Gibson House redevelopment
Not only will the scheme save a much loved local landmark, but it will also provide us with the brand new accommodation we need.
Nautilus is poised to secure a major new addition to its welfare facilities for retired seafarers under plans to redevelop the Gibson House site adjoining the Mariners’ Park Estate on the banks of the river Mersey.
Following extensive discussions with planning officials and developers, a scheme has been proposed to retain the 110-year-old building while also increasing the specialist accommodation provided by the Union to former seafarers and their dependants.
The Nautilus Welfare Fund charity had been ‘reluctantly’ planning to demolish the Andrew Gibson Memorial Home — which was originally built for the widows of seafarers but had been unused for over a decade because of the severe problems in upgrading it to modern-day standards.
However, under an agreement between the Fund, Wirral Council and the developer Prospect Capital, the council and the charity will sell land to the company to create a larger and more viable site for development. As well as seeing Gibson House refurbished into apartments, retaining the existing structure, the plan will include the construction of between 26 and 28 new state-of-the-art apartments for Nautilus Welfare Fund beneficiaries in a new development overlooking the River Mersey.
The new accommodation will be available for rent, at the same charges as other properties at Mariners’ Park, and will be mainly two bedroomed apartments with a balcony, wheelchair accessibility and an open-plan kitchen. The residents will have full access to all the services and facilities at Mariners’ Park.
Detailed plans are now being drawn up and a planning application for the scheme is due to be submitted in October 2016. If the go-ahead is given, work will be carried out on a phased basis with the refurbishment of Gibson House to be carried out first and the new NWF accommodation to be completed by late 2018.
‘Much work still needs to be done to bring these plans to fruition, but we are very excited about the potential for such a “win-win” scheme,’ said Nautilus welfare services manager Mick Howarth.
‘Not only will the scheme save a much loved local landmark, but it will also provide us with the brand new accommodation we need,’ he added. ‘Demand for accommodation at Mariners’ Park continues to outstrip supply, and these additional apartments will help to reduce a waiting list which currently stands at almost 100.’
Prospect Capital managing director Craig Blackwell commented: ‘As someone born and brought up in the area, I really wanted to see this building saved. It’s such an important piece of shared history and is really cherished by people in the area because of its architecture and what it signifies in terms of the area’s maritime heritage. There was a fantastic amount of goodwill from Nautilus and Wirral Council and together we have come up with a solution that saves the building and works for all parties.'