LONG BATTLE: Plans to move Birkenhead Market to temporary site ditched
Birkenhead Market will be moved from its current site under the current plan, Image: LDRS
Throughout this year, the local authority’s plan to move the historic market to St Werburghs Square temporarily, before a new permanent site is completed, has faced strong opposition.
Many traders were against the idea due to fears the St Werburghs Square site would not have enough stalls, the ones they would have would be too small and that many of them would have been outdoors, potentially harming business outside of the summer months.
In June, Andrew Porter, who runs the Quickprint and Accessories stall at Birkenhead Market, said 80% of traders will walk if the plan goes ahead.
But tonight’s meeting of Wirral Council’s Economy and Regeneration Committee heard that this idea has now been scrapped.
After David French, chair of The Birkenhead Market Tenants Association, asked Cllr Tony Jones when the council expects the existing market to be demolished and the new one to be built, the Labour councillor was able to confirm the news.
Cllr Jones, who represents New Brighton, said that after discussions with traders earlier this month it was decided that the market will be moved just once, from the current site to the new permanent one.
Cllr Jones added that the council could not say when the move to the permanent site, or the demolition of the current market, would take place at this stage.
Mr French also asked Cllr Jones if, given that they were not seeking commercially sensitive information, the traders could be sent documents related to the former Marks and Spencer building in Birkenhead?
This site is favoured by some traders as a potential future location for the market.
However, the chair of the committee said he could not disclose this information as all of it was commercially sensitive.
But Mr French came back, asking Cllr Jones to clarify comments he said were made by the council’s manager of Birkenhead Market, Robert Langer, in which he apparently told tenants that the council would not support the traders move to the former Marks and Spencer building if they chose to go ahead with that plan.
Mr French asked the meeting whether this is the council’s view or just Mr Langer’s.
Cllr Jones said he did not know the answer and would give Mr French a written response.
Conservative councillor David Burgess-Joyce also sought to weigh in on the issue, asking Cllr Jones if any future decision on the market will come back to the committee before it is signed off.
The Labour councillor said it was his understanding that it would.
Words: Local Demcoracy Reporter
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