A Tour of Dock Branch Park
After the blog post written by Kassy Price outlining her thoughts on the designs for Dock Branch Park in Birkenhead, four members of the Liverpool GroundsWell team visited the park site on 2nd February 2023. The tour was organised by Wirral Council.
With the vision of Dock Branch Park being “a place where people, heritage, and nature intersect, connect and thrive”, this aligns perfectly with the aims of our research at GroundsWell. Within GroundsWell, we aim to explore how the introduction of Dock Branch Park as a new public green space influences health and well-being of local communities. We are currently planning a baseline survey to collect data on use of green spaces by local residents, as well as demographic data (such as age, health, socio-economic position, education etc.) in order to compare these data with those collected following the park’s completion. However, whilst planning the research to be completed, we thought it important to visit the site in-person and get a feel for how Dock Branch Park will be once completed.
The tour started from the Wirral Transport Museum with high-vis jackets, hard hats, and an introduction to the park. Consultation on the plans for Dock Branch Park is currently underway, with the first plans due to be released at the end of February 2023. We were informed that the construction is due to begin in 2024, with the South side of the park (which we visited) being completed by 2026 and the North side due to complete by 2028.
The entrance to Dock Branch Park
Upon entering the site, it is easy to imagine how the new park will look with trees already lining the abandoned railway track which is also bordered by beautiful archways - you can imagine cyclists, dog walkers, families, and people out for fresh air strolling along the linear parkway. Despite the amount of fly tipping and litter, which will be first on the to-do list when construction starts, it is a beautiful stretch of open space just below street level.
The plans being developed include installation of a combination of ramps and stairways to ensure accessibility for all, as well as street-level entrances throughout the park. There are already plans for a community hub, run by Future Yard, to be built within the central section of the park, which will be great for bringing the local community together. Cathy also informed us of other aspects of the regeneration being planned along the park site, with hundreds (and eventually thousands) of new houses planned to be built on brownfield sites close to the park.
The archways and evidence of the old railway line
It was interesting to be able to tour the site of Dock Branch Park as it is now, prior to construction starting, and imagine the plans for the site coming to life. It will be even more rewarding to visit the park as it develops and once the South side has been completed in the next three years.
To find out more about Dock Branch Park and the ongoing plans, visit: https://www.wirral.gov.uk/parking-roads-and-travel/major-projects/dock-branch-park-green-corridor
Hannah Burnett, LiverpoolView Profile