In January 2014 an application to alter the front of the Gastro building in Liverpool Road was referred back for clarification. The proposal to put in a new entrance door, access ramp and ATM cash dispenser was opposed by village traders and two ward councillors. A petition of objection was signed by 2,971 residents.
Although there was no reference to a supermarket in the planning agenda, Cllr Ian Brodie-Brown said that the application was preparing the historic building for the arrival of a Sainsbury’s Local store.
Malcolm Browne, speaking on behalf of New Birkdale Traders Association, said: “Birkdale village is a designated conservation area. Planners have seen the village and will have noticed the Victorian image. It is quite unique in that it has over 50 small independent businesses in and around the village centre. At certain times of the day, the village is already overrun with delivery trucks to the shops, the Labour club, the Spar supermarket