THE £200m International Trade Centre for Wirral docklands remains a flagship project for Wirral Waters overlord Peel, despite legalities delaying progress on the scheme, council leader Phil Davies has assured.

He said today: "Peel are sorting out legal agreements with the companies taking space at the centre. But they are still very positive about it and see it as a flagship development of the Wirral Waters venture.

"When I last spoke to them their intention was to start construction some time this year."

Cllr Davies said the ITC would be strongly promoted by Wirral Council at the International Festival for Business this summer when Liverpool and the Merseyside region will be the centre of the business world.

The festival is expected to attract 250,000 visitors from across the world to hundreds of events across the region.

Organisers hope it will bring £100m worth of investment into the UK economy and attract some of the biggest names in business.

The original aim was for construction work on the ITC to start early in the New Year.

But Cllr Davies said that as far as he was aware the delay would not put the project under any kind of risk.

He said Peel were "still very optimistic" about it.

The West Float trade centre will be the first of its type in western Europe and it brings the prospect of creating 3,000 jobs.

Occupation of the centre, it is anticipated, will be initially led by Chinese businesses.

It will provide a major boost for the local economy by allowing overseas companies – particularly South Korea, India and China – a gateway into UK and European markets.

The scheme is being funded by European grant.