House of Fraser, p planning documents

Wirral Council acquired the former department store in 2021. Credit: via planning documents

Ex-Birkenhead House of Fraser readies for demolition

Forshaw Demolition moved on site yesterday to begin the levelling of the old department store, situated at 92 Grange Road in the town centre.

Wirral Growth Company, a joint venture between Wirral Council and Muse, is behind the plans to demolish the 70,000 sq ft House of Fraser building, which the local council acquired in January 2021.

A statement from Wirral Council describes the property as “key to enabling the comprehensive regeneration of Birkenhead town centre”.

Sitting at the entrance to Birkenhead’s proposed central business district, the House of Fraser building has lain vacant since March 2020, following the company’s fall into administration the year before.

The demolition process will first see the building stripped internally. Work is expected to take a total of 16 weeks, with an expected completion date of early March 2024.

Stephen Knowles, director of development for Muse, said: “This is a landmark moment in the regeneration of Birkenhead; a tangible step forwards as we work together with Wirral Council towards delivering a thriving new place for Birkenhead that will provide local communities with new opportunities and revitalise the built environment.”

Plans for the razing of the store were approved in June. At the time, it was thought that the clearance of the site would clear the path to build a new market hall to replace the existing 90,000 sq ft Birkenhead Market that sits just minutes away.

However, it was revealed in September that the council was rethinking its proposals for the town centre’s regeneration following its recent acquisition of the Pyramids and Grange shopping centres.

At a council meeting, Cllr Tony Jones, chair of Wirral Council’s economy, regeneration, and housing committee, highlighted that the authority remains committed to delivering a new market in Birkenhead town centre, however these purchases “now present opportunities not previously available.”

When asked explicitly whether the new market will no longer be created on the former House of Fraser site, Jones stated that the council is not in a position to publicly discuss those details.

Your Comments

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Much more of this sort of thing and the private sector will start to get genuinely excited about what’s happening in Birkenhead. More power to Wirral Council’s elbow.

By Birket Boy

It will be a shame to see the former Beattie’s (house of fraser) demolished. I have many fond memories shopping there ever since I was a kid.
I hope that the new market will be a destination in its own right. Anything that replaces the Beattie’s building will have to be truly spectacular, so I hope this new market will deliver.

By Anonymous

Before HOF this was home to the lovely Beatties. It was a really classy department store, what a shame the building can’t be brought back to it’s former glory.

By Ann

Watch what does happen.
More grandiose ideas that in the end loses more money. Look at New Brighton,.Why didn’t the council go for the Lido idea years ago instead of washing the rate payers money . Now whatever scheme is put into place will be more costly.

By Pat Kirby

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