Future of former Pacific Road Theatre decided by council cabinet

Wirral Globe: Wirral Chamber of Commerce wants to transform the disused venue in to a business centre. Wirral Chamber of Commerce wants to transform the disused venue in to a business centre.

THE future of the former Pacific Road Theatre was decided last night at a special meeting of the council cabinet.

A bid was approved to take over management of the now disused Birkenhead venue by Wirral Chamber of Commerce, which wants to transform it in to a business centre.

The newly-invigorated Chamber has already secured a significant grant - coupled with its own capital - to carry out a major interior redesign of the building.

The matter was scheduled to be debated by the budget cabinet earlier this month, but a procedural problem meant it was withdrawn.

However, councillors were presented with a report saying the authority's circumstances “have changed considerably” since efforts began to find a new use for Pacific Road in March 2012.

It states the Birkenhead theatre is no longer seen as a performance venue as staging shows and concerts are part of the council's business plan to make a success of its revamped Floral Pavilion.

The recommendations allowed for volunteer groups can take over management of the Transport Museum and Tramway, which operates from Pacific Road.

The town hall will enter into a lease arrangement with the Chamber allowing it to “draw down” funding to pay for conversion work.

Once that is completed, a 25-year lease will be granted at a peppercorn rent.

The deal will allow access by Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society to the tramline inside the building, and the Taylor Street electricity sub-station which powers it.

The Chamber's chief executive, Paula Basnett, told the Globe: “Through working in partnership with organisations such Wirral Council, the redevelopment of Pacific Road is a great opportunity for us to create a business centre with an environment of the highest quality.

“This will bring not only significant opportunities for new and existing businesses to develop, but also be a conduit for employment creation."

What do you think of this decision? Post your comments below or to our Wirral Globe Facebook page. You can also Tweet us @WIRRALGLOBE or e-mail editor Leigh Marles at leigh.marles@nqnw.co.uk 

Comments (15)

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10:13am Tue 25 Feb 14

PaulCa says...

But if you want advance notice of these "democratic decisions"... see Wirral Leaks
But if you want advance notice of these "democratic decisions"... see Wirral Leaks PaulCa
  • Score: 3

12:28pm Tue 25 Feb 14

hobroW says...

The numbers provided were sketchy as to whether this was "sustainable" previously a "strict" condition of Asset transfer to community groups (which the Chamber is)
The conclusion of the LGO report is
"The theoretical subsidy which this lease will give to the Chamber relates to the present value of the estimated rental value of the building in its current condition taken over the 25 year term. Using standard valuation practices of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, this is
calculated to amount to a maximum of £272,000 or thereabouts. "

So council is subsiding at rate of £11,000 a year. It should be remembered that Egerton House was gifted to the council long ago and carries P Davies and K adderley on its Board. The Chief Executive is a former WBC employee as is G Maddrell. Therefore this is a "closed Shop" and it is worrying that the Private Sectror bidder mentioned was precluded from continuing because the ERDF monies had aklready been ear-marked for Wirral Chamber. The determinants of such grants include Cllr P Davies and Mark Basnett so I feel a little uuneasy that this is a "closed shop" given some favouritism compared to other Asset transfer applications.
The numbers provided were sketchy as to whether this was "sustainable" previously a "strict" condition of Asset transfer to community groups (which the Chamber is) The conclusion of the LGO report is "The theoretical subsidy which this lease will give to the Chamber relates to the present value of the estimated rental value of the building in its current condition taken over the 25 year term. Using standard valuation practices of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, this is calculated to amount to a maximum of £272,000 or thereabouts. " So council is subsiding at rate of £11,000 a year. It should be remembered that Egerton House was gifted to the council long ago and carries P Davies and K adderley on its Board. The Chief Executive is a former WBC employee as is G Maddrell. Therefore this is a "closed Shop" and it is worrying that the Private Sectror bidder mentioned was precluded from continuing because the ERDF monies had aklready been ear-marked for Wirral Chamber. The determinants of such grants include Cllr P Davies and Mark Basnett so I feel a little uuneasy that this is a "closed shop" given some favouritism compared to other Asset transfer applications. hobroW
  • Score: 7

12:36pm Tue 25 Feb 14

piermaster says...

