CONSERVATIONISTS failed to persuade councillors they should change their minds on the vast new Marks & Spencer flagship store proposed at Cheshire Oaks.

Plans for the “Marble Arch of the North” had unanimous approval in the borough in December, with planning chief Tom Miller authorised to grant permission subject to a green light from the Government.

It later emerged that decision was on hold as, at the time, councillors did not hear objections from Wirral Wildlife on a number of environmental issues.

A new report to a meeting of the borough's planning committee revealed it was believed the representations by the conservationists should be considered to allow councillors the chance to decide if their previous position should be altered.

Officials said they had given careful consideration to all the points raised by Wirral Wildlife but there was nothing to change their previous recommendation that the application should be approved.

The store is planned opposite The Coliseum park, close to the Blue Planet Aquarium.

It would have two floors with 24,000 sq ft of food shopping, replacing the existing Marks & Spencer Simply Food store on The Coliseum which is only a third of the size.

The 950 parking spaces include 850 for customers.

It is expected to see almost £100m going through the tills each year and £7m injecting into the local economy.

The equivalent of 400 permanent full time jobs would be provided with 150 similar jobs at Christmas.

It would be one of the largest Marks & Spencer stores in the country and would represent the largest single investment by M&S for 15 years.

Highway improvements costing in the region of £5m are proposed around junction 10 of the M53 and Cheshire Oaks.