Work set to start on new Asda supermarket in Birkenhead
A £30m new Asda superstore will be a catalyst for regeneration in Wirral’s main shopping area, council bosses said today.
Work on the Birkenhead scheme will start next month and is expected to create at least 95 construction jobs over the next year and 320 jobs when the store opens.
An ambitious building programme should see it opening in time for Christmas 2011 – a major milestone for the town, which has waited for a decade for the development to begin.
But councillors, while welcoming the long-awaited investment in Birkenhead, said it could be a difficult time for existing traders while the store is built.
Wirral council today revealed three of the town’s main car parks will be shut, two of them in the run-up to the Christmas shopping period.
Birkenhead Cllr Phil Davies said: “There will be less car parking in the short term, but I hope traders will appreciate ultimately the store will act as a magnet to bring people in to the town centre.
“The big challenge for Birkenhead is getting people to come here in the first place.”
Cllr Davies said it was “frustrating” as the scheme almost but never quite got off the ground over the past few years.
The supermarket will be built on land between Grange Road and Oliver Street, with its entrance in Grange Road.
The temporary loss of car parking will be compensated by an increase in spaces along Oliver Street from 450 now to almost 700 when it is finished, with “decking” providing an extra level of spaces, and underground car parking beneath the store.
Deputy council leader Simon Holbrook said the store “will completely transform this part of Birkenhead” and “act as a catalyst for regeneration and job creation in the area”.
He said the council will use the period of building work to arrange for “significant additional improvements to be made to the surrounding roads during the project”.
He said: “There will inevitably be some disruption whilst work is being completed. However, we have made alternative arrangements for all those affected by the works so that residents, businesses and shoppers will face as little disruption as possible and will soon benefit from a much improved environment.
“Birkenhead remains absolutely open for business during the development of this fantastic store.”
Howard Smith of Asda said it was “not just a store but a major development for the town centre”. THE ECHO