The New Town of Birkenhead aims to inject life back into the existing Birkenhead, whilst accommodating the predicted future population growth of Liverpool. Taking advantage of the townâ€™s geographical location in close proximity to the city of Liverpool, it provides the perfect opportunity for expansion. This expansion should accommodate the future population growth of Liverpool, as well as improve the quality of life of the current residents, creating a new Birkenhead that is a convenient and vibrant place to live. The creation of this new Birkenhead, founded on Garden City principles will re- introduce people into the town, aiming to more than double Birkenheadâ€™s population from 83k to 200,000. It will also strive to be a healthy, place to live, with the well- being of its inhabitants, both current and new at the core of the development.
Better utilization of the excellent transport links to Liverpool, along with the introducing of convenient pedestrian, vehicular and cycle routes throughout the town will mean that all necessary amenities will be within a 10 minute walking distance from the central hub of the town- the central park that welcomes one when entering the town from Birkenhead Central Station. Wellconnected and well landscaped, open/ green space will welcome and then guide commuters and residents into and through the Birkenhead of the future.
01 CONCEPT MANIFESTO 1 THE THREE MAGNETS 2 HOUSING ON THE WIRRAL 3 APPLYING THE CONCEPT 4 BIRKENHEAD VISION 5 02 ANALYSIS NOTABLE FEATURES 9 LAND USE 13 TRANSPORT NETWORK 17 03 DEVELOPMENT OVERLAYING HISTORY 21 TRANSPORT SPINE 23 EXPLORING THE GRID 25 KEY ROUTES 27
05 APPENDIX COST PLAN 53 SUSTAINABLILTY 55
04 DESIGN URBAN DESIGN STRATEGY 31 MASTERPLAN 35 ISOMETRIC VIEW 39 SITE SECTIONS 43 PRECEDENTS 48
REVITALISING THE GARDEN CITY CONCEPT
- Increase population of Birkenhead - Provide housing to accommodate Liverpool’s future expansion - Inject life back into Birkenhead - Improve utilization of existing transport links - Provide expansive green and well – landscaped open space - Improve health of community - Provide all necessary amenities within one area
- Maximize on site’s excellent heritage and views
...”it is better to graft a Garden City onto the strong root- stock of an existing city. -David Rudlin’s Uxcester Garden City
...”Town and country must be married, and out of this joyous union will spring a new hope, new life, a new civilization.” -Ebenezer Howards’s Garden Cities of To- morrow
BALANCE OF TOWN COUNTRY
Imaginatively and practically designed homes within a close proximity to open, green spaces, both private and public.
All necessary amenities, transport links and sports & leisure facilities close by.
ENHANCED NATURAL ENVIRONMENT
A belt of countryside surrounding town to prevent sprawl, in addition to included public and private open spaces.
EXCELLENT TRANSPORT LINKS
Established public transport links to City and Country along with convenient walking and cycling routes.
GENUINELY AFFORDABLE HOUSING
The homes in this new satelite town will be affordable for ordinary people, 50% of which will consist of social housing.
A robust range of employment opportunities within an easy commuting distance.
Public buildings included should be utilised to promote a strong sense of community which is engaging and inclusive. 1
HOUSING THE WIRRAL
APPLYING THE CONCEPT
319,837 407,787 88,951 177,900 Wirral Population
Group A The Elderly
When investigating the application of the garden city model to our own masterplan, it was clear that Birkenhead is situated in an ideal location to form a satellite town to Liverpool. It is proposed that this will become the first satellite town amongst four others within the Merseyside region. There was a clear case to grow a greenbelt that will surround Birkenhead over a gradual 15+ year period, staying true to the garden city model. 4
A GREENER BIRKENHEAD
PRESENT WIDER WIRRAL
THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTEXT
Analysis of historical maps identified a number of graving docks which existed previously and are more than likely still present buried beneath the site. Inculsion of these features formed a key driver in the development of the masterplan, in order to add richness and character to the site. 9
We began by primarily identifying any notable features in relation to the site. Careful consideration of the surrounding context was a key driver in producing a well rounded scheme.
