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Council set to invest in refurb of landmark building

An historic and iconic Lower Bebington landmark will benefit from an internal refurbishment thanks to a capital investment set to be announced by Wirral Council.

65 The Village, a building at the heart of Lower Bebington village instantly recognisable due its clock tower, will undergo improvements as part of a £175,000 investment which will eventually see it reopened to the public, potentially as a community café and food outlet.

The building is one of three historically significant buildings adjacent to each other within the Lower Bebington Conservation Area with close connections to the great Victorian antiquary, collector and philanthropist, Joseph Mayer.

Situated adjacent to Mayer Hall and Pennant House, 65 The Village was originally a farmhouse bought by Joseph Mayer in 1869, which he then set about remodelled and extending – which included the addition of the clock tower – in order to house his free library, that was one of the first in the country when he established it in 1866.

In 1930, the then Bebington borough council took on the full responsibility for operating the library, as well as Mayer Hall and Mayer Park and when Bebington Civic Centre opened in the early 1970s, the library services were transferred to this new building.

After that time, 65 The Village was home to Wirral Voluntary Services, but in recent years has been unoccupied and in need of essential repairs.

The bid for Council funding from its capital budget to carry out these repairs was the first step in securing a future for the building. The bid has been successful and the project is included in next year’s council budget, which is set to be debated in the coming month.

Once approved, work can get underway and discussions can continue with interested parties on how it will be operated and managed going forward.

Cllr Janette Williamson, Cabinet member for Finance and Resources, said: “These buildings are of such importance to Bebington and Wirral as a whole as they are part of the legacy of what Joseph Mayer did to enhance the lives of ordinary people in the area.

“While they are not Listed Buildings, we recognise their significance and want to see them opened up and used again by the local community.

“Because of the way we have modernised and reorganised services during these times of austerity, because we manage our finances well and take opportunities to maximise our income, we are now in a position where we can invest in things such as refurbishing the historic 65 The Village building as part of our Community Wealth Building strategy.

“I’m sure local people will welcome this work taking place and will be looking forward, as we are, to seeing it brought back into community use.”