Ainsley Gommon Architects

Our Scheme is the winner in the category of Placemaking on Brownfield Land at the National Planning and Placemaking Awards. The scheme is a phased sustainable brownfield redevelopment of a derelict 30 acre industrial manufacturing site creating a diverse community for people to live, work and enjoy recreation.

The Prices Patent Candles factory was originally developed in 1853 and through innovative manufacturing brought cheap candle light to the masses. The site was located at the confluence of the River Dibbin, and the Mersey at Bromborough Pool to take advantage of the Liverpool docks. To support production, an additional 60 acres was used to create a purpose built village, housing the factory workers alongside their place of work, within a walled and gated community. This design influenced Levers Bros. and their Port Sunlight community. Bromborough Pool village is now a Conservation Area with much of the original housing listed.

Candle production ceased before WW2 and transferred to the processing of oleochemicals. Despite modernisation, the original clock tower office building and wharves remained. International Process Plants (IPP) acquired the site in 2010 after production had ceased, and the factory failed to sell as a going concern. The vacant factory, once the economic hub for the local community, had become a derelict eyesore and bad neighbour to the village where many of the former workforce lived.

The implemented master-plan prepared by Ainsley Gommon includes:

  • Creating a mixed use development to promote the diversity and regeneration of place, for people to live, work and enjoy their recreation.
  • Linking the previously enclosed site back into the surrounding area, reinstating it as a hub, revisiting the local community.
  • Dealing with the legacy of contamination from 160 years of industrial use.
  • Restoring and rerouting the course of the River Dibbin, creating an engineered solution to mitigate flood risk through a semi-natural tidal wetland wildlife habitat.
  • Reinstating an attractive waterfront, opening up access to the public for the first time in its history as a combined riverside walk and cycleway. Linking to Port Sunlight park and the adjacent scheduled ancient monument site.
  • Creating community amenity space with a pocket park, forming a setting for the new housing and the listed clock tower and linked to the riverside walkway.
  • Sensitively and sustainably expanding the original Victorian village, securing a viable future through new high quality housing that is respectful to the design and planning of its historic neighbour.
  • Creating separate access to the new employment park, as an extension of the existing Wirral International Business Park. Capitalising on its vicinity to the facilities of Mersey Wharf for import and export of goods.
  • Attracting new businesses to the site, such as Capital reinforcing, a specialist steel-fabrication company, that has relocated from Belfast to be close to their key markets.
  • Restoring and creatively re-using the grade 2 listed clock tower building as apartments.
  • Phasing development strategy to maintain viability of development.

Achievements to date include,

  • Hydrock have undertaken comprehensive remediation on the first phases of the site including; the river restoration and flood mitigation, with no material removed as waste or contaminants released to the environment.
  • Specialist process equipment ordinarily scrapped has been distributed for reuse around the region, Europe and the World. Safeguarding natural resources and jobs.
  • 11 acre residential phase is due to commence in winter 2015.
  • Conversion of the listed clock tower is underway.
  • New employment has already been created with more to follow.
  • Additional reclamation, infrastructure, and public open space is being undertaken in preparation for the next phases of development.

Ongoing works will see a mix of new residential and employment neighbourhoods, revitalising the former factory site with extensive landscaping, creating wildlife corridors encouraging natural diversity. This former brownfield land is now becoming an attractive place for people to live and work in urban Wirral.

For more information on the Masterplan please visit our project page here.
For more infomation on the conversion of the listed clock tower please visit our project page here.
For more information on the Riverside Walk please visit or project page here.
For more information on the first Commercial units please visit our project pages here and here.

Posted By
Rachel McHale
Tagged With
News Work Architecture