PLANS for a cinema, arts centre and shops in Hoylake's former town hall building have been submitted to the council.

If approved, it would see the development housed inside the Edwardian building on Albert Road.

It would feature a small one or two-screen cinema/arts space with associated cafe/bistro, fine dining restaurant, atrium cafe/bar with small retail units around a central courtyard.

There would also be further retail units for artists and makers, and 40 apartments on four levels above the ground floor.

There has been a significant reaction to the plans from the local community, with 142 official supporting statements and just eight objecting submitted to council.

The Hoylake Beacon steering group – a group of volunteers facilitating the project – said hundreds more have written to them, endorsing the plans.

It said that support has included a number of famous faces, including current James Bond Daniel Craig and David Bradley – best known for playing Billy Casper in the 1969 film Kes, directed by Ken Loach.

In a letter released by the Hoylake Beacon group, Mr Bradley described it as a "golden opportunity", adding: "I am hugely excited to hear of the future aspirations surrounding the Hoylake Beacon project, and how it has been progressing.

"This project will deliver much more than new arts, entertainment and food and drink facilities.

"It will revitalise and inspire a community for generations to come."

The project has also received backing from Patricia Kelly, widow of the late Hollywood star Gene Kelly and creative director of the Singing in the Rain actor's legacy.

In a letter to Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood, she said: "This important project will bring the Victorian Town Hall in Hoylake back into operation, will provide valuable learning skills for young people and sustainable employment for many in various creative and business capacities in the community."

Her support comes after she had previously worked with the volunteer-run Hoylake Community Cinema on "several tributes" to Gene.

She added: "I realize this is a hugely ambitious plan, but that, too, is something Gene would appreciate.

"I am confident that the people behind the project are up to task."

The news comes two years after similar plans to transform the Hoylake Lifeboat Museum fell through due to a "land issue", with developers told the site was "unavailable".

It is hoped the new plans for the Old Town Hall, built in 1898, will not face the same problems, and that it could open in autumn next year.

Wirral Chamber of Commerce is also backing the move, describing the location for the project as "perfect".

The owners of the building are Hylgar Properties Ltd, with designs done by architects Falconer Chester Hall.

The original building, including the original fire engine house entrance, would be retained in the development.

Documents supporting the plans say the site is close to the council-owned 200-space car park, also lying within the Hoylake Conservation Area.

The project would provide "at least" 60 jobs, as well as generating annual revenues of £60,000 in council tax, £60,000 business rates plus a new homes bonus of £200,000 over the first four years.

The cinema would screen the latest releases as well as live streamed entertainment and a range of films including specialist, independent and documentaries.

The bar would have live entertainment including music, comedy, dance and theatre, with the restaurant offering guests fine dining.

It is hoped to attract 120,000 visitors a year, with support also coming from Ms Greenwood and City Region Mayor Steve Rotherham.