Peel Holdings, the owner of Mersey Docks & Harbour Company and Liverpool John Lennon Airport, today unveiled plans for the largest scheme in the UK.

The £4.5bn waterside scheme would, said Peel ‘see the transformation of Birkenhead Docks with Wirral becoming an international waterside destination rivalling cities such as Sydney, New York and Shanghai’.

The 18m sq ft (1.67m sq m) scheme, named Wirral Waters, will see more than 500 acres (202 ha) of brownfield, underused land redeveloped.

It will include a 571,000 sq ft (53,050 sq m) retail and leisure area at Bidston Moss - ‘The first of its type in the UK to feature classical architecture, bringing a more pleasant feel than traditional retail parks,’ said Peel. Bidston Moss will also see a hotel, foodstore, health and fitness facility and homestore will be built, along with shops, bars and restaurants.

There will be more than 11m sq ft (1.02m sq m) of apartments, providing around 15,000 units, 5m sq ft (464,500 sq m) of office space and 600,000 sq ft (55,740 sq m) of waterside shops and leisure space.

An outline planning application will be submitted next year. Lindsey Ashworth, development director of Peel said: ‘The total development will be phased over a period of approximately 30 years such is the enormity of this proposal’.