Posted by: John Brace | 25th October 2019

Wirral Council’s Cabinet to decide on “in principle” purchase of around two dozen shops in Birkenhead Town Centre and whether Birkenhead Market is added to its Wirral Growth Company joint venture plans with Muse Developments

Wirral Council’s Cabinet to decide on “in principle” purchase of around two dozen shops in Birkenhead Town Centre and whether Birkenhead Market is added to its Wirral Growth Company joint venture plans with Muse Developments

                                     

Cllr Tony Jones (Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Growth) (foreground) at a meeting of Wirral Council’s Cabinet (30th September 2019)

Cllr Tony Jones (Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Growth) (foreground) at a meeting of Wirral Council’s Cabinet (30th September 2019)

Wirral Council’s Cabinet (including the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Growth Cllr Tony Jones pictured above) will be deciding at a meeting on 4th November 2019 to “in principle” buy around two dozen shops in Milton Pavement and one shop at 13-15 St Werburgh’s Square from Mars Pension Trustees Limited (Mars Pension Fund).

The Cabinet will also be deciding “in principle” whether to add the Birkenhead Market site to its Wirral Growth Company joint venture with Muse Developments. Cabinet will also be deciding whether to remove the Allport Lane Car Park in Bromborough from the Wirral Growth joint venture following opposition to plans for housing on Allport Lane Car Park.

The report to Cabinet, plan showing which shops in Milton Pavement are planned to be purchased, plan showing the Birkenhead Market site and plan showing the Allport Lane Car Park site can all be viewed on Wirral Council’ s website.

The proposed purchase price is unknown at present as the full business case for these plans has not been published ahead of the meeting as it is deemed to be commercially sensitive (despite Wirral Council acknowledging that if Mars Pension Fund did not want to sell to it at the price that it wanted it could use its compulsory purchase powers).

The report to Cabinet states that the intention is to demolish the shops (although it is unknown what the intention is after demolition). If the recommendations are agreed then consultation on the draft proposals Wirral Council has for Birkenhead Town Centre is expected to start in the first week of November 2019.

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Responses

  1. Something needs doing in the town for sure. I was there last week at the market getting the screen on my phone replaced and it was quite depressing seeing the empty units in both the market and precinct shopping area.

    The bigger picture will be to join the fragmented parts of the town back together again. Pacific Rd, Woodside, Hamilton Sq, Argyle St and the main centre all need to be linked visually with some sort of continuity. Footfall needs to be encouraged but that means having things and places people want to visit.

    I know as somebody who works in e-commerce that the old business model of the High Street is dead. Retailers have to be more creative, have a niche and a web presence. It’s no good trying to compete with Amazon or other box-shifters. The High Street has to represent something else in order to evolve and continue as an option for shoppers.

    • A while ago I went to Birkenhead Town Centre on a Saturday morning to write a story about all the vacant shops – I took a photo of the vacant shops but was told off by a security guard that it was “private property” and I needed “permission”. I asked him who I get permission from, he said the office was closed, so that article didn’t get published in the end!

      As to the future of Birkenhead Town Centre – other nearby places with a retail centre are doing much better regarding vacant units, footfall etc.

      Birkenhead Business Improvement District has also tried to do things to improve the situation in Birkenhead – but part of the problem is Wirral Council’s “vision” for Birkenhead is so “commercially sensitive” that even I have just inklings as to what it is!

  2. Sorry to say the writing was on the wall twenty years ago, the high street is dead and yes its down to the internet and the likes of Chester Oaks and Liverpool one.
    Invest in the shops or give loans, force the landlords to lower the rents but don’t waste tax payers money!

    • Car parking is free at Cheshire Oaks, but both it and Liverpool One are places people go to for a day.

      Yes, the internet has changed things – but retailers need to adapt.

      The problem with taxpayer loans is that if the business goes out of business there may not be enough to pay the loan back so it carries a commercial risk of bad debts.

  3. Why is our Council buying these shops when we all know that our shopping preferences are changing?

    • Read the headlines within the Council papers Mr Hutchinson this will give you a view as to why this is being purchased, regeneration\developments = increase of footfall to make the TC thrive again, not a 1yr plan but approx. 5-10yrs in the making


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