Will councillors tell the public what Neptune’s plans for Birkenhead Market are?
Thursday’s meeting of Wirral Council’s Cabinet had a last-minute item added to its agenda titled “Birkenhead Town Centre – Masterplan Principles”. Neptune Developments Limited (the company behind the New Brighton Marine Point development) have a plan and want Cabinet to approve a consultation on it.
These are the elements of the masterplan:
- Demolish Europa Pools
- Build new leisure centre on the car park next to Conway Park train station
- On the site of what was Europa Pools build a drive through restaurant, public bar/restaurant and seven units (probably cafés and restaurants) plus car parking
- Reduce the car parking adjacent to Birkenhead Bus Station and put a café there
- Remodel Birkenhead Bus Station to “remove service vehicles and avoid pedestrian/bus conflicts”
- Remodel Birkenhead Market Hall
- Possibly a hotel on the vacant plot on the corner of Conway Street and Europa Boulevard
What probably won’t be reported by the rest of the press, as Wirral Council have chosen to keep much of these details out of the public domain is that according to this report (see 2.5) from 2013 Neptune Developments Limited have an interest in one of the pieces of land in Conway Street that would be needed for the scheme.
The report going to Cabinet on Thursday evening also states “No other options have therefore been considered as NDL has already secured an interest in the balance of the land that is needed to deliver the re-provided market.” If Cabinet agree to consult on these plans, Wirral Council will have to seek legal advice that including Europa Pools in the proposals won’t contravene procurement or state aid rules.
At the moment, there is uncertainty as to what the proposals mean for Birkenhead Market and hopefully some light can be shed on this element of the proposals at the Cabinet meeting this Thursday evening.
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