Perhaps it would be better if the building was left empty and the target for vandles and squaters?? I dont think so, what has been done is to keep a building in use!

Even "naysayers" must see the logic and sense in that? no doubt any following comments will be an indicator?

It has happened, so please just get over it.
Perhaps it would be better if the building was left empty and the target for vandles and squaters?? I dont think so, what has been done is to keep a building in use! Even "naysayers" must see the logic and sense in that? no doubt any following comments will be an indicator? It has happened, so please just get over it. piermaster
  • Score: -4

12:58pm Tue 25 Feb 14

hobroW says...

piermaster wrote:
Perhaps it would be better if the building was left empty and the target for vandles and squaters?? I dont think so, what has been done is to keep a building in use!

Even "naysayers" must see the logic and sense in that? no doubt any following comments will be an indicator?

It has happened, so please just get over it.
Well the erdf grant had a duration of 20 years until 2019. There is a possibility of clawback of some of the £685000 grant with such a change of use, That would be 5yrs over 20 years so some £170,000.
Further the failure of private schemes is in fact related to this change of use from a performance venue. The LGO's affirmed the preference to support the Floral Pavilion as an unique recipient of WBC largesse. Thus fell to the ground any alternative continued use as a performance venue, which would not lead to vandalism at all!

The caveats in the report indicate doubt as to the sustainability of the project and it seems to me that we have a excess of workspace compared to take-up thereof so that the council's intervention is going to be at the expense of private landlords.

It seems a shoe-in to expand the influence of a lobby group within the Council. They are all connected and it was only a few months ago that the Chamber of Commerce was teetering on extinction until merged with former council employees.

Nay sayer or not Piermaster you may agree it is worthy of being noted.
[quote][p][bold]piermaster[/bold] wrote: Perhaps it would be better if the building was left empty and the target for vandles and squaters?? I dont think so, what has been done is to keep a building in use! Even "naysayers" must see the logic and sense in that? no doubt any following comments will be an indicator? It has happened, so please just get over it.[/p][/quote]Well the erdf grant had a duration of 20 years until 2019. There is a possibility of clawback of some of the £685000 grant with such a change of use, That would be 5yrs over 20 years so some £170,000. Further the failure of private schemes is in fact related to this change of use from a performance venue. The LGO's affirmed the preference to support the Floral Pavilion as an unique recipient of WBC largesse. Thus fell to the ground any alternative continued use as a performance venue, which would not lead to vandalism at all! The caveats in the report indicate doubt as to the sustainability of the project and it seems to me that we have a excess of workspace compared to take-up thereof so that the council's intervention is going to be at the expense of private landlords. It seems a shoe-in to expand the influence of a lobby group within the Council. They are all connected and it was only a few months ago that the Chamber of Commerce was teetering on extinction until merged with former council employees. Nay sayer or not Piermaster you may agree it is worthy of being noted. hobroW
  • Score: 5

1:09pm Tue 25 Feb 14

PaulCa says...

piermaster wrote:
Perhaps it would be better if the building was left empty and the target for vandles and squaters?? I dont think so, what has been done is to keep a building in use!

Even "naysayers" must see the logic and sense in that? no doubt any following comments will be an indicator?

It has happened, so please just get over it.
(ab)use, shurely? (sp)
[quote][p][bold]piermaster[/bold] wrote: Perhaps it would be better if the building was left empty and the target for vandles and squaters?? I dont think so, what has been done is to keep a building in use! Even "naysayers" must see the logic and sense in that? no doubt any following comments will be an indicator? It has happened, so please just get over it.[/p][/quote](ab)use, shurely? (sp) PaulCa
  • Score: 10

9:36am Wed 26 Feb 14

keith3028 says...

