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  • Writer's pictureMake It Happen Team

Dock Branch Project Tour

Nourish to Flourish: Dock Branch Tour

Where and when:

February 2nd 2023

Birkenhead Dock Branch

One of the things we are best known for at Make it Happen is our community engagement and the relationships we build with our community members, often through our community shop or our ‘Make it Happen Living Room’ community hub on Argyle Street. We are always listening and trying to find out how best to support people to achieve what they want most in their lives, be it finding a job or improving their mental health, learning new skills or building new social groups, and something we feel we do quite well in this regard is translating problems, solutions and general messages for people and organisations.

It is in this spirit that we have been getting very involved in the consultation process for the ambitious Dock Branch Park Project here in Birkenhead, part of the larger regeneration plans laid out in the Birkenhead 2040 Framework by the council. The aim of the project is to create a new neighbourhood with a park along the old and currently disused Dock Branch railway line which runs almost parallel to Argyle Street. With cultural and leisure opportunities coming with the project the intention is to bring over 1000 new homes, a new Transport Museum run by National Museums Liverpool, and a wealth of outdoor spaces for local people to enjoy!



So, the area up for redevelopment runs from the entrance close to the existing Birkenhead Transport Museum, all the way down to the Haymarket Tunnel at the other end. Amy and Anthony from Make it Happen went on a guided tour on the 2nd of February led by Cathy Palmer, the Head of Regeneration Delivery at Wirral Borough Council, and it was a fascinating opportunity to not only see a unique part of Birkenhead’s rich heritage but also hear the exciting plans for what it will become in the next few years.

One of the biggest new architectural developments will be the new Transport Museum by Brook Street Bridge. Taking some architectural nods from the copper on the Mersey Tunnel ventilation shaft, it will house a collection of vehicles both above and below street level. There’s going to be a ‘lid’ popped over the railway cutting at this point to create the floor of the museum at street level, and the ceiling of the underground space, which will create a wonderful cultural experience firmly embedded in the history of the area.

The outside space throughout the Dock Branch will be one of its best benefits to the area, with undulating footpaths and cycleways running along most of the 800m length of the park. There are plans to increase biodiversity along the way, with the hope that in the future parts of the park may become community led spaces with a variety of cultural and leisure activities and events. These park spaces will hopefully be making full use of the incredible 1800s brickwork, original Chester made ironwork and inverted archways to create a totally unique atmosphere and experience. The community aspect of the project is what is particularly important to us at Make it Happen, and we have been doing various pieces of work to help ensure that local voices are heard throughout the delivery process, and also engaged further through the concept of a Community Panel, which in future will act as a consultation and steering group. Our next big step for this is the production of our Dock Branch Tour video, which we will be showing around local businesses and making available to our community through Nourish to Flourish sessions over in our Place of Contribution.

As ever, our hope is to communicate what is happening now and give people the chance to engage with the future before it arrives! We’re excited to hear the plans for an outdoor performance space for Future Yard, and seeing the renovation of the Flat Iron building at the end of Argyle Street is just another sign of a hopeful future for our local area. Who knows what might emerge from the darkness of Haymarket Tunnel?! Several artists have been approached to come up with ideas, but if you fancy having a look at our video tour and sharing thoughts and ideas with us, please get in touch through our Facebook page, or by emailing seo@makeithappenbirkenhead.co.uk

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