Work to begin on stalled £20m Wirral residential project

Prospect Capital’s £20m plan to restore an Edwardian mansion and former home for retired seafarers close to Wirral waterfront stalled due to a wrangle over a public footpath. Tony McDonough reports

Andrew Gibson House
Craig Blackwell, Prospect Capital, left, and Mick Howarth, Nautilus, at Andrew Gibson House. Picture by Gareth Jones


Work is finally starting on a delayed £20m project to transform an Edwardian mansion and former home for retired seafarers in Wirral into a new residential development.

In 2018, Wirral developer Prospect Capital put forward a plan to restore Andrew Gibson House, close to the Mersey at Egremeont as part of a scheme comprising apartments, townhouses and purpose-built accommodation for retired seafarers.

The site’s former owners Nautilus Welfare Fund had 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.

The project to the historic property, part of the Mariner’s Park Estate, on the Wallasey Waterfront was supported by local politicians, heritage campaigners and a public petition with more than 6,000 signatures.

Nautilus, a local registered charity serving seafarers and their dependants, backed Prospect’s plan to convert it  apartments. Wirral Council’s planning committee gave its consent. However, work was stalled due to legal delays processing an application to reroute the footpath running across the development site.

Now a decision by the Secretary of State for Transport to approve the rerouting and improvement of the footpath means the project can finally go ahead. Craig Blackwell from Prospect, said: “This is a massive relief and great news that we are now able to start work.

Andrew Gibson House
An image showing how the Andrew Gibson House scheme would look


“Work was due to start at the end of last year, but we were unable to begin until the footpath issue was resolved, and we had certainty that the development would be able to go ahead. Everyone has worked really hard to save the building, so we want to get on with the project as quickly as possible and safeguard the future of a much-loved landmark.”

The project included a new path with an additional public footway linking Blenheim Road directly to Egremont Promenade. But the application to reroute the public footpath from Maddock Road to Blenheim Road was opposed by two residents.

The initial application process was aborted due to the COVID-19 lockdown, with the new application finally approved earlier this month. The first phase of work will see the restoration of Andrew Gibson House and four detached new homes on adjacent to the main building.

The subsequent phases including the new accommodation block for Nautilus will start following the completion of the restoration. Mick Howarth, welfare service manager for Nautilus, added: “There is huge affection for the building locally in recognition of its iconic and historical significance.

“From the outset we have been keen to ensure the building’s future and work with partners to achieve that objective. We were delighted to work with Prospect Capital and Wirral Council on an imaginative and sensitive scheme that saves the building and provides much needed new accommodation and investment in the area.”

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