Wallasey MP in call to rescue Liscard

WALLASEY MP Angela Eagle is to spearhead a meeting of traders and the council in a bid to regenerate the town’s key shopping centre.

Ms Eagle has set up a meeting of traders in Liscard following the recent announcement that supermarket giant Tesco is expected to open a new store in the town centre.

Ms Eagle said: “Tesco could be a turning point if we can seize the initiative.”

Last month Tesco unveiled plans for a Tesco Express convenience store in the former Roseby’s furniture shop in Liscard Village.

A planning application has been lodged with Wirral Council and, if permission is granted, the store could be open in just six weeks.

The declining fortunes of Liscard have come under the spotlight in recent months, with traders starting a Save Our Shops campaign to encourage shoppers to stay local rather than giving their business to Birkenhead and Liverpool.

Liscard councillor Leah Fraser has called for periods of free parking in Liscard to help small businesses through the recession.

The opening of the new shop would mark a return to Liscard for Tesco after more than 15 years.

The plans would see the existing floor space divided into two to make two separate retail units – one to be occupied by Tesco, creating 10 new jobs – six full-time posts and four part time.

Angela Eagle said parking was one of the issues, but said she wanted to see what else people wanted from the town centre. She said: “There are tough times at the moment but there will be an upturn in the economy and we will have more chance to make progress if we have our plans together.

“We need more capacity for parking and developers say they need more footfall in the town.

“If we’re going to attract the likes of Marks & Spencer back into Liscard they need to see that they will get the throughput, as they call it.”

David Ball, Wirral Council’s head of housing and regeneration, said the council had considered a number of proposals for boosting the town centre, which he described as one of Wirral’s main shopping areas.

He said suggestions to extend the pedestrianised area had been examined, but had been ruled out because it would cause major traffic problems in surrounding residential areas.

Mr Ball said the authority was trying to bring traders together to market themselves together and attract more people into the town with a “shop local” campaign.

He said the council had a parking policy, but it was an issue which could be looked at.

He added: “Parking is something that could be played around with.”