PLANS to move Birkenhead Market to a new temporary site at St Werburghs Square could be altered, a Wirral Council meeting heard last night.

Many traders have slammed the proposed move in recent weeks, with some arguing it will destroy the market which has been a key feature of Birkenhead since 1835.

Until last week, the plan to move to St Werburghs Square was supposed to be approved at last night's Economy, Regeneration and Development Committee meeting.

However, the vote on this proposal was deferred due to the widespread concerns of traders.

A meeting attended by traders, Birkenhead MP Mick Whitley, local councillors and council officers was held on Friday, May 28, to discuss the future of the town's market.

At that meeting, stall owners were given a point of contact to direct their concerns and ideas for alternative market sites to.

Speaking at last night’s council meeting, Conservative councillor Andrew Hodson wanted to know how this process was going.

Sally Shah, Wirral Council’s acting chief regeneration officer, said: “We’ve set up, as we agreed at the meeting, an email address where all of the traders can email us with any suggestions around alternative options.

"We have received some suggestions already and we are looking into those.

"We are also, as agreed this week, prioritising going back to all the options we originally explored to see whether any circumstances have changed which might make a difference to the situation and we could perhaps consider those sites as options.

"So that work’s being done this week.

"We would intend to communicate back to traders next week."

Newly-elected Green Party councillor Emily Gleaves, who represents Birkenhead and Tranmere, said it was great that officers and councillors were able to meet with traders and that she felt it was the most anyone had listened to stall holders in the last two years.

But Labour councillor Tony Jones, who chaired last night’s committee meeting, said: "You may or may not be aware, in fact it probably occurred before you were elected.

"Both the previous [council] leader and myself in the role as cabinet member for regeneration actually made several visits to the market and engaged quite comprehensively with the majority of those traders who were there on Friday night."

In reply, Cllr Gleaves added: "I’ve actually worked on that site for six years. I had a stall there for three years and I’ve not seen anyone.

"So from my point of view the communication just wasn’t that great, but I am just being grateful of the fact that people are getting listened to now.

"But I hadn’t seen anyone for three years since I was there."

Cllr Jones suggested that his visits may have occurred when Cllr Gleaves was not at the market or he may have inadvertently missed her.

The Labour councillor assured the committee that the visits he spoke of did take place.