HAMILTON SQUARE STATION
Empty Land Religious Education Green Space Industrial Government Residentail Transport Arts & Culture Tunnel Ventilation Shaft Commerical Water Treatment Plant
Sport & Leisure
A land use study paired with various site visits provided a clear image of gaps within the site. It also identified deficiencies within the area which informed the need for various programmes which the proposal must address. Therefore the prposal is aimed to remedy the lack of primarily residential, retail and cultural buildings. 13
The existing transportation infrastructure within the site provided a challenge to the north of the site. The bus station in its current location near the ferry terminal acted as an obstacle to pedestrians. Therefore the proposal relocates the bus station in order to create a clear, linear public transport link between the ferry, bus and train station. To the south of the site, the heavy vehicular road network and toll booths created a divide. The introduction of a smart tunnel with ANPR renders the booths redundant and allows for the reconfiguration of the roadways. This also provided the opportunity for the introduction of a new urban park. 17
High Density Vehicle Route Low Density Vehicle Route Train Route 18
REINVENTING THE SITE
It was established and agreed from the very outset that investigating the sites history was a key aspect to include within the design development. When looking through various years of the historical maps, it became apparent that the old graving docks were still present beneath the current site. It was decided therefore to reinstate and reinvent these historical features back, thus playing homage to the history and heritage of the site. 21
Integrating the current transport network with the new proposal in order to create a new and efficient transportation spine was an important move in anchoring the northern end of the site. The current Hamilton Square train station, bus stops and ferry terminal were all identified as areas that would either be redeveloped and renovated or relocated. Public transport forms an important part of the Garden City model. In order to ensure the efficiency of a garden city, transport nodes must be located within 1015 minutes of the City Centre. (Liverpool)
The proposed location and configuration of the transport spine creates a linear pedestrian link between the three modes of transport. The central urban square that ties the three together also forms a meeting point and allows people to permeate into the new development with ease.
EXPLORING THE GRID
Upon investigating the historical maps a clear grid was identified up until the area surrounding Hamilton Square and continues west towards Birkenhead Park. However the grid dissipates towards the terraced housing west of the proposed site. In respect to the existing grid, a new grid was formed, almost as a continuation of the existing but at a tangent in order to better address the waters edge and Liverpool. The new grid also worked with the existing road network and reinstated graving docks.
The formation of the new grid provided a defined area and orientation to begin placing new development and infrastructure.
Key routes needed to be established in order to connect the transport spine, the new grid and graving docks. A major route spanning from north to south of the site does not only provide a physical connection, but also a visual one. Reinforced by a green corridor the route forms an artery through the site, supported by two other routes that run parallel on either side.
Connections from east to west are also made in order to allow the site become more permeable and draw footfall down to the waterfront where you would be greeted with a visual link to Liverpool, emphasising the close proximity to the city.
CREATING A GARDEN TOWN
URBAN DESIGN STRATEGY
The vision is to grow Birkenhead, an existing town, by exploiting itâ€™s connection to a nearby, larger, successful city, Liverpool. Birkenhead will develop into an urban extension to accommodate a fraction of Liverpoolâ€™s growing population.
A large urban park anchors the site within the Wirral, and leads to the adjacent new development along the waterfront. The masterplan for the new Garden Town features a continuation of a green, landscaped theme, keeping with Garden City model. The proposal provides a vibrant, enjoyable and healthier neighbourhood for its inhabitants and visitors.
REVITALISING THE GRAVING DOCKS
To the north of the proposal, as shown in the illustration, one of the graving docks has been developed into a public park, providing an alternate, more intimate outdoor space for residents and locals to enjoy. 33
The reinstating of the graving docks provide the site with context and a historical reference. Eight graving docks have been reintroduced across the site. Each one has been utilised and developed with various different programmes.
The masterplan aims to address the waterfront location by creating open public spaces that surround the proposed buildings. The reinstated graving docks provide a range of varied spaces, some of which are habitable and others are designed as water features. The northern end of the masterplan features a transport spine, which then filters down through the site with a mix of residential, commercial office, and retail spaces that truly create an integrated place to live. The southern end of the site features the Birkenhead Priory, a landmark within the site, which is reinforced with a varied range of cultural and public buildings.
The existing terraced housing stock is retained and refurbished to create a varied range of housing, scale and to retain some of the area in order to avoid creating an alien new town.
