WIRRAL’S Council leader says he is “pretty confident” that a flagship scheme for Birkenhead docks will go ahead after one of the companies behind it “stepped away” from the project.

Developers Peel submitted plans for the £175m International Trade Centre in 2011 as part of a move to kick-start the £4.6bn Wirral Waters project.

They had been working alongside Chinese company Sam Wa but Peel has now confirmed it will play no further part in the project following a “mutual agreement” between the two firms.

Stella Shiu, boss of Sam Wa, now wants to be the 100% owner of the ITC – which will see hundreds of companies from different backgrounds housed in one place.

Councillor Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Council, said: “As I understand it, the way forward now is that San Wa who were going to be partnered with Peel, are going to be sole partner who are going to invest all of the money themselves.

“I’m still pretty confident it’s going to happen but now it will just be that Sam Wa will be landlord as whole on its own.”

Wirral Globe: EXCLUSIVE: Council leader Phil Davies writes for the Globe - why major shake-up will make Wirral more open, more transparent and more accountable
Wirral Council leader Phil Davies.

Wirral Waters is one of the most ambitious regeneration projects in the UK.

Developers Peel submitted the largest planning application in Britain for its proposed £4.5 billion scheme back in 2009.

In August of 2010 Wirral's planning committee unanimously gave the masterplan the go-ahead. 

The proposed development was so big it had to be scrutinised by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

It will see the creation of around 27,000 new jobs over the next 30 years, and the complete transformation of 500 acres of Birkenhead docklands.

The International Trade Centre is one of the scheme’s flagship developments but has been fraught with complications, with legalities having delayed progress.

Cllr Davies said: “It’s an incredibly complicated project. It’s a massive jigsaw they have got to put together in the sense that Peel and Sam Wa have been talking to hundreds of companies across China.

“No one has ever done anything like this before in terms of having a range of very different companies all in one Trade Centre.

“I think everybody knew always knew it was going to be a difficult deal to put together but I have spoken to Peel and I think they are confident in Sam Wa having got the financial muscle and Stella Shiu has the absolute determination and wants to make the Trade Centre happen.”

Work has already started on Wirral Met College’s new campus and on the Tower Wharf Scheme.

The Contact Company – Britain’s largest call centre operator – will be the first employer at Wirral Waters when its new offices are completed later this year.