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The matter was scheduled to be debated by the budget cabinet earlier this month, but a procedural problem meant it was withdrawn.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

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