A brand New Brighton- how one company is driving change in a costal town
If you’ve paid a visit to the Wirral town of New Brighton recently you won’t fail to have noticed that a not-so quiet revolution is stirring.
Set back from the main drag of the seafront is the Victoria Quarter, a network of picturesque period roads bordering Victoria Road, the town’s original High Street.
From last October, giant pieces of street art have begun to appear in the vicinity, commissioned by local company Rockpoint Leisure, marking the start of their plans to help regenerate the road and the wider area.
The company, which has been set up by local businessman Daniel Davies is aiming to breathe new life into the neighbourhood, and establish it as a new cultural heart for the town, championing its diverse independent credentials.
Rockpoint’s regeneration strategy includes the commercial revitalisation of the Quarter, public realm improvements and the introduction of a seasonal calendar of animation and events to attract visitors to the area.
The company have already purchased a number of empty and derelict buildings around Victoria Road and are working on a variety of unique concepts which will benefit locals, as well as generating footfall from visitors from the wider Wirral, from Liverpool and further afield.
The building at the centre of Victoria Road which features the brown bear mural will become ‘Oakland’ – a Californian-inspired bar and restaurant with live music and events at its heart and is due to open late Summer. Music will also be the primary offer at the old Tallulah’s / The Corner site, which is set to become ‘Rockpoint Records’ – a vinyl record store, ticket office and bar.
Rockpoint Apparel on the corner of Victoria and Rowson Streets is the company’s retail offer and has been trading since December last year, bringing together four established online brands, in their own bricks and mortar store.
Reversing the trend in UK retail by giving online fashion brands a High Street presence, the business owners located in the former bank building are reporting strong sales and considerable interest from shoppers seeking out limited-edition lines and cool independent labels.
The Doll Club Couture have more than eighteen thousand Instagram followers and design unique made-to-measure club and evening wear, plus hand-embellished and hand-finished casual ranges. Bearded G design smart streetwear and menswear, and include t-shirts, and caps, hoodies, outerwear and gymwear across two signature collections.
Request Exclusives specialise in limited-edition streetwear and footwear, by brands including Nike, Adidas, Supreme and Palace, whilst Luxe carry ranges by international designers including Versace, DSquared, Givenchy and Valentino.
Joining the store are two exciting hospitality concepts which open this month.
The first of
these, Habibi, is a confluence of cultures, where eastern eats meet western
beats, spanning from Brooklyn to Beirut. This constant play of influences shape
the venue’s offer,
where urban graffiti mixes with traditional Arabic calligraphy, handmade tiles
with rough-hewn concrete – all set against a soundtrack of global Hip Hop
Food comes from
the Middle East and North Africa; with deconstructed kebabs grilled over
charcoal, served with home-made flatbreads, and indulgent Meze platters to share.
Traditional cocktails are delicately scented with Rose, Tangerine and Pomegranate – intelligently designed, which sit alongside intriguing limited-edition canned beers, premium draught lines, as well as specially selected wines and fizz.
Set on the road’s ‘town square’ across the way from Habibi stands The James Atherton pub.
Formerly known as The Railway, the site has been completely redeveloped as a ‘modern British tavern,’ and the name change is a celebration of the resort’s founder and a nod to those grassroots workers and Northern day trippers who came to New Brighton during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Simple, traditional, warm and welcoming, Rockpoint have worked alongside Punch Taverns group, to create the ‘J.A.’ which is redolent of an age where there was a pub on every corner, and which offers great ales and craft beers as well as guest lines, in an environment devoid of pretension.
Designed to appeal to both the local community, tourists and visitors the town, The James Atherton is also home to a permanent collection of photographs of New Brighton, from the archive of Digital Heritage Specialist Richard Jackson, a Wallasey resident since birth, whom Rockpoint have worked with, to promote the historical aspect of the town.
We discussed the development strategy with CEO of Rockpoint Leisure, Daniel Davies who also gave us some background to the project:
“As a long-standing resident of New Brighton, I have grown increasingly frustrated in seeing the decline of this part of town – from boarded-up shops, vandalism and littering, to low-level crime and even the growing isolation of parts of our community.
I’ve wanted to do something about these issues for a while, and recently I found myself in a position where I realised I could make some tangible changes, and created Rockpoint Leisure.
Our vision was born out of my personal passion for New Brighton, its history and for the future of the people who live, work and visit.
We’re looking to embrace and amplify the neighbourhood’s existing proposition of being home to a variety of small but proudly independent businesses, building on what we already have, and creating a new cultural hub for the town.”
As well as
heading Rockpoint, Davies is also chairman of the Institute of Licensing, chair
of the National Licensing Forum, and sits on the Council and House Committee of
UKHospitality, he has recently sat on two House of Lords select committees,
focusing on the regeneration of British coastal towns.
The company’s development team includes key individuals with credible track records, who have been involved with a number of regeneration projects, including Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle and the recently created Fabric District, as well as developing leading UK hospitality concepts and brands.
“There is great potential for Victoria Quarter to become an exciting, vibrant and dynamic asset for New Brighton, both as a diverse and buzzy neighbourhood and a cultural tourist destination.”
“In developing the area we are also increasing employment opportunities and improving social mobility, creating premises that promote inclusiveness and diversity.”
“Under the new Victoria Quarter brand, which we have developed to unite the project, we are confident that the area will be a viable alternative to, yet complement the mainstream chains on the seafront.”
Driven, creative and inclusive – you can’t fail to be impressed by Rockpoint’s ambitious plans, and we’re certain that in a few month’s time, Victoria Quarter will be one of the city region’s go-to destinations.
Both Habibi and The James Atherton are open seven days a week – for further information on Habibi, please visit www.habibibar.com or @habibi_new_brighton on Instagram. For The James Atherton, visit www.thejamesatherton.com or visit their Facebook page.