REINSTATING THE HISTORICAL DOCKS
The landscaped frontages of the buildings surrounding the docks feature consist of cafĂŠs, restaurants and social enterprises with residential units above. 37
Reinstating the forgotten graving docks was a key driver within the scheme. In contrast to the previous graving dock, the dock illustrated above has been redeveloped into a water feature. The aim was to provide a space for residents and visitors to utilise and enjoy.
The slipway is another feature within the site that has been there for almost as long as the Priory. It is an underused and forgotten feature within the site. It is the ideal location to create a new public square with great visual connections to Liverpool. 41
SECTION C-C 43
By doing so, a connection from the north to the south of the development with a clear visual link would be established. From this, shared surfaces would provide a connection to the waterfront allowing the public to have a view towards Liverpool. 45
It was decided from the start of the design process that a new green corridor would be introduced in to the development.
Uxcester Garden City
Thames Barrier Park - London
Accordia - Cambridge
The waterfront was one of the key influencing features within the area. The views across the river to Liverpoolâ€™s skyline needed to be captured and exploited where possible. A waterfront promenade was proposed in order to provide a pleasant pedestrian and cycle route for people to take whist having something to engage with visually. 49
COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS
TOTAL AREA 10% (m2)
Residential Cultural / Public
150 TOTAL INCOME
CONSTRUCTION COSTS USE
AREA (m2) 105578.19 20418.40 312141.28 29559.91 283681.44 2983.39
Residential Retail Landscaping Cultural / Public Demolition Ferry Terminal
COST (m2) 1400 1200 1800 2900 1100 3000 TOTAL COST OF PROPOSAL
COST OF CONSTRUCTION (£) 147,809,466 24,502,080 561,854,304 85,723,739 312,049,584 8,950,170 1,140,889,343
ANCILLARY COSTS Professional Fees @ 3% Infrastructure @ 6 % Contingency @ 3% Short term finance @ 10% over 3 years
= £34,226,680 = £68,453,361 = £34,226,680 = £831,708,331
LETTING FEES & SALES Letting Fees @ 16% of Income Advertising & Marketing Sale to Investor @ 2% of Sale TOTAL EXPECTED COST ON COMPLETION
= £6,674,160 = £180,000 = £11,918,130.36 = £2,128,276,685
The urban strategy adopted within this project of growing an existing town as a means of dealing with Liverpool’s future population growth, will undoubtedly create social, economic and environmental outcomes which would have not occurred in Birkenhead otherwise.
to use, as well as providing ample open space for the current community, new residents and vistors to the area to utilize. Such a large, and drastic scheme needs this landscaping in order to reflect its ambition for the overhauling of this area of Birkenhead.
Birkenhead is underpopulated, has excellent transport links to Liverpool and thus the opportunity raises to re- inject population into the town, all whilst giving opportunities for its existing population to benefit.
Secondly, the park itself could be upkept by volunteers. Volunteering is a tool strongly recommended by health professionals as a means of avoiding and overcoming depression when unemployed. It is aimed that this scheme include facilities which “support volunteering, which is beneficial for health and wellbeing” and can reduce social isolation, exclusion and loneliness.1 One report claims that “supporting volunteering helps build social capital. Health volunteering projects have shown returns of £4 to £10 for each £1 invested.”2 Investing in such an ameinty should therefore benefit the existing population of the Wirral in providing a space in which they can improve their physical health, as well as offering opportunities to increase community participation and volunteering with various projects.
