Council ‘forging ahead’ with new Birkenhead Market plans

Work is now forging ahead on the next chapter for Birkenhead Market.

It follows a decision to move the market to a new site on Princes Pavement in the town centre at a meeting of the Economy, Regeneration and Housing committee on 27 March.

Now the next steps in developing the designs for the Princes Pavement site for the Market are set to begin. 

A report to councillors said the new market will play a crucial role in the work already well underway to breathe new life into Birkenhead town centre. The regeneration plan includes two new high-quality office buildings now completed and set to bring hundreds of new workers into the heart of the town, boosting footfall.

The council is also pushing ahead with major regeneration across the rest of the town centre and wider Birkenhead area with significant Government grants from Future High Streets Fund, Levelling Up Fund and Town Deal.

Images published last year gave some indication of how the new market could look. However, these were only indicative and the next stage in developing the new market location will see designers and council officers working with traders and other stakeholders to develop the market proposals to create a new market for current and future generations.

In December 2023 councillors requested the Director of Regeneration and Place appoint a specialist market curator and design team to look at the options for a market, including available alternative locations, and bring the outcome back to the committee in spring 2024.

The authority had already indicated it would pause previous proposals for a new market at the House of Fraser site as costs had been increasing substantially, rising 25% from initial estimates in 2021.

The report by the market curator and designers considered alternative locations for Birkenhead Market – at Princes Pavement, St John’s Pavement and using the existing market location.

Their assessment found that the St John’s Pavement location was not large enough and included uncertainties around planning issues and acquiring the nearby coffee shop to provide additional space.

The team also found that the existing market site would see significant disruption for traders while any works took place and that it would also take longer to complete and exceed the deadline by which the grant funding for the work needs to be used.

The report presented to councillors said the former Argos site on Princes Pavement is both large enough and keeps the market close to the town centre, while also being in good condition and able to be adapted within the available grant funding and timescales. As a result the Princes Pavement location was put forward as the preferred option.

A majority of councillors on the Economy, Regeneration and Housing Committee agreed to the recommendation for the use of the site on Princes Pavement for the new market. It was also agreed that the council formally notify Wirral Growth Company LLP that the authority does not wish to proceed with a market development at the House of Fraser site.

Further updates will be published as they become available.

Image: GOOGLE

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