COUNCIL leader Phil Davies has been appointed to Arts Council England.

His place on the organisation's North area council follows a visit to Wirral by its chief Darren Henley, who described the borough as a 'creative hub for the entire region'.

While here, Mr Henley was told about Imagine Wirral – a year-long programme of culture and leisure events which has already seen the Tall Ships on the Mersey, the spectacular 'Illuminos' event at Birkenhead Town Hall, and will soon see the Giants make their first appearance in the borough.

Cllr Davies believes working with organisations like the Arts Council can only be good for Wirral.

He said: "We believe we have created something quite special through our Imagine Wirral programme.

"More than 100,000 people enjoyed the spectacular Tall Ships event and over 2,000 have visited the photography exhibition in New Brighton in its opening week.

"I also talk to residents every day who are incredibly excited to see the Giants on our side of the water for the first time.

"It's a truly fantastic series of events and I am glad Darren Henley and the Arts Council England has been to see for themselves what is going on in our borough.

"Darren is quite right – Wirral is a creative hub for our entire region.

"It's a place with huge opportunities and it is heartening to see us taking advantage of them."

The Arts Council Area and National Councils ensure the Arts Council invests public money effectively and play a crucial role in local and national decision-making.

The North Area Council includes people with long experience of working professionally in the arts across the whole of the North.

After his visit Darren Henley said: "As I stood in Birkenhead looking across the River Mersey to Liverpool's impressive skyline with its stunning mix of old and new architecture, I was reminded of a recent visit to New York.

"Just as the Wirral look across the water towards Liverpool, so Brooklyn stares out across the East River towards Manhattan.

"The latter has traditionally been thought of as being the glitzier of the two areas, with its towering skyscrapers dominating the landscape and looking down on the other less successful parts of the city.

"But for me, it's Brooklyn, on the other side of the river, where one of New York's more exciting stories has unfolded over recent years.

"Following a sustained and well thought out programme of investment, it's now a hotbed of creativity, with artists, designers and techies making this formerly rundown neighbourhood an exciting and vibrant place to live and work.

"Derelict buildings have been brought back to life.

"They're now thriving creative communities, home to a network of makers who imagine, invent and build everything from traditional craft products to high end computer software.

"As I stood in Birkenhead, it struck me that Brooklyn is a model for the Wirral.

"I was excited to hear that Wirral Council is absolutely committed to placing the arts and culture at the centre of their plans for the area's future.

"You already have some wonderful assets here, whether they are architectural gems such as Hamilton Square in Birkenhead or Birkenhead Park's lovely open space, which is every bit as good as New York's own Central Park.

"It's an exciting time for the Wirral with a world of possibility opening up here.

"At Arts Council England, we're looking forward to working with you as you imagine the Wirral of the 21st century and then make it a reality.

"Together, we have a chance to create England's answer to Brooklyn – but even better."