EFFORTS to preserve a Birkenhead flat described as "a living palace of outsider art" have taken a further positive step.

Located on Silverdale Road, the ground floor flat, affectionally referred to as ‘Ron’s Place’, was turned into an extraordinary gallery by its former resident, Ron Gittens, who filled it with giant sculptures, murals, and other various artworks, including a minotaur and a three metre high lion’s head fireplace.

Ron died in 2019, aged 79, and it was not until his death that the extraordinary interior of his rented flat came to light.

Campaigners have worked tirelessly to save the property and hopes were raised last year that the flat could be saved after it was purchased at auction by a charitable trust.

It is now hoped the flat can gain Listed Building status after it was visited earlier this month by members of the Historic England Advisory Committee (HEAC).

Martin Wallace, Wirral Arts and Culture Community Land Trust (WACCLT) trustee and advocate for Ron’s Place, said: "We initially launched our application for Listing as a way to scare off potential buyers when the building was suddenly put up for sale back in February 2023.

"The truth is, merely applying for Listed status doesn’t give a building any protection at all, but our tactic worked, and some potential buyers were sufficiently concerned about the potential for red tape that they didn’t bother to bid against us at auction.

"Then, in mid-April, after our initial paper submission, officers from the North West arm of Historic England (HE) made a visit and wrote a detailed report that seemed to us to be very favourable.

"Usually, by now, we would have had a decision about an application. However, because Ron’s Place is such an unusual site, with no precedents and few meaningful comparisons, HE decided they could only make a proper decision by allowing members from HEAC to see it for themselves and hear more about how Ron’s Place fits with other ‘outsider’ environments, both nationally and internationally."

The HEAC will now meet in February to consider presentations from the various HE regions about all the applications they are recommending. If HEAC then makes a positive recommendation, the final decision is made by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, which is currently Liz Fraser MP.

"There’s still a way to go," added Martin. "But we’re feeling hopeful and that gives a tingly glow. Please cross your fingers and toes for us.”