Andrew Gibson House, a former home for the widows of seafarers close to the Mersey at Egremeont, will form the centrepiece of the scheme by developer Prospect Capital. Tony McDonough reports
An Edwardian mansion in Wirral that was a former home for the widows of seafarers is to be restored and transformed in a new £20m development.
Andrew Gibson House, close to the Mersey at Egremeont, will form the centrepiece of the scheme by developer Prospect Capital, comprising apartments, townhouses and purpose-built accommodation for retired seafarers.
The site’s former owners Nautilus Welfare Fund has been trying to find a use for the building following its closure and has been the subject of a number of stalled rescue and renovation plans.
Now, following an agreement by Nautilus, Wirral Council and Prospect Capital to work together, a viable restoration scheme has now secured the go-ahead from Wirral Council’s planning committee and work could begin in weeks.
The Wallasey-born managing director of Prospect, Craig Blackwell, said: “Nobody wanted to see this building demolished, and as a local, I was keen to work with Nautilus and Wirral to see whether a deliverable scheme, acceptable to all parties could be brought forward.
“There has been fantastic goodwill and co-operation, and I think this is a win/win solution. It’s taken time to refine the details of this scheme, and I’m delighted that it has won the backing of councillors and the local community.”
In addition to the full restoration of Andrew Gibson House for 34 apartments, the scheme included four detached lodge houses and three apartment buildings, one of which will provide the Nautilus Welfare Fund with 26 apartments for retired mariners.
Mick Howarth from Nautilus Welfare Fund, added: “Andrew Gibson House is enormously important to us, and for over a century has been an integral part of our community at Mariners Park.
“It’s a beautiful piece of architecture, but it did not provide modern fit for purpose accommodation for our elderly and often infirm residents. It’s also an extremely challenging building that does not lend itself to simple or commercially viable conversion. We always needed an imaginative and bespoke solution.”