Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC) is investing £130m (€151m) as the sole investor in a residential scheme which will form part of the UK’s largest urban regeneration project.

The insurer of defined benefit pension funds said it has made the investment in Wirral Waters One (WWO), the cornerstone residential scheme for the broader development of Peel L&P’s Wirral Waters regeneration project in Merseyside.

Wirral Waters is a 500-acre brownfield site and former dockland. Regeneration specialists Peel L&P has launched a 30-year strategy which will see the site become the largest regeneration project in the UK, creating up to 20,000 permanent jobs.

PIC said it has invested to develop WWO’s build-to-rent scheme, comprising 500 one- and two-bedroom apartments, with an affordable housing component of 100 homes.

The investment will generate the “secure long-term cashflows which allow PIC to match its pension payments decades into the future,” PIC said.

Hayley Rees, the head of investment strategy at Pension Insurance Corporation, said: “Our investment in WWO is another step in the development of our purposeful investment strategy and ultimately is a model for how long-term investors can play a key role in the levelling up agenda.

”We need secure long-term cashflows to back the pensions of our 300,000 policyholders and so seek to invest in assets with a high degree of social value, because what makes sense for society helps us achieve our purpose over decades.”

James Whitaker, executive director of development at Peel L&P, said: “This project is a great example of partnership working that will not only deliver this development but will act as a model for other schemes in the future.

”The combination of an experienced regeneration company, a long-term investor, and a progressive local authority will deliver real value for all our collective stakeholders.”

Councillor Tony Jones, chair of Wirral Council’s economy, regeneration and development committee, said: “With Peel L&P taking the occupational and delivery risks, this build-to-rent development will be able to provide a long term revenue income stream to the local authority which could support wider service delivery and future investment.

”It is also another key moment in the continuing wider regeneration in the borough, tying in with the work well underway in Birkenhead to drive forward the town’s renaissance and showing the increasing confidence of investors in the plans for Wirral’s future.”

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