- Meeting of Economy Regeneration & Housing Committee, Wednesday, 29th September 2021 6.00 p.m. (Item 27.)
Notice of question to be given in writing or by email by 12 noon, Friday 24 September 2021 to the Council’s Monitoring Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org) and to be dealt with in accordance with Standing Order 10.
There were two questions from members of the Birkenhead Market Traders Association.
Question 1 from David French
At a meeting of 10 August Mr Evans informed our community representatives that the decision has been made to scrap plans for a temporary Market, that our community will remain on the current market site and furthermore no demolition/redevelopment work will be commenced anywhere on the current market site. When does Wirral Borough Council expect demolition reconstruction to begin?
Answer to question 1.
As discussed with the me as Chair and a number of members of the Market Traders Association Committee on 10th of September 2021, we are revisiting our plans for a temporary market solution and responding to traders’ feedback. We are now working towards having just one move, to a permanent-only offer. At this meeting, we discussed that we would not be able to share further details at that point but would be in a stronger position in the following 4 to 5 weeks to outline the council position. We are still working to secure a permanent option so we are not yet able to update on when the move to a permanent market will take place or the subsequent date for demolition of the current market.
Question 2 from Bernard Furlong, read out by David French.
Our community have been informed via newsletter that the vacant Marks & Spencer site proposal has been revisited and examined by WBC Officers and rejected. As this proposal has been rejected by Officers we do not see that any information can be classed as commercially sensitive. Therefore will WBC Officers furnish our representatives with copies of all documents pertaining to the Marks & Spencer site held by WBC without delay?
Answer to question 2.
All information held by the Council appertaining to the Marks and Spencer unit on Borough Pavements is commercially sensitive and was provided by the owners of the shopping centre under the restrictions of a non-disclosure agreement. It is not possible for the Council to disclose any of this information.
Supplementary question to question 2
Currently we have the Market Manager who is going round site telling tenants that Wirral Borough Council will not support our move if we do decide to move to the Marks and Spencer’s site ourself. Is this the point of the Wirral Borough Council or the Market Manager’s personal opinion?
Answer to supplementary question to question 2
The Council has concerns about the potential for undermining the future of Birkenhead Market in the event that it granted additional rights to a second town centre market. Wirral Council has recently shared with traders its proposals for a new purpose built modern market within the town and looks forward to working with existing and new traders to develop these proposals further. It does not therefore support a relocated market into the former Marks and Spencer building. That said should a consortium wish to establish a new independent concern then they will be required to apply through a market licence application process in accordance with the Markets Policy. Any such application will be evaluated on a number of set characteristics by a regulatory panel and as custodian of the market charter, the Council has the right to approve or refuse or any proposals for markets that fall within its Charter area. All applications made to the regulatory panel are assessed independently so individuals can therefore not comment on whether an application may or may not be approved.