Plans for a spooky, huge and derelict River Mersey landmark have finally been approved after a decade of trying.

Andrew Gibson House in Wirral will be transformed into over 100 plush apartments with views across to Liverpool, after proposals were approved by Wirral Council on Thursday.

Originally constructed over a century ago for the widows of sailors and men lost at sea, most of the building on Seabank Road in Wallasey will now be retained and converted.

The house itself, which has lay derelict for a decade and was in “serious jeopardy”, will become 34 apartments, with three further blocks built within the grounds to bring the total number of homes to 136.

An urban explorer who visited the mansion described it as “a bit haunted” where “you just get a weird cold feeling”.

At Wirral’s planning meeting on Thursday, councillors from all parties lauded the long-awaited scheme.

Ward member for Liscard, Bernie Mooney said: “What we have in front of us is a marvellous opportunity to restore the building. This will be quality housing in a fabulous area.

Mooney added: “One thing that’s missing in Liscard is that if you live in a big house, there’s nowhere to downsize. Something like this is desperately, desperately needed. It