THE refurbishment of Birkenhead's iconic Priory – Merseyside's oldest building - has earned the team behind it a prestigious building conservation award.

Birkenhead Priory Conservation Repairs were named regional winner of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors' Building Conservation Award during a ceremony at the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool last night.

The group - a partnership comprising Ainsley Gommon Architects, Paragon Construction, Peter Willmouth Consulting, and Aura Conservation –  had restored the listed buildings on the priory site and improved visitor facilities, including access, parking, the undercroft museum and St Mary's tower.

The judges praised the successful cooperation between passionate and knowledgeable volunteers, skilled craftsmen and Wirral Council, who supported the project.

They also acknowledged this united approach had revitalised Birkenhead Priory and provided wider views over Wirral and Liverpool which they said will hopefully attract more visitors.

Chair of judges for the RICS Awards, North West, Will Rees, director at Rees Straw Chartered Surveyors said: "Prior to this project to restore and conserve it, Birkenhead Priory had gone through a long period of decline.

"It is now oasis of calm in a busy world which offers a unique insight into the town of Birkenhead and its historical and spiritual importance to the development of Wirral.

"The team behind it should be incredibly proud as they have shown just what is achievable with an innovative and collaborative approach".

The winners of all eight individual categories are as follows:

  • Building Conservation - Birkenhead Priory Conservation Repairs, Birkenhead
  • Commercial - One Cathedral Square, Blackburn
  • Community Benefit - Crewe Lifestyle Centre, Crewe
  • Design through Innovation - Oldham Town Hall, Oldham 
  • Infrastructure - Ordsall Chord (Northern Hub), Manchester
  • Regeneration – Oldham Town Hall, Oldham
  • Residential - Hayescroft, Manchester
  • Tourism & Leisure - Workington Leisure Centre, Workington 

All category winners will go on to compete against other regional winners at the national RICS Awards Grand Final on November 2 in London, for the chance to be crowned the overall UK winner in their respective category.