Councillors are due to discuss the future of Birkenhead Market when they meet at the Economy, Regeneration and Housing Committee on 6 December.
The committee will be presented with a report outlining the current options for the Market to secure its long-term future.
The report indicates the existing proposals for a new Market at the House of Fraser site have been increasing substantially in cost, rising 25% from initial estimates in 2021.
Among the recommendations to councillors is for any additional work on the market proposals at the House of Fraser site to be paused while options are considered which include the potential relocation to the former Argos store which is part of the Grange Shopping Centre and owned by Wirral Council
At this point no decision has been made on the new Market location and, if agreed by councillors, then a further report would be brought back to a meeting of Economy, Regeneration and Housing Committee in spring 2024 which will include more information on alternative options and costs.
There has been a market building in Birkenhead since 1835 and it has moved on a number of occasions. It was initially on the site of what is now Birkenhead Town Hall, before moving in 1845 to Hamilton Street where the University of Chester currently has its Birkenhead centre.
Following major fires in 1969 and 1974 the market was relocated again, this time to its current home in 1977. In 2019, after 15 years of being externally managed, the council brought the market back under local authority management.
The report to the committee acknowledges that Birkenhead Market is a critical part of the council’s Birkenhead town centre regeneration plans. However, the current market hall is an ageing building, operating inefficiently, with few traders relative to its size, and there is a need to act to ensure the future of Birkenhead Market.
The report outlines how other options previously considered are not practically and/or financially viable or suitable for a future Birkenhead Market, which include the former Marks and Spencer store, St Werburghs Square, the refurbishment of the existing market hall and other proposals.
The Economy, Regeneration and Housing Committee will meet at Birkenhead Town Hall on Tuesday, 6 December. The meeting is also webcast – details of this and the agenda for the meeting can be found on the council website