Wirral Council acquires Grange and Pyramids

As part of the multi-billion pound regeneration of Birkenhead, Wirral Council acquires the The Grange and The Pyramids retail centres. Tony McDonough reports

The Pyramids Shopping centre in Birkenhead


Wirral Council has taken a major step forward in its efforts to push forward the biggest regeneration of Birkenhead in decades.

Two months ago the Mars Pension Fund put the 585,000 sq ft of retail space across The Pyramids and The Grange up for sale. And the council has acted quickly to acquire the site as part of its plans that could see huge investment for the town.

In late 2021 LBN outlined the plans for the town in a special report. They include thousands of new homes, 150,000 sq ft of new office space, a new market and the  demolition of the flyovers close to Birkenhead Central Station.

A new park is also planned for a former railway line that will link Birkenhead town centre with Peel L&P’s Wirral Waters project. 

Wirral has been the most successful among the six Liverpool city region in securing cash from the Government’s levelling up funds. It has ringfenced more than £100m to kickstart the regeneration process.

When added to Wirral Waters and projects in Seacombe, Liscard and New Brighton it is estimated up to £10bn of investment could be leveraged over the next few years.

Work is already well advanced on two new office buildings in Birkenhead town centre that are due for completion this autumn. 

Wirral Growth Company, a partnership between Wirral Council and Muse, started work on the two buildings in early 2022. Funded by Canada Life to the tune of £75m, the project comprises 147,767 sq ft of office space.

The purchase of the shopping area site includes Argos and Conway Street carpark, Princes Pavements, Borough Pavements and the M&S Unit, Milton Pavement and The Pyramids.

Although the shopping centres have been acquired to facilitate wider regeneration plans, the price negotiated with Mars Pension Fund is described as a “good commercial deal” although the value wasn’t disclosed. Rental income is around £1.1m a year.

Wirral Council’s director of regeneration and place, Dave Hughes, said: “Mars Pension Fund has recently decided to sell its retail assets and focus on other types of investment.

“The council’s aim is to see new life breathed into central Birkenhead and we are confident that this ambition can be achieved through the council’s local stewardship of the asset.

“Regeneration of Birkenhead town centre and the income from the shopping centres will have wider benefits for Wirral services and regeneration of Wirral’s Left Bank area too.”


What the new Birkenhead Market could look like. Picture by BDP Mark Braund


Recent consultation on options for Birkenhead town centre regeneration looked at how the prospects for the central Birkenhead area can be improved.

There is a focus on attracting more people into the town centre, including increasing leisure, public services and better residential opportunities.

Tim Sankey, managing director of AEW, the investment manager for the Mars Pension Fund, said: “This purchase is a really positive step for Wirral council giving them control of such strategic assets.

“ We have been very impressed with the way the council has driven the process over the past two months, these are complicated assets to transact.”

Birkenhead Market in the town centre is already in council ownership, with plans moving ahead for redevelopment of the former House of Fraser Building, also in the Council’s ownership, to accommodate a new modern market.

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