The iconic Observatory building on top of Bidston Hill has finally been sold – but mystery over its future remains. What is especially puzzling abut the situation is that planning consent for the Grade ll listed monument lapsed in July. That means further planning applications must be made by the developers, who have yet to show their hand, although permission was in place for luxury flats. A company formed for the purchase, Bidston Observatory developments, gives its address as a firm of accountants although one of the parties involved in Wirral property developer Craig Blackwell. In the meantime the people who rent rooms in the old building remain in place. The Observatory was previously home to scientists who left for the University of Liverpool in 2004. It has taken this long for owners the National Environmental Research Council to sell it – the asking price was £350,000 at one stage but everyone appears to be keeping shtumm at the moment. In fact I wonder why these people have Twitter accounts if they are simply going to ignore messages.
It was in 2004 that scientists from Liverpool University’s Proudman Oceanographic Lab finally moved out of the building which was originally constructed for helping mariners around the world with timekeeping. More recently it was the centre for research into tides and oceans. When the boffins vacated, a security company installed guardians who paid a modest rent to live in the structure and prevent it from decay and vandalism.
As the penguin observed “It sits perched on the highest point of Wirral like an eagle with a watchful eye. The building gazes over to the city of Liverpool on one side and the North welsh hills to the other. At the bottom of the dip towards the city the relentless moving mass of the River Mersey ebbs with the Irish Sea riptide.”