemes meet our aspirations to continue to develop New Brighton as a quality destination.”
Redevelopment of the Grand Hotel site, he said, would be along the lines of hotel and leisure uses. The present site, he said, “stood out like a bad tooth.”
Work on a prestigious seafront apartment block flanking the Floral Pavilion theatre will start before the end of the year.
Neptune Developments spokesman Dan Hynd said the development would be funded by private finance.
The project will take 12 months to complete.
An original scheme that included restaurants, bars and cafe, was scrapped.
Wirral Council has plans to spend £1.5m to fully restore the Victoria Road/Tower Promenade junction for traffic movement.
The former Merseyside Development Corporation created a so-called “town square” at the bottom of Victoria Road but Cllr Hackett claimed it had developed into a “ghost town” area.
He said: “We want to open up Victoria Road and bring a bit more life to the junction.”
The scheme should start within the next few weeks and be completed by next spring.
New Brighton’s regeneration has been a long time coming.
Decades in the doldrums followed the glory years after the end of World War II when thousands of day trippers crossed the Mersey to enjoy the resort's amusements and entertainments which included the majestic Tower Ballroom and its fairground, the pier, theatres and Europe’s biggest open-air pool.
Failed revitalisation plans included a scheme to transform Victoria Road into a shopping centre to compare with London’s Covent Garden.
A planned Disneyland-type venture along the coastal stretch between New Brighton and Wallasey Village also proved to be a fairytale, as did a £400m "Ocean Dome" seafront project.
An ambitious "Pleasure Island" scheme in the 1960s complete with artificial lagoon and £10m development funding for the former Tower Grounds site also sank without trace.
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