Current Situatuion: - Birkenhead is currently one of the most deprived areas in the UK. - High levels of unemployment. - High level of depression and anxiety suffering, directly. linked to unemployment in some cases. - Low quality housing, and lack of housing as it stands. - Lack of local amenities. Actions required: - Maximize housing provision in the area. - Create an attractive, healthy, convenient place to live for those who work in Liverpool and beyond. - Construction of the houses, along with the providing of all necessary amenities will bring jobs and thus decrease unemplyment in the area. - Attract investors by selling the site in terms of improved views over Mersey to Liverpool, provision of public spaces and parks, existing transport links via train, improved toll system vehicular link, re- surfacing of important heriatage, improved connection to historical landmarks such as the Priory and Hamilton Square, and good quality housing. - Including the current community through providing amenties for their benefit. - Provde new jobs, opportunities to volunteer, and enjoyable outdoor spaces which should all in turn improve the general health of the residents. Landscaping Costs:
SITE VALUE Total Construction Cost - Capital Value Site Value in 2.5 years time Present Value of £ in 2.5 years @ 10 % Site Value Today
= £1,532,370,167 = £3,830,925,418 = 0.7888 = £1,494,060,913
1. The Kings Fund - Volunteering in health and care - http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/sites/files/kf/field/field_publication_file/volunteering-in-health-and-social-care-kingsfundmar13.pdf 2. Annual Report of the Director of Public Health Wirral, 2014 - Improving the Public’s Health in Wirral - http://info.wirral.nhs.uk/document_uploads/Annually-Produced-Reports/ DISTRIBUTED%20FINAL%20PHAR%202014.pdf
Although the landscpaing costs, (this including for the large central park, and dry dock landscaping), seem high in comparison to other construction costs, there is long term social benefit as well as future financial benefit to its inclusion. Firstly, general landscaping of the site enhances the scheme, as well as increasing the value of the housing proposed, through providing both private and public spaces for the residents of the newly- built housing
Phase two of the development of this park would see the edge of the park being developed. This would offer the opportunity for the investors to make a return on their investment in the park through the construction of high quality, villa- type housing, along with high risers with views over the Mersey and further Georgian type units as proposed to the southern side of the park currently. Residential, Retail & Cultural : As the population of Liverpool grows, more homes will be required. Birkenhead offers the perfect location for an urban extension of the city to develop. Through providing housing which emulates the style of the existing terraced houses, (to the south of the current terraces), the existing Georgian terraces of Hamilton square (south of the park), as well as more modern three- four storey housing of higher value overlooking the Mersey, a mixture of housing is provided, which not only caters for the mixed tenure already seen in the Birkenhead area, but also caters for various sectors of the housing market, thus attracting a wider clientele of potential buyers/ investors. The proportion of retail units included within the development allows for the creation of jobs in the area, provides the rising population with their ameinities, all whilst not aiming to compete with The Pyramid Shopping Centre, nor L1.
SUSTAINABILITY As the designers of Birkenhead Garden Town, it is important to rise to the environmental challenge that we face. The strategy proposed is a sensible response to the standards that all new housing will need to achieve during the lifetime of the Garden Town. The 2008 Climate Change Act requires that we should be achieving an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by the time the Birkenhead Garden Town is complete (in 2050, compared to a 1996 base). This is not something that we can put off until future phases, it needs to be embedded in the plan from the outset. Indeed given the difficulty of achieving an 80% CO2 reduction in Birkenhead’s existing housing stock it could be argued that the Garden Town extensions should be aiming to be carbon neutral from the outset. Utilising Urbed’s Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood Network (SUNN)1 initiative as precedent we have identified two possible approaches to sustainability:
different neighbourhoods, the communal systems in the neighbourhood centres, the home-based systems in the lower density suburbs. The high densities that we have proposed within our masterplan would not lend itself well to the Housebased approach. It would be much more viable to pursue a wider neighbourhood based sustainability and power strategy given the nature of the housing typology and ownership.
House-based: An alternative approach focuses on the design of the home. It includes super insulation and air tightness together with passive design and roof mounted photovoltaics to meet the energy needs of the home. Indeed it is possible to create homes that produce more energy than they use, and storage technologies are increasingly making it possible to meet electrical requirements and car charging loads in this way. A choice needs to be made between these approaches because the home-based approach reduces the household energy requirement to the point where neighbourhood systems become unviable. However there is the potential to pursue different solutions in 55
Proposed CHP plant location
Ideally there would be a programme to retrofit Birkenhead’s existing terraced housing stock alongside the new development. This could happen through a programme based on the Community Green Deal5 which would allow work to be done collectively, coordinated by the Garden Town Foundation and funded through the reduction in utility bills.
Neighbourhood based: Much of their work on the Sustainable Urban Neighbourhoods is based upon the notion that sustainability systems can most economically be provided at the neighbourhood scale. These include energy and heating systems through Combined Heat and Power (CHP), district heating and renewable energy. They also include water treatment systems through reed beds and ‘bioworks’, neighbourhood waste collection, food growing and car share schemes. In each case there is an opportunity for community-controlled provision generating jobs and savings for local people. It does mean that the infrastructure budget needs to include the kit to support these systems including heat pipe networks, waste collection systems, vehicle charging points etc...
Indeed on a development over this time period it is not sensible to be specific about the technologies to be employed. In the next thirty years there will be huge changes in sustainability technology and the costs of different solutions. What is needed is a clear set of minimum standards that everyone understands and can factor into their business planning. The table onthe following page sets out a possible list of targets covering energy, materials, waste water and green infrastructure. Over the last few years Urbed have worked for both igloo and Grosvenor on calibrating environmental standards for new development.3 The standards suggested in the table are slightly less than the levels being achieved in the best European schemes, like the urban extensions in Freiburg.4 The carbon emissions, for example are the equivalent the UK’s current Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5.
The sustainability standards set out in the table would be incorporated into a Garden Town Sustainability Charter. This would be enshrined in the ground leases on the land that sets these targets in perpetuity. This needs to be managed and monitored by the Garden Town Corporation who would assess the performance of new housing proposals, undertake survey work to assess issues such as car use and recycling, and undertake post occupancy work to ensure that targets are being met. The Sustainability Charter needs to be managed in this way if it is to have long-term influence on the way that the Garden Town is built.
Combustion Turbine with Heat Recovery Steam Generator
Sustainable lakeside housing in Ecolonia, Alphen aan den Rijn2
Despite being commissioned as long ago as 1989, Ecolonia remains a model for the kind of sustainable urban extension that we propose for Birkenhead. Commissioned by the Dutch National Environmental Agency in Alphen aan den Rijn to gain experience of ecological town planning, the scheme is designed to test different approaches. These include: rainwater utilisation; passive and active solar energy; energy saving; reduction of water consumption; use of durable materials and healthy living.
University of Liverpool CHP plant. 1. Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood – http://urbed.coop/projects/sustainable-urban-neighbourhood-network-sunn 2. Ecolonia – http://urbed.coop/sites/default/files/Looking%20and%20learning%20from%20dutch%20experience.pdf 3. igloo – footprint policy and guidance notes – developed by URBED http://www.igloo.uk.net/sites/default/files/documents/footprint-policy.pdf The Grosvenor document for Barton Park is unpublished. 4. Freilburg Model – http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/011173.html http://www.livablecities.org/articles/freiburg-city-vision 5. See URBED’s work with the Carbon Coop – http://carbon.coop/ content/whole-house-retrofit-community-green-deal
BIRKENHEAD ENVIRONMENTAL TARGETS
ENERGY Passive Design
Neighbourhoods designed according to bioclimatic parameters (shelter from cold, wind, sun, daylight etc).
Low carbon energy supply
50% of energy demand from renewables or low carbon energy.
11kgCO2/m2 for mid terraced homes, 14kgCO2/m2 for apartments, 46kgCO2/m2 for retail, 184kgCO2/m2 for small food retail, 38kgCO2/m2 for office. Apartments + Mid Terrace: <39KWh/m2/year, End terrace: <46kWh/ m2/year, Retail: <185KWh/m2/year, Small food retail: <480KWh/m2/ year, Office: <133KWh/m2/year.
Energy Fabric Efficiency
All buildings to provide real-time metering.
MATERIALS Specification System
BRE certification and LCA of materials.
All natural materials fully certified - e.g. FSC/PEFC. Local materials preferred. No demolition materials removed from site, 10% reclaimed materials, use of recyclable materials.
Reuse and recycle WASTE Site waste
Residential <9 m3 per 100m2.
Provision of individual and communal recycling facilities integrated into masterplan.
Dedicated composting space in each dwelling.
WATER Efficient water use Recycling and Harvesting SUDS
Domestic: < 80 l/p/day, Non-Domestic: 50% improvement over EA best practice benchmark for building type. Rainwater harvesting across the site, at individual household or communal levels. Scheme designed for water attenuation with green roofs, permeable surfacing and a fully integrated SUDs system.
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE Biodiversity
Ecological enhancement and protection of ecological features.
Every home to be 300m from an accessible natural greenpace and within 1km of a 50HA greenspace. Air quality impacts fully considered and mitigated as part of overall masterplan and green infrastructure strategy. Fully developed food growing strategy across site, with resources set aside for managing this.
Air quality Food growing
Birkenhead - The New Garden Town: Gethin Owen Hughes Omar Shariff Rhiannon Morgan 58