The iconic 19th century Grade 2 listed Hydraulic Tower building, a copy of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, had been left unused for decades at the Four Bridges but is set to become a world class centre of excellence for the maritime sector.
Chair of the committee, Cllr Anita Leech, said: “The Maritime Knowledge Hub is an incredibly exciting element of the renaissance of the dockland areas. This is a landmark building which has sadly been left to fall into disrepair and the only way to make this scheme viable is if the council steps in and uses grants and other funding available for a major capital project such as this.
“These plans will see a remarkable building brought back into use, creating a world class facility and hundreds of new jobs.”
Richard Mawdsley, director of development at Peel L&P’s Wirral Waters, said: “Securing this funding agreement is a significant milestone in the development of the £23m Maritime Knowledge Hub at Wirral Waters. This transformational project will protect and celebrate the area’s maritime heritage, restore the iconic Grade two-listed Hydraulic Tower and Engine House and promote decarbonisation within the maritime industry.
“The Maritime Knowledge Hub will be a national base for marine engineering research and development and survival training as well as providing business accelerator space for the maritime sector. It presents a fantastic opportunity for job creation and economic growth across the Liverpool City Region and beyond. There is still lots of work do for all the partners involved in this project but we hope to be onsite later this year.”
Chris Shirling-Rooke, CEO of Mersey Maritime, said: “Mersey Maritime and its members have backed the Maritime Knowledge Hub project from the outset. We know that delivery of it is absolutely integral to the future of both our industry and the regeneration of this important site at Wirral Waters. Securing the funding agreement is a significant point as we drive the project forward which very much feels like it is gathering the moment and further strategic backing that it requires. Innovation, new technology and decarbonisation are big themes in the maritime industry at the moment and they have the potential to deliver highly skilled jobs, economic growth and prosperity for our area in the years ahead. The Maritime Knowledge Hub will be central to our delivery of that agenda and this news moves us even further on to realising that exciting vision.”