A SHOPPING supremo is being brought in to transform Wirral's biggest town centre.
Whoever wins the £30,000-a-year post of Birkenhead Town Centre Manager will have to tackle crime, dereliction and negative stereotypes.
Business chiefs have begun the search for a "dynamic visionary" to boost the number of quality shops and cut the number of empty business units and derelict buildings.
The role is seen as key to the future of the town and is part of a £70,000 scheme funded by the government, through the Wirral Waterfront regeneration initiative, Wirral council and local traders.
David Ball, executive manager of Wirral Waterfront, said: "Birkenhead
needs a town centre manager because the quality of shopping and the local environment needs to be improved.
"Some of the buildings are in a very poor condition and we will never attract the kind of long-term investment we need unless action is taken.
"The manager should pull together everybody who has an interest in Birkenhead, including shoppers and visitors."
In December, the ECHO revealed 40% of people in Wirral refuse to shop in Birkenhead, preferring to travel to Liverpool and Chester instead.
Mel Glasby, director of the Pyramid shopping centre, said: "The manager will have to understand the many difficulties Birkenhead has.
"These include negative stereotypes and the fact that we cannot compete with Liverpool city centre.
"We must tackle the perception problems and start attracting investment. There is a lot to offer in Birkenhead and it's time we started to shout about it."
Deputy leader of Wirral council, Cllr Phil Davies, added: "The Town Centre Manager will be a focal point for all the queries and complaints which people have about Birkenhead.
"This is a really big step forward for us, and one which will make an immediate difference to people's quality of life."