Agenda item

Birkenhead Market New Development


Having previously declared a prejudicial interest, Councillor Jean Robinson vacated the room during consideration of this item (minute 72 refers).


The Director of Regeneration and Place introduced a report which sought the Committee’s approval to enter into a development agreement between the Council and the Wirral Growth Company LLP (WGC) to develop the new Birkenhead Market.


Having regard to timing constraints attached to the delivery of the Future High Streets programme and informed by additional consultation undertaken with Members, officers, and market traders it was considered that there was a sound basis for accommodating the permanent facility, to the former House of Fraser site. To facilitate this location a new Site Development plan (SDP) had been formulated and agreed at the WGC Joint Venture Board on 21 October 2021.


The Future High Streets Fund (FHSF) would be used to bring forward early designs and cost plans before a final design was brought back to the Economy, Regeneration & Development Committeefor sign off.


Responding to comments from Members the Director confirmed that since the Council took ownership of the Market in 2018, his officers had been working alongside colleagues from Legal Services and Licensing to look at providing more flexibility in relation to applications from other place based initiatives, whilst protecting and safeguarding the operation of Birkenhead Market, and this would be shared with Members in the future. He acknowledged the risks of meeting the March, 2024 deadline within the confines of the grant funding agreement but was hopeful of spending the Future High Street funding upfront with remaining funding then flowing in behind. He commented upon the improved engagement with the Market Tenants’ Association and market traders and how his officers would be taking their comments and concerns into account. He also commented upon the opportunities to lift the design quality and the cross cutting infrastructure the Council could introduce as well as the move to make sure carbon neutral design standards were built in from the outset and that progress was being made with this.


On a motion by Councillor Tony Jones, seconded by the Chair, it was -


Resolved – That,


(1)  the revised Wirral Growth Company stage 2 Site Development Plan for Birkenhead Town Centre (Appendix 4), be approved;


(2)  the Director of Regeneration and Place be authorised to progress directly to a permanent market;


(3)  the Director of Regeneration and Place be authorised to award the Wirral Growth Company LLP a development agreement to undertake the design and cost modelling to RIBA Stage 5 for the new permanent market and negotiate terms with WGC in accordance with the outline terms and specification attached at appendices 2 and 3 to the report, including any associated infrastructure and demolition works to support the new market facility on the site of the former House of Fraser building, adjacent to St Werburgh’s Square;


(4)  the Director of Regeneration and Place be authorised to engage with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and agree, if required, any necessary changes to the grant funding agreement consequently to the inclusion of a new market on the House of Fraser site;


(5)  the Director of Regeneration and Place be authorised to adopt the preferred option, to demolish, design and develop the former House of Fraser site, the cost of which to be met from within the planned Future High Street Fund and Wirral Growth Company Surplus resources allocated.

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