Councillor slams ‘absurd decision’ on office names

A Wirral councillor has slammed an “absurd decision” by the local authority to not name its two new offices after Everest explorers.

Wirral Council had heavily publicised the new buildings in Alice Ker Square in Birkenhead would be named after George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, mountaineers who took part in expeditions to Mount Everest who both have links to Birkenhead.

However, the council later confirmed to the LDRS the two buildings’ official names will be 2 and 4 Alice Ker Square, stating this was “in line with council policy that ‘all new properties shall be assigned numbers rather than names.’”

The local authority was approached after it was suggested officially naming the buildings after the explorers had not been allowed by the council team responsible.

Now in an email sent to the council’s Chief Executive Officer Paul Satoor, seen by the LDRS, Oxton councillor Allan Brame said, “If it is accurate, I have to say I am surprised and bewildered by this absurd decision. Our website has information about ‘Moving to Mallory’ on the front page.

“I would like to understand who was responsible for deciding that naming these new office blocks ‘Mallory’ and ‘Irvine’ was not permitted. Is it the consequence of a council policy?

“If a policy leads to a ridiculous decision, then it is the policy that is ridiculous and it needs to be changed.

“As a Birkenhead councillor, it seems entirely appropriate to me to name these two impressive buildings after two heroic Birkenhead figures, particularly in the centenary year of their attempt to be the first to scale Everest.

“There is a memorial plaque to Andrew Irvine in Trinity with Palm Grove Church in Oxton: his family were prominent members of the congregation. George Mallory’s family moved to Birkenhead when he was 18.

“Can you advise what is the procedure for effecting this change of policy?”

In a separate email to Liberal Democrat leader Phil Gilchrist, council legal officers said they were “looking to ensure that the address is clear and then some signage to honour the names.” They also repeated council policy stating the buildings could not be formally named due to repetition of road and building names in the area.

A Wirral Council spokesperson previously said, “The formal addresses for the two new office buildings in central Birkenhead are 2 and 4 Alice Ker Square. This is in line with council policy that ‘all new properties shall be assigned numbers rather than names’.

“‘Mallory’ and ‘Irvine’ are the names being used for marketing the buildings. The names were chosen to honour two famous mountaineers with close connections to Wirral – George Mallory and Andrew ‘Sandy’ Irvine – who lost their lives attempting to climb Mount Everest 100 years ago this year.

“The two new office buildings are at the heart of the regeneration plans for the town and will accommodate hundreds of council staff and workers from other organisations, bringing additional footfall to the town centre to support local businesses.”

Why not follow birkenhead.news on Facebook, Twitter, and Threads? You can also send story ideas or letters to the editor to news@birkenhead.news