A PUBLIC art installation forming part of the Wirral Waters' dockside regeneration scheme was praised by a Government minister during a recent visit.

Situated on the side of the East Float Dock in Birkenhead ...and the River flows on is a series of six mural panels produced by members of the local community in Birkenhead in 2015/16, thanks to a grant from Arts Council England to Wirral Methodist Housing Association.

More 300 local people of all ages took part in the project which tells the story of the Birkenhead side of the Mersey from its earliest days, through 100 years of trading and dock work to future developments with the return of wild life to the river and a new and exciting environment where people will live and work in Wirral Waters.

The artwork's production team was praised by John Glen MP, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism and Frank Field MP, during a recent visit.

The artworks are a tribute to all participants and to the team of professional artists led by Robyn Woolston who gave local community groups the opportunity to regain confidence through creativity, rediscovering lost skills and learning new ones.

Cathy Warren, project facilitator said: "... and the River flows on was an exciting project from beginning to end.

"It was fantastic to see the engagement and commitment of artists, community members and local partners and the way in which it captured their imagination.

"We all take great pride in seeing the art works on permanent public display against the stunning backdrop of the Birkenhead docklands." 

Heralded as the country's biggest regeneration project, the Wirral Waters scheme was launched in 2010.

It was anticipated that around 27,000 new jobs will be created over the next 30 years along with the complete transformation of derelict land at East Float Docks.

The project has come in for criticism after appearing to have stalled, prompting calls for progress to be made.

But Peel confirmed in March that work has been going on behind the scenes in preparations for a range of projects including:

  • Development of Laird House office building.
  • Planning permission has also been given for housing projects.
  • Transformation of a disused Grade II, Victorian Hydraulic Tower on Tower Road into a centre for engineering skills.
  • A village hub for creative industries at Egerton Square.

Richard Mawdsley, director of development for Wirral Waters, said: "We have been delighted to help with the delivery of the …and the River flows on project.

"We were keen to give the panels an appropriate and fitting permanent home.

"More widely, there is a lot happening behind the scenes at Wirral Waters and we should be able to discuss more in coming months".

Pictured above are: Alun Hughes, chief executive, Wirral Methodist Housing Association; Rebecca Buxton, parliamentary researcher; Cathy Warren, community arts facilitator, Lawrence Holden, chair of Williamson and Priory Friends; Frank Field MP, John Glen MP, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism; Emily Mansell, DCMS; Richard Mawdsley, director of development for Wirral Waters and Claire Pillman, Director, DCMS