Future of former Wirral Town Hall building and Pacific Road Arts Centre could be decided next week

THE future of two iconic Wirral buildings could be decided next week.

A number of takeover bids for Birkenhead Town Hall and Pacific Road Arts Centre, and its associated tram museum, have been submitted and are due to be considered by Wirral's cabinet committee on Wednesday evening.

Both buildings were part of Wirral council's Strategic Asset Review, in which the authority had proposed to sell off buildings across the borough.

Until recently the town hall in Hamilton Square was the venue for Wirral Museum.

Among the seven consortiums waiting to hear if their bid will be successful is a group led by Wirral-based arts campaigner John Gorman, who wants to turn the building into a museum and arts centre in memory of late Heswall-born DJ John Peel.

Mr Gorman said recently: "If we get the opportunity to run the town hall as an arts centre I would like it to be the ethos that whoever knocked on the door could come in and we could help, whether it's at community level, or creative level.

"Not just to give an opportunity to develop their talent, but to give them a job and so that they can perhaps take their talents around the world."

The Town Hall ceased to be the centre of civic activity in the 1970s, when the newly-formed Wirral Borough Council decided to use Wallasey as its base.

Its fate was sealed early this year when the controversial Strategic Asset Review recommended it should close.

A shortlist of bids from organisations hoping to take over Pacific Road will also be considered.

When the closure plan was announced, a host of performers who had performed there in recent years campaigned to keep it open.

Among them were guitarists Gordon Giltrap, Nick Harper and Jan Akkerman as well and comedians Cannon & Ball.

Impressionist Phil Cool, a frequent performer at the venue, said: "Having performed at Pacific Road over the past few years I have really appreciated the quality of this fantastic venue, with its extremely helpful and enthusiastic staff and an appreciative and supportive audience.

"I have worked in countless theatres for over 30 years the length and breadth of the country and it is one of the best I have come across.

"The people of Birkenhead and Wirral should be proud of it. If this theatre was to close it would be an absolute shame for the people of the Wirral. It needs to be kept open, at any cost."

Many community centres are also part of the asset review, and a report on the future of Heswall Hall will be presented to the cabinet on Wednesday.


Edited by _jase_ (4th Dec 2009 12:40pm)