New council offices can’t be named Mallory and Irvine

Wirral Council cannot officially name its brand new offices after two famous Everest explorers as had been suggested as it is not in line with the local authority’s policies.

Soon after construction finished on the local authority’s new offices in Birkenhead town centre, Wirral Council announced the buildings had been 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 has now confirmed the building’s official names will be 2 and 4 Alice Ker Square, but said the explorers’ names would still be used to market the buildings.

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

Wirral Council’s street and property naming policy states “all new properties shall be assigned numbers rather than names” but there are exceptions to this rule and buildings can be officially named alongside a street address.

The policy states an owner of a property can request an additional property name if certain conditions are met including “the property name does not relate to specific individuals (living or deceased)”.

Any building names must also “not repeat the name of the road or that of any building in the area” and “should also be sufficiently different to other property names used locally”. Two roads and a house are already named after the explorers in Birkenhead.

The idea of naming the buildings after the two explorers had been heavily publicised by the council. At the handover of the buildings, Wirral Council Mayor Cllr Jerry Williams said, “Recognising these important figures in our local history by linking them to the future of our town is a powerful way to cement our connections with our heritage.”

A later council press release referred again to the buildings as Mallory and Irvine and an official assessment of the buildings issued by the council on 22 September 2023 repeatedly referred to both buildings by the two explorers’ names.

A recent press release issued by the council’s developer partner, Muse, made no mention of the explorers despite referring to them in the past.

A Wirral Council spokesperson 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.”

Lead image credit: thisisrms.co.uk

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