So two of Wirral’s prominent landmarks have been ‘saved’ by developers eager to plough resources into these two little goldmines. Bidston Observatory and Andrew Gibson House have been snapped up by two companies called Bidston Observatory Developments and Prospect Capital. The directors of both concerns are Craig Blackwell and Jason Woltman.
Funny thing is, these buildings have been unloved for donkeys’ years. If they were such an attraction you would imagine developers would have been queuing up to buy them. Not a bit of it.
The Observatory was first put on the market in 2004 by its owners the National Environment Research Council. They even resorted to obtaining planning permission for conversion to flats – still no takers. Then mysteriously, after planning permission lapsed, up popped Bidston Observatory Developments. The building still has no planning consent, and as many developers have noted, its listed status means the cost of conversion would be astronomical.
Then we have the former retired seafarers’ home on the prom in Egremont, Andrew Gibson House. This rambling, derelict edifice was due to be pulled down as it has become a gigantic eyesore. After a public outcry, Wirral Council announced someone has been daft, I mean brave, enough to acquire it. I can’t imagine it would have cost too much although the Council have generously thrown in some extra land (Wonder what that might be worth in future?) The Monster House will be turned into flats as wellas accommodation for the seamen’s union Nautilus.
I look forward to the submission of plans for these two iconic buildings. As for them actually happening, call me cynical but……watch this space.