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Wirral Met College’s horticulture students stepped in to support BCA Landscape, Parkinson Inc. and the Mersey Forest team with the final tree planting to help complete the finishing touches at the new Wirral Waters Campus.

The students studying horticulture were able to gain practical experience of how pollarded willow [Salix alba] trees should be planted. The timing for the tree planting was critical and had to take place during late Autumn, at the start of the new planting season. The benefits to the students will continue as the horticulture students will learn about the critical maintenance of the trees and shrubs around the campus over the coming months.

The tree planting is the final element of the landscaping of the new campus, which has been designed, detailed and delivered by BCA Landscape and Parkinson Inc in conjunction with developer Peel Land & Property and contractor Morgan Sindall. 

Andy Thomson, Director at BCA Landscape, said, “It is always important for us to help create unique places for people to use and enjoy that go beyond the functionality of access and parking. Here, students, visitors and staff at the new campus are able to enjoy their break times outdoors, reclining on the urban loungers amongst the maritime grasses. Beautiful views over the docks are framed by the iconic red steel picture frames, inspired by the nearby Dock structures. Bold colours and forms, robust materials, close attention to details and new blocks of trees transform a derelict dock edge into an iconic and memorable landscape in scale with the post-industrial waterside neighbourhood.”

Just two months into the new academic year, students and apprentices are hard at work in the workshops covering carpentry and joinery, painting design and decoration, brickwork and plastering, electrical installation and plumbing and gas. The first building to open at Wirral Waters, the new campus continues to offer a wide range of opportunities for students to gain practical skills and experience to prepare them for their future careers working across Wirral Waters, one half of the Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone.  The project has been funded collaboratively with the financial support of the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA), the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), Wirral Met and Peel Land & Property. 

Sue Higginson, Principal of Wirral Met College, said, “Planting the trees is the last stage of the completion in our new Wirral Waters Campus and I look forward to this being the first step to realising the broader vision of Wirral Waters and in particular watching our students develop and progress into jobs.”

Richard Mawdsley, Director of Development at Peel Land & Property, said, “The Wirral Waters ‘street tree’ project started in 2013 - with 1,500 trees now planted along the roads into and around the Docks - especially around Birkenhead North.  Wirral is known for its landscape and countryside – but that tends to be in the leafy west of the Borough.  The Wirral Waters street trees are a small step in helping to change perceptions of this part of Wirral.  Those being planted today at the new Wirral Met College campus have been donated by Mersey Forest and the Forestry Commission / BIS and form the final elements of the external design of this – the first building at Wirral Waters.”

Paul Nolan, Director at The Mersey Forest commented, “It is great to see the continued regeneration of Wirral Waters, with the trees on the campus and in the surrounding areas helping to transform the image and perception of the area and helping to set the scene for more investment. We hope that tree programme can be continued and are working hard with partners to find the money to do so.”
 

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