Wirral Council and Muse Developments have revealed long-awaited proposals for a major overhaul of Birkenhead town centre, including up to 280,000 sq ft of offices, a leisure centre, and a new home for Birkenhead Market.
The wide-ranging plan for the town centre, which has been in the pipeline since 2018, is to be brought forward across five phases.
The opening phase is to include the demolition of the Milton Pavements shopping arcade, bought by the council earlier this month, and relocating the existing Birkenhead Market to new premises.
This could be in either in the refurbished former M&S, or in a new building on the site of the market. A third option to relocate the market to the existing B&M site is also being considered.
The Wirral Growth Company said the demolition of the current market hall “allows for the creation of new public realm within the town centre to act as a connecting space between the retail, commercial and leisure elements of the proposed masterplan”.
“Such integration will improve pedestrian and cycle links,” said the partners. “It will also create an attractive environment, encouraging opportunities for events and participation in town centre-based activities.”
The first phase also includes a civic centre for the council and council services, along with offices, and upgrade works to the town’s bus station. This opening phase is expected to take up to two years.
A second phase is to include the demolition of Birkenhead Market following its relocation, and the construction of Grade A office buildings, along with a potential leisure or commercial block.
Later phases feature a residential neighbourhood and a leisure centre to the north of Conway Park railway station; commercial buildings and hotels to the south of Conway Street; and further residential to the south of Conway Park station, along with the demolition of the existing leisure centre, once new premises are delivered. Housing will include homes for affordable tenures.
The council selected Muse as its preferred development partner in March 2018 for the 10-year partnership, with the potential to extend for a further five years.
A consultation on the plans is running until 30 November, after which formal proposals will advance to planning stage. The consultation documents can be accessed here.
Barton Willmore is advising on planning and AHR is the architect. Gillespies is the landscape architect while Curtins and Vectos also form part of the professional team.