Council scraps £30m regeneration scheme

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Birkenhead market. Pic © Rept0n1x/Wikimedia Commons

Birkenhead market. Pic © Rept0n1x/Wikimedia Commons

Proposals for a £30m redevelopment scheme in Birkenhead town centre have been scrapped.

Wirral Council has withdrawn its initial plans to refurbish two popular sites in the area and instead will “explore more ambitious opportunities”.

Plans that were approved in January this year included regenerating the town’s market as well as demolishing the Europa Pools leisure centre and rebuilding it nearby.

The ‘Wirral Growth Plan’ was announced as part of a wider campaign to reinvent ‘downtown Birkenhead’ as one of the North’s most desirable places for businesses to invest.

Wirral Council Leader Phil Davies said: “We’ve got huge ambitions for Birkenhead. We think it can be a fantastic destination for business, leisure and retail at the heart of the City Region.

“Initial discussions about Europa Pools focussed on moving the pool and building a food court, but as we explore more ambitious development opportunities in and around Birkenhead town centre, we have now decided to look again at our leisure offer in light of other exciting investments.

“Since we launched our vision for downtown Birkenhead earlier this year, we’ve never had more interest from developers and investors. It has captured the imagination and we are excited about the future of the town.

YouTube: Ben M – GoPro footage in Birkenhead

“What the council has to do now is listen to these proposals, and make sure we turn them into one coherent and ambitious plan which will revitalise Birkenhead and create the jobs, economic growth and prosperity which we are so determined to deliver.”

Wirral Council remains in talks with primary investor Neptune, however discussions continue with a number of developers.

Steve Parry, of Neptune Developments, said: “We are aware that Wirral Council has decided to review the current proposals for the Europa Pool site based upon its own operational considerations.

“Whilst we are very disappointed by this given the council’s decision to approve the scheme earlier this year, we remain in active discussions with the council and are fully committed to playing a major role in the regeneration of Birkenhead working closely with the council.

“As a local developer with a strong track record, we share Wirral Council’s ambition to deliver a transformational vision for a town centre with outstanding assets and potential.”

About Jessica Harris, JMU Journalism