THESE are the crucial details about what’s actually going to happen to a Birkenhead town centre cinema bought by the council for over £7m.

It was revealed in budget papers this week that Wirral Council had bought the seven-screen Vue Cinema for £7.1m, with cabinet set to approve the purchase when it meets on Monday.

But what has now become clear is that the plans will involve knocking down the building in Conway Park as part of the £1bn wider regeneration set to transform the struggling town.

Those plans also include a completely new purpose-built market with the current one also expected to be demolished, and other exciting proposals such as a new leisure centre, offices and homes. That’s all alongside thousands of new jobs, with the council claiming the impact on Birkenhead will be “massive”.

It’s not yet known whether the proposals, initially announced last year, include another cinema.

A planning application is expected to be submitted “within a year”, although further time scales for when the ambitious project will be completed have not yet been announced.

The council said the money used to buy the cinema is with loans only available to authorities “such as ourselves”. It’s only to be used for capital projects and cannot be used to fund services, and it’s hoped the investment will mean revenue generated to help pay for services and replace funding lost by the government’s austerity measures.

So far, the plan has seen the authority retake the leasehold for Birkenhead Market and buy Europa Buildings, giving it a “massive footprint of land”. The entire £1bn project will see the council work with developers Muse to “radically re-think what Birkenhead town centre will be like for residents and visitors, through Wirral Growth Company.”

Cllr Angela Davies, cabinet member for jobs and growth, said: “Among the outline plans being drawn up, a key element will see grade-A office space built which will bring more than 2,000 workers into Birkenhead’s town centre every day. The impact on the immediate retail area of locating this many additional workers in the town centre will be massive.

“This is in addition to a building a new leisure centre, retail units and a purpose built market which will all help make Birkenhead a destination in the truest sense of the word.

“And more than this, the building work will quickly trigger the creation of hundreds of new jobs and apprenticeships, with the focus on ensuring the maximum amount will be local labour and companies.”

Cllr Davies said a decade of austerity had seen local government finance “one of the areas hit hardest”.

She added: “In Wirral we can be proud that despite losing more than half of our funding from central government we have, through careful financial management and investments, managed to protect front-line services from the worst of these constantly dwindling resources. For example, we are one of the few councils to avoid library closures – instead investing in them, while we have also ploughed resources heavily in children’s social care and protected resources for the most vulnerable in our community.

“But this is only possible because Wirral Council has sought out new and creative ways to ensure the authority can generate income from its assets – and Wirral Growth Company will be at the very forefront of this.

“But the benefits will also be more tangible. This is an investment which will pay off and support the work Wirral Council does day in, day out – and we expect the dividend for council tax payers from Wirral Growth Company will be £5.5m towards front-line services just next year and tens of millions over the next five years.”