A WIRRAL councillor says the local authority has “serious questions to answer” after last night’s King Street building collapse.

Two boarded-up shops with unoccupied flats above came tumbling down at around 7.50pm, spilling rubble and debris across the road and causing nearby householders to be evacuated from their homes.

An adjoining building was demolished this morning as it was structurally damaged and unsafe.

The collapse created a major incident for the emergency services to deal with – and although the cause has yet to be ascertained, eyebrows were raised when it emerged the owner of the derelict Wallasey terrace was Wirral Council.

The authority bought the property with money supplied by the Government’s Housing Market Renewal Initiative six years ago.

But any “renewal” work had failed to begin by the time the two buildings fell into the street last night.

This morning, Wirral’s chief executive Graham Burgess and its cabinet member for housing Cllr George Davies issued statements praising emergency services and the council for the speedy way the incident had been dealt with.

Councillor Davies refused to be drawn over a flurry of social media comments claiming the buildings had been “left to rot.”

He would only say an inquiry into the cause was underway and “it would not be helpful” to comment further.

Wallasey councillor Leah Fraser said: “The emergency services deserve our full praise for their immediate, professional and quick response.

“The council on the other hand have serious questions to answer as to why they allowed a property they own to become so dilapidated.

“Of course we don’t know if this shocking state of disrepair played a part in the buildings crashing down, but many people in the area suspect that it did.

“In any event, the question remains, why did the council allow these building to become so run down?

“Why have they just been left to fall further and further into disrepair?

"Why had no regeneration work been undertaken?

“Instead of the council patting themselves on the back for acting so swiftly, they should be given a big kick for being so complacent.”

Labour leader of the council, Cllr Phil Davies, was astounded by Cllr Fraser's attack: "If she'd done her homework she would have found the reason this scheme never progressed is because her Government cut the entire housing renewal inititiative funding out from under us.

"Wirral used to get £10m per year from the initiative, and several millions were earmarked specifically for the Egremont area.

"And then, in 2011, the whole programme was just scrapped.

"So the answer to all her questions is simple: The regeneration never happened because of the Tory Government."