A SCHEME is in the pipeline for the multi-million pound facelift of an extensive area of Birkenhead, taking in the town centre, Woodside and Hamilton Square.

A master plan has been agreed between Wirral Council and private sector partners for the transformation of the Woodside area, which boasts unique views of the world-renowned Liverpool waterfront.

The redevelopment will include new offices, homes and leisure facilities.

Councillor Pat Hackett, cabinet member for regeneration and economy, said: “When economic circumstances allow, this area of Birkenhead will be revitalised and link to developments on the Liverpool waterfront and through to Hamilton Square, into Birkenhead town centre as well as Wirral Waters.

“A team has also been looking at Hamilton Square for some time, including improving access, traffic and parking; and a range of opportunities are being explored.

“These include making greater use of Birkenhead Town Hall and improving links to Birkenhead Park, Williamson Art Gallery and the Transport Museum to further strengthen our cultural and heritage offer.”

Neptune, who masterminded the £60m New Brighton regeneration project, are involved in producing far reaching plans for Birkenhead town centre, including a continental look for the town’s historic market.

Inspiration could come from the Torvehallerne food market in Copenhagen and the San Miguel market in Madrid.

Consideration will be given to whether the market should remain in its present position, whether it should be extended and how it should connect with nearby shops.

Neptune has been selected as preferred developer for the project by the council and a legal agreement has been signed.

However Steve Parry, Neptune’s managing director, said they must also work with other landowners, including the Pyramids and Birkenhead Market Ltd.

Mr Parry said existing shops would remain but the aim would be to get a broader range of offer to appeal to a broader range of people.

He said: “We want to attract Wirral people who currently automatically choose to drive to out-of-town retail centres such as Cheshire Oaks, or even Liverpool, to come to Birkenhead.”

Mr Parry said parking issues in the centre would be addressed.

He observed: “Part of the town centre needs repopulating – in a way this could be the other half of Liverpool City Centre. People living in Birkenhead, if they work in Liverpool, can be in the city centre far quicker than from many parts of Liverpool.”

Neptune is carrying out a large scale strategic study of Birkenhead town centre to determine what needs to be changed to satisfy the town’s needs.

Councillor Hackett added: “We welcome Neptune’s involvement in regenerating Birkenhead town centre.

"We look forward to seeing their plan develop and will continue to work closely with the local businesses and land and property owners to create opportunities for the town’s future growth.

“We are encouraged by a number of new retailer that have recently moved into Birkenhead and an increasing number of enquiries for business space.”