WIRRAL councillors have once again rejected plans for a former troublespot pub to be turned into an off-licence.

Proposals were originally put forward in May for derelict The Observatory in Oxton Road, Birkenhead, to become a convenience store selling booze - but the council’s licensing sub-committee refused to grant permission.

Residents, police and councillors had feared approval would increase problems of street drinking in the area and as a result lead to more crime.

Applicant Sinnathamby Elangaiventhan submitted plans once more but he was again met with strong opposition.

According to documents which went before the committee on Friday, August 9, there were proposals to vary the premises’ current licence to sell alcohol from 10am until 10pm, from Monday to Saturday, and from 12pm to 10pm on Sundays.

However following arguments from Merseyside Police, local councillors and a 279-strong petition, the plans were rejected.

Police said the building is in the centre of Wirral’s hotspot for anti-social behaviour and that 20% of all Wirral street drinking complaints come from the immediate vicinity.

Birkenhead and Tranmere ward councillor Brian Kenny said he was pleased with the committee’s decision.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted The old Observatory pub will not become an off-licence and the residents are thrilled.

"People are fed up of the problems from street-drinking in that particular part of town and to approve these plans would have only made the situation worse.

“That part of Birkenhead suffers more than anywhere else in Wirral so it was completely the right decision to refuse permission.

"This application has been before the committee before and I hope now that it puts an end to applications being submitted for a licensed premises there because we will always fight them – ordinary, decent people in Birkenhead do not want or need another place selling alcohol.”

Councillor Kenny believes the area now needs a boost to attract investors and visitors to the town and welcomed ideas for the future of the building.

He added: “I have no fixed views on what The Observatory should become. Oxton Road is a gateway to the whole area and it needs a massive lift.

"I am hoping that over the next few weeks and months, private companies will come forward with applications for various uses.

“We need to show people that the place is on the up and work needs to be done.”