The whole set-up of the 'new' Chamber of Commerce needs to be looked at, especially Board Members and their affiliation to the Council from the time the Chamber was Wirral Biz/Egerton House etc. The Chamber's capital wouldn't include monies from Wirral taxpayers would it??
Surely the "draw down" monies being used to refurbish the building is taxpayers money???
I agree the building shouldn't fall into disrepair, however, I also strongly believe it shouldn't be used to further the aims (and remunerations) of a select few - especially Davies / Adderley / Basnett and Hamid.
So much for transparency within the Council!!!!
Once again Wirral taxpayers are footing the bill. What's the Council's Chief Executive' s stance on this whole sorry affair.....or is he distancing himself from what's going on?
Come on Wirral taxpayers, lets "wake up and smell the roses" it's surely not too late to demand answers is it?
The whole set-up of the 'new' Chamber of Commerce needs to be looked at, especially Board Members and their affiliation to the Council from the time the Chamber was Wirral Biz/Egerton House etc. The Chamber's capital wouldn't include monies from Wirral taxpayers would it?? Surely the "draw down" monies being used to refurbish the building is taxpayers money??? I agree the building shouldn't fall into disrepair, however, I also strongly believe it shouldn't be used to further the aims (and remunerations) of a select few - especially Davies / Adderley / Basnett and Hamid. So much for transparency within the Council!!!! Once again Wirral taxpayers are footing the bill. What's the Council's Chief Executive' s stance on this whole sorry affair.....or is he distancing himself from what's going on? Come on Wirral taxpayers, lets "wake up and smell the roses" it's surely not too late to demand answers is it? keith3028
  • Score: 4

2:42pm Wed 26 Feb 14

hobroW says...

keith3028 wrote:
The whole set-up of the 'new' Chamber of Commerce needs to be looked at, especially Board Members and their affiliation to the Council from the time the Chamber was Wirral Biz/Egerton House etc. The Chamber's capital wouldn't include monies from Wirral taxpayers would it??
Surely the "draw down" monies being used to refurbish the building is taxpayers money???
I agree the building shouldn't fall into disrepair, however, I also strongly believe it shouldn't be used to further the aims (and remunerations) of a select few - especially Davies / Adderley / Basnett and Hamid.
So much for transparency within the Council!!!!
Once again Wirral taxpayers are footing the bill. What's the Council's Chief Executive' s stance on this whole sorry affair.....or is he distancing himself from what's going on?
Come on Wirral taxpayers, lets "wake up and smell the roses" it's surely not too late to demand answers is it?
Bang on Keith

Its good to know one is not the voice in the wilderness.

These connexions may have saved former Invest wirral employees from being made to pay for the ridiculous errors of BIG and Working wirral. That is not right. with power should come responsability. Responsability means being able to show others that merit gets its reward and that connexions and error should not escape responsability.

I am very uneasy at the example this sets which enabled wirralbiz employees to tell me "the Council wont do anything". how right they were over 2 years later with no sackings and no legal actions at all. Watchers of this will just see it as "omerta", stick with the bosses , fidelity and whatever you will walk free.
[quote][p][bold]keith3028[/bold] wrote: The whole set-up of the 'new' Chamber of Commerce needs to be looked at, especially Board Members and their affiliation to the Council from the time the Chamber was Wirral Biz/Egerton House etc. The Chamber's capital wouldn't include monies from Wirral taxpayers would it?? Surely the "draw down" monies being used to refurbish the building is taxpayers money??? I agree the building shouldn't fall into disrepair, however, I also strongly believe it shouldn't be used to further the aims (and remunerations) of a select few - especially Davies / Adderley / Basnett and Hamid. So much for transparency within the Council!!!! Once again Wirral taxpayers are footing the bill. What's the Council's Chief Executive' s stance on this whole sorry affair.....or is he distancing himself from what's going on? Come on Wirral taxpayers, lets "wake up and smell the roses" it's surely not too late to demand answers is it?[/p][/quote]Bang on Keith Its good to know one is not the voice in the wilderness. These connexions may have saved former Invest wirral employees from being made to pay for the ridiculous errors of BIG and Working wirral. That is not right. with power should come responsability. Responsability means being able to show others that merit gets its reward and that connexions and error should not escape responsability. I am very uneasy at the example this sets which enabled wirralbiz employees to tell me "the Council wont do anything". how right they were over 2 years later with no sackings and no legal actions at all. Watchers of this will just see it as "omerta", stick with the bosses , fidelity and whatever you will walk free. hobroW
  • Score: 6

5:20pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Positive thinker says...

Piermaster,

Ask yourself the question did anyone else get a look in
and was it put on the open market?
Piermaster, Ask yourself the question did anyone else get a look in and was it put on the open market? Positive thinker
  • Score: 0

5:57pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Joeblogg85 says...

It must be a good thing to have a facility like this in the borough. Let's hope it proves worthwhile.
It must be a good thing to have a facility like this in the borough. Let's hope it proves worthwhile. Joeblogg85
  • Score: -5

11:14pm Thu 27 Feb 14

hobroW says...

Thy javelin again Antisthenes. it hits its mark
Pins Invest and Wirral partnership with one dart
No bureaucratic shield may guard their heart
Their objects now are seen where once were dark
Thy javelin again Antisthenes. it hits its mark Pins Invest and Wirral partnership with one dart No bureaucratic shield may guard their heart Their objects now are seen where once were dark hobroW
  • Score: 0

11:28pm Thu 27 Feb 14

PaulCa says...

The trustees of sly Invest Wirral,
Were reticent, secretive squirrels,
Who built up their stash,
By secreting our cash,
So escaped any audit referrals.
The trustees of sly Invest Wirral, Were reticent, secretive squirrels, Who built up their stash, By secreting our cash, So escaped any audit referrals. PaulCa
  • Score: 4

10:33am Fri 28 Feb 14

hobroW says...

Invest Wirral did proclaim their genius
Of many a soon broken business
Through WIN did they award
And recognition did afford
and acumen did they laud

But BUST they went , O Lord
Invest Wirral did proclaim their genius Of many a soon broken business Through WIN did they award And recognition did afford and acumen did they laud But BUST they went , O Lord hobroW
  • Score: 1

7:10pm Sat 1 Mar 14

Positive thinker says...

When are these people going to stop talking utter nonsense,maybe they should tell us about the success stories that they have had a part in and how
they warrant being paid.As for the funding of the new venture in there words
it's a grant along with capital of there own tell us more
When are these people going to stop talking utter nonsense,maybe they should tell us about the success stories that they have had a part in and how they warrant being paid.As for the funding of the new venture in there words it's a grant along with capital of there own tell us more Positive thinker
  • Score: 1

3:01pm Sun 2 Mar 14

minimad69 says...

Aha - Foulkes strikes from beyond the political grave - we were assured that they weren't keeping his pet project (new Floral) going at the expense of any other items - like Pacific Road and the libraries - now his acolyte Phil Davies confirms that actually they did close Pacific Road for that very reason - charlatans...

Can we now expect the libraries to be back in the firing line on that basis.?
Aha - Foulkes strikes from beyond the political grave - we were assured that they weren't keeping his pet project (new Floral) going at the expense of any other items - like Pacific Road and the libraries - now his acolyte Phil Davies confirms that actually they did close Pacific Road for that very reason - charlatans... Can we now expect the libraries to be back in the firing line on that basis.? minimad69
  • Score: 2

3:35pm Sun 2 Mar 14

Joeblogg85 says...

minimad69 wrote:
Aha - Foulkes strikes from beyond the political grave - we were assured that they weren't keeping his pet project (new Floral) going at the expense of any other items - like Pacific Road and the libraries - now his acolyte Phil Davies confirms that actually they did close Pacific Road for that very reason - charlatans...

Can we now expect the libraries to be back in the firing line on that basis.?
Hey Mini,

I know it is controversial but may I suggest we have rather too many Libraries for such a small peninsula!

I would suggest 2 or 3 Libraries in each Constituency would be enough.

happy blogging.....
[quote][p][bold]minimad69[/bold] wrote: Aha - Foulkes strikes from beyond the political grave - we were assured that they weren't keeping his pet project (new Floral) going at the expense of any other items - like Pacific Road and the libraries - now his acolyte Phil Davies confirms that actually they did close Pacific Road for that very reason - charlatans... Can we now expect the libraries to be back in the firing line on that basis.?[/p][/quote]Hey Mini, I know it is controversial but may I suggest we have rather too many Libraries for such a small peninsula! I would suggest 2 or 3 Libraries in each Constituency would be enough. happy blogging..... Joeblogg85
  • Score: -2

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