A rising Liverpool businessman who left school at 14 has unveiled exciting plans for a luxury 700-bed apartment scheme that he hopes will transform the face of Widnes.

Young developer Luke Backhouse has revealed ambitious plans to light up the town’s waterfront with three “shimmering” towers featuring flats and restaurants overlooking the River Mersey.

The 29-year-old, from Mossley Hill, has bought a 10.5 acre piece of land on Mersey View in Hale Bank, where Haydock’s Timber Yard once stood.

The former industrial town is slowly on the up since the days of being dominated by the chemical manufacturing industry.

These incredible images show how Luke, who heads family-run business Backhouse Developments, hopes to tap into its potential.

He said: “Liverpool has got a lot of development going on, it’s expanding. Once everything has gone up, it can only go outward. The city’s not that big, it’s very saturated now whereas Widnes is an untouched market.

“Not everyone wants to be in the city centre. This development gives them a bit of peace and quiet on the waterfront. It’s a common known fact that water sells.

“A lot of people can’t afford to live in town, or they don’t want to, but they still want to be in a city centre environment and that’s what this project is about.

“I think this development will change Widnes completely, for something like that to be built.”

The site for the apartment block is next to Pickerings Pasture – a former industrial waste land turned local nature reserve.

Schemes to reclaim industrial land in Widnes have been under way for more than a decade, with the Hive Leisure Centre and Green Oaks Shopping Centre being key projects that have given the local economy a boost.

However huge swathes of land remain vacant and derelict following the decline of the town’s chemical industry, and dad-of-one Luke hopes his development could kick-start a new phase of regeneration.

He said: “When we first looked at the site people were saying it’s an industrial area.

“Look at Jamaica Street in town. Ten or 15 years ago Jamaica street was an untouched market. It was an industrial area and now it’s thriving.

“The are houses in Widnes going for half a million. If you would have said that 10 or 15 years ago, you would have been laughed at. It’s changed massively, I think the [Mersey Gateway] bridge has helped with that too.

“This scheme could be the benchmark for this town. It’s something to modernise the town.”

Luke’s vision is to develop three independent towers featuring flats and leisure facilities which maximise views of the River Mersey.

An exclusive sneak peek of the plans seen by the ECHO suggest the building material will be reflective and shimmery so that the river will reflect the towers.

A brochure for the development, dubbed “Mersey View Gardens”, said the exterior of the building will “modulate” so that as people travel past the towers, “they appear to have movement and dynamism: shimmering as the water of the Mersey shimmers beneath”.

Speaking about the ambitious design proposals Luke said: “This will change the waterfront of Widnes completely.

“If you fly into Liverpool airport and you see those towers lit up at night, you will want to know what it is and you will go and visit.

“Instead of looking at the towers in the [Fiddlers Ferry] power station, you will be looking at our three towers.”

Plans for ‘The Mersey View Gardens’ are in the pre-application stage and are set to be formally submitted to Halton Borough Council in the upcoming months.

Luke said he has consulted closely with the local authority, who are excited about the plans.

Halton Council have been working on a number of long-term projects they hope will regenerate the borough and make it a “visitor” destination over the next decade.

The Mersey View Gardens’ is one of a huge range of projects Backhouse developments are seeking to deliver in the Liverpool City Region and beyond, with the family-run business due to open a club in New York later this year.

Speaking about what drives him Luke said: “I left school at 14 to start work in the family business, renting industrial units. When I got to 18/19 I started to have other ideas what to do with our sites.

“My grandfather started the business but my father passed away when I was four so it was like we skipped a generation and I had to learn quickly.

“I think a good development is not about the location. You make the location, you make it a destination. If you make something good enough, people will go.”