Birkenhead town centre regeneration project scrapped

Europa Pools leisure centre Image copyright Google
Image caption The plans included demolishing Europa Pools leisure centre and rebuilding it nearby

Plans for a £30m redevelopment of Birkenhead town centre have been scrapped.

The project was due to regenerate the town's market and rebuild the Europa Pools leisure centre, with restaurants, a food court and a hotel also proposed.

Wirral Council said it was still negotiating with developers Neptune, but was also talking to other firms.

Council leader Phil Davies said the decision was linked to "more ambitious" development opportunities.

The scheme was announced as part of wider plans to reinvent Birkenhead as one of the North's most desirable places for businesses to invest.

Called the Wirral Growth Plan, the focus was particularly on what the council described as the "Downtown Birkenhead" postcode, CH41.

Image copyright Alan Murray-Rust / Geograph

Mr Davies said the council continued to have "huge ambitions" for Birkenhead, and believed it could be a "fantastic destination".

He added: "Initial discussions about Europa Pools focused 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."

Discussions continue with a number of developers, he said.

Steve Parry, of Neptune Developments, said the company was "very disappointed" the council had decided to review its position, after initially approving the scheme.

He added: "We remain in active discussions with the council and are fully committed to playing a major role in the regeneration of Birkenhead."

Analysis: Political Reporter Claire Hamilton

This doesn't necessarily spell the end for the working relationship between Neptune and Wirral Council. I understand the authority is open to a different plan for this area from the developer, but is also in discussion with other firms.

This process has already been quite lengthy and this latest twist creates further uncertainty for retailers especially those who feel they're losing out to the out-of-town shopping centres.

The council says it is determined to get the best deal for Birkenhead.

But if this £30m project is off the table, the question of what will replace it remains.

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