NEW Ferry's regeneration is among the priorities of a 10-year partnership deal which aims to boost economic growth in the borough.

Council bosses today approved the creation of Wirral Growth Company – a joint venture with preferred development partner Muse Developments.

Billed as the country’s biggest public-sector led regeneration scheme, the project aims to build new homes, commercial, retail and leisure developments, bring thousands of new jobs to the borough, boost property values and attract further investment.

Once Muse Developments has been approved as the scheme's preferred partner, public consultation will begin on how to redevelop sites across the borough – including Bebington, Birkenhead, Bromborough, Moreton and Seacombe, with work due to start later in 2018.

A key element of the partnership is 'Hire Local, Buy Local' – a com- mitment to hire Wirral workers, buy supplies from and contract with local firms, train local workers and meet the highest environmental, health and safety standards.

Launching the Growth Company, council leader, Cllr Phil Davies said: "We said we would create thousands of new jobs, attract £100s of millions in investment, provide good quality housing and protect and improve Wirral's attractive local environment.

"Through Wirral Growth Company we will deliver as promised on our pledges".

The council is also keen to see regeneration take place in New Ferry following the gas explosion that rocked the town in March last year.

Cllr Davies said: "Sadly, nearly a year later, Wirral Council is still awaiting the government's response to our request for the funding promised by Ministers during their visits after the incident.

"While the council doesn't own the land affected by the explosion, I want to see Wirral Growth Company contribute to the planning and regeneration efforts required for that community too.

"The terrible way the government has turned its back on New Ferry is just another indication that if we want to see real change occur in our communities, we will have to take action ourselves.

"Wirral Growth Company is just such an intervention.

"It will give us the ability to move quickly and deliver real improve- ments to Wirral by generating jobs, new training opportunities and in- vesting in our communities in a way this government never will".

The joint venture partnership is also being heralded as a new way for local authorities to drive economic growth.

Dean Ward, chief technical officer of Bromborough-based Evoke Creative whose clients include Google, Tesco and McDonald's, described Wirral Growth Company as "fantastic news for the region – and for the UK as a whole".

He added: "We are passionate about great design and the images of Birkenhead Market and the new town centre are really exciting.

"We're looking forward to seeing the project develop."

Paula Basnett, chief executive of Wirral Chamber of Commerce, described the launch as 'a significant step forward for the economic future of Wirral'.

She added: "In working together this partnership can drive initiatives benefitting Wirral's businesses, traders and residents."

Cllr Davies said: "With the deal we are proposing, we will have full involvement in every development decision, we will benefit from the economic growth any regeneration creates.

"As a 50-50 joint venture, we will benefit from the profits the development delivers – money the council can reinvest in front line servic- es our residents rely on."

The partnership was endorsed by Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, who said: "Wirral is an important part of the City Region and I welcome an initiative that will help to help realise the potential of its assets to deliver important regeneration priorities, creating jobs and opportunities for local people".

Cllr Bernie Mooney, deputy leader of Wirral Council said: "This is a step change in how Wirral is approaching regeneration, economic development, and creating jobs for local residents. 

"Rather than selling land or buildings to speculators and developers, we are keeping ownership and control of our assets and, with the skills and investment of our development partner, using them to regenerate neighbourhoods and communities across Wirral."

Sue Higginson, principal of Wirral Metropolitan College said: "Wirral Met College plays a huge role in preparing Wirral's young people for their chosen careers, providing education and training to help them succeed.

"It is good to see Wirral Council’s commitment to boosting the local economy, emphasising the importance of employing local workers."