PLANS to transform a former hotel and tax office in Birkenhead into luxury apartments with views across the Mersey will move a step closer to reality with further permission to be approved next week.

The ground floor of Birchen House in Birkenhead is set to be given planning permission to turn into five apartments if Wirral councillors give the go-ahead at their meeting next week.

It will mean three one-bed and two two-bedroom apartments with pedestrian and vehicle access from Bridge Street and parking to the rear of the site.

And it comes after plans were approved in 2015 for 62 more apartments on the five-storey site – which are currently under construction. The development is set to be named Mersey View Residence.

The building on Hamilton Street, which was previously HMRC offices, still retains some parts of the original Grade II-listed Pier Hotel, which dates back to the pre-1900s.

The part of the building up for consideration by planners has remained vacant for “over ten years”, and currently has permission to be a cafe or pub – but with councillors’ approval next week that will all change.

Ross Wellman, commercial director of Vincents Solicitors, who have been appointed to act on apartment sales, previously said: “There’s a real buzz about Birkenhead and we’re confident the apartments will prove popular with buyers, especially anyone wanting to take advantage of the commuter links into Liverpool, living 10 minutes from the centre for a fraction of the price of a similar sized property over the river.”

The scheme, run by Crossfield Group, is worth £2.1m in total.

David Cain, director of Crossfield, added: “We identified the scheme as a great opportunity to add value and provide a return for our investors, while also helping to kick-start the regeneration of this often overlooked part of Merseyside.”

He said he was “extremely pleased” at the initial interest in the apartments, and expected them to sell “quickly” at between £64,000 and £140,000.