A three-year venture to sweep away Victorian hospital buildings and replace them with a modern medical facility and community centre is nearing completion.

The new St Catherine’s complex will be a key element of the long-term master plan for Higher Tranmere.

A major new retail development was opened in the area this month and the new medical project – complete with pharmacy and community centre – is due to open this spring.

The new development will provide outpatient clinics, minor surgery facilities, two GP surgeries, a pharmacy and health and lifestyle advice.

Following consultations with Birkenhead History Society historic items on the site are being retained, including the gate house, entrance arch, a cornerstone, decorative feature plaque and a door headstone.

Further consultations with local community groups identified a community resource centre as a main priority for the site, to provide a community hub and help integrate the scheme into the local area.

As a result the lodge will be refurbished and extended to provide a building to cater for a variety of purposes from meeting to keep fit classes.

A spokesman for NHS Wirral said: “When completed this will be a fantastic facility offering much-needed services to the people of Wirral in a 21st century healthcare setting.”

St Catherine’s started life in 1861 as the Birkenhead Union Workhouse, housing 500 people. In 1866 the site was developed to include a workhouse hospital on the south of the site.

Between 1911 and 1913 the original workhouse hospital was replaced by two new hospital pavilions and an administration block.

The majority buildings recently demolished on the site were more than a century old..