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At the meeting of the Economic Regeneration and Development (ERD) Committee (June 8) councillors will be looking at proposals to move the Market to a retail unit along with new outside stalls at St Werburghs Square in the town centre.
If approved by councillors it is hoped that the temporary Market will be operating from early 2022. This will then allow time for the current site to be cleared and development of the new Market to take place while also allowing for continuity of the Birkenhead Market offer from its temporary location.
The costs of the temporary Market would be met by the Government’s ‘Future High Street Funding’ already secured by the council, with day to day on-costs being met through existing Market budgets.
“Birkenhead Market is a vital element of the retail offer in the town centre and its success is essential in ensuring Birkenhead’s wider appeal to shoppers and visitors.
“The council has ambitious plans for the regeneration of Birkenhead and a thriving market is integral to that vision.
“This move is another key milestone in the continuing regeneration of Birkenhead which people will be able to see is already underway in the town. The new location will ensure the market is kept at the heart of Birkenhead town centre, retaining it for regular customers and giving the traders the chance to attract even more customers.”
The council took over direct management of the Market in February 2019 after buying the site to enable the major redevelopment of the town centre through the Wirral Growth Company.
The new site is a smaller space than the existing Market and not all traders currently operating at Birkenhead Market will move to the new site, however those who do not will be given help and advice on alternative premises across the town centre.
Previous options such as the move to the former Marks and Spencer retail unit was ruled out due to the significant high cost, while the possibility of moving to a box park using shipping containers on Europa Boulevard was also dropped after traders raised concerns about its distance from the main shopping area and additional high costs.
The move to the temporary location will allow for the current Market structure to be demolished to allow redevelopment to take place including a new modern, energy efficient permanent home for the market. Birkenhead Market’s current building is expensive to maintain and to operate, and ongoing repairs and maintenance costs are estimated to grow significantly over the next few years.
The report to ERD Committee asks for approval to press ahead with the temporary Market to be recommended to the Policy and Resources Committee. A further committee report will be brought to councillors outlining the finalised design, funding and financial modelling for the new permanent market in due course.
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