THESE are the exciting plans to create Merseyside's next "Lark Lane" – which have finally come to fruition this week.

The Victoria Quarter regeneration project plans to promote and develop New Brighton's independent businesses – and has secured various empty properties already.

It will soon mean quirky new bars, restaurants and shops will open on and around Victoria Road in New Brighton in a bid to create a new type of high street, and cultural hub "similar in feel to Liverpool's Lark Lane".

Rockpoint Leisure, the group behind the scheme, said Friday signalled the "start" of these plans, with the launch of brand new fashion concept store Rockpoint Apparel.

The group, led by local businessman Daniel Davies, said the shop will see retail trends reversed – by taking online brands and giving them a shop from which to operate.

Mr Davies said: "The UK's High Streets are in a shocking condition.

"Stores are closing daily and the offer is now a bland carbon copy from town to town, right across the country.

"The backbone of the work we are doing in the Victoria Quarter is about embracing and amplifying New Brighton's independent offer."

Rockpoint Apparel opened on Friday, and features ladies and menswear, luxury footwear and accessories, by brands who are already successful online.

They include the Doll Club Couture, who have more than 18,000 Instagram followers and design made-to-measure club and evening wear, Bearded G, who design smart street-wear and menswear, and Request Exclusives, who specialise in limited-edition street-wear and footwear.

Mr Davies added: "Rockpoint Apparel is also reversing retail trends by taking online brands and giving them their first bricks and mortar retail store, and I'm delighted to be able to give support to our brands and the hard-working guys who run them."

Describing his vision behind the plans, Mr Davies said: "As a long-standing resident of New Brighton, I have grown increasingly frustrated in seeing the decline of the area on many levels, from boarded-up shops, vandalism and littering, to low-level crime and even the growing isolation of parts of our community.

"I've wanted to do something about these issues for a while, and recently I found myself in a position where I realised I could make some tangible changes.

"Our vision was born out of my personal passion for the town, its history and for the future of the people who live, work and visit.

"It focuses on embracing and amplifying the neighbourhood's existing proposition as being home to a variety of small but proudly independent businesses."

He said under the Victoria Quarter brand, he is "confident" the area will act as a "viable alternative" to New Brighton's mainstream offer – the shops and restaurants including Morrisons, Burger King and Marine Street Social – based around Marine Point.

He said the aim was to attract more footfall from visitors across Wirral, Liverpool and further afield.

He added: "Rockpoint's regeneration proposal includes the commercial revitalisation of the area, public realm improvements and the introduction of a seasonal calendar of animation and large-scale events.

"We have already purchased a number of buildings on and around Victoria Road and are working on a variety of unique concepts."

It comes after an action plan drawn up for the road by Wirral council said it was a "small centre with a limited retail offer".

But now more and more properties will be developed or re-purposed, with a mix of uses.

Mr Davies added: "We've signed up a number of independent retailers over the past two months and are currently in discussions with many more who who recognise the potential of making their home in the Victoria Quarter.

"On a street level we've introduced new planters over the past month and have further plans to green the neighbourhood, as well include street art and installations.

"You'll begin to see improvements in the area's street furniture too, with new bins and some existing public benches have had a spruce up by the neighbourhood's kids – who we see as the Quarter's caretakers of tomorrow.

"We're also working on introducing more CCTV to combat anti-social behaviour and improve security in the Quarter.

"Whilst the project is privately financed, involvement by the local community is key to our success and we will be holding workshops to get feedback and further views of residents and explain our regeneration plans at this early stage."