PLANS to regenerate Birkenhead town centre have moved a step closer.
A "rejuvenated" market, good quality homes and leisure services were contained within the plans approved by Wirral Council's cabinet.
Key developments in Moreton and Bromborough were also approved.
Cllr Pat Hackett, leader of Wirral Council, said: "In Birkenhead with these plans we are witnessing the renaissance and the rebirth of our main commercial district on a scale not seen since the town was built in the days of Laird.
"We only have to look at New Brighton when we are all working together on this council to see that change can be made and can be successful.
"That's a prime example, on a much smaller scale to this huge regeneration which we're about to see over the next couple of years."
Cllr Hackett, who also announced he will be stepping down as council leader this year, added that these plans on brownfield sites will be crucial in helping to protect the greenbelt and deliver more council tax revenue.
He said this is vital if core services like social care are to be protected.
The meeting pushed forward the regeneration of Birkenhead, as well as developments on two sites in Moreton – Pasture Road and the former Foxfield School, and Old Hall Road in Bromborough.
The plans have been brought forward by the Wirral Growth Company (WGC)- a joint venture between Wirral Council and urban regeneration specialists Muse Developments.
They will now go to a public consultation.
In Birkenhead, a 'masterplan' is set to deliver a new market, 700 apartments and townhouses, a hotel and up to 300 car parking spaces around the town centre.
As well as this, the town will benefit from up to 500,000 square feet of office space and 36,000 square feet of shops and leisure facilities.
A council report said the development will help to reverse the "slow decline" of parts of the town centre.
A location for the new market has not yet been decided, but a number of sites are being explored, with the most likely being the former Marks and Spencer’s premises and the site of the current market.
The report added: "The introduction of much needed residential development in the form of town houses and new build apartments will bring residents and consumers back into the town centre and help to support the evening economy.
"The wider aspirations of the masterplan will see the new development spread to the north along Europa Boulevard through the introduction of high-quality homes into the town centre.
"This development will reach out to connect with the historic centre of Birkenhead at Hamilton Square and must link in with wider initiatives for the town.
"[Which include] Wirral Waters and the future redevelopment of the Woodside waterfront area, whilst constantly reinforcing connections to the civic and retail heart at the core of the town centre."
Public squares, event spaces and "pedestrian friendly streets" will link the new development to the existing network and key modes of transport.
Work on the office space will begin in February next year and is set to be completed by January 2023.
The new market will be constructed from February 2022 and if progress stays on track, the market will also be completed by January 2023.
In Moreton, the former Foxfield School in Douglas Drive will be redeveloped for family housing, for which the council think demand will be high.
A large variety of houses will be on offer, with two, three and four bedroom houses to be put on the market.
Around 69 homes will be built and at least one in five will fall within the "affordable" bracket.
Builders will be on site by the summer or the autumn at the latest, with completion set for autumn 2022.
Also in Moreton, a partially derelict food store on Pasture Road will be redeveloped.
Part of the site will go towards creating a new single-story food store.
On the rest of the large site a care home, family housing and a youth or community facility – yet to be decided on, will be built.
The care facility will have around 60 bedrooms and a number of two, three and four bedroom houses will be created. The exact amount of homes has not been finalised.
The plan will also see the town’s library and health centre retained.
But progress on this site will not get going until the land has been sold to external developers, this will happen in a number of steps between December this year and May of next year.
In Bromborough, 20 acres of vacant brownfield land on Old Hall Road, previously used by the Ministry of Defence is to be brought back into use.
There is a lot of work to do to make the land viable for house building – including constructing a new access road, so specific plans on the numbers and types of houses to be built are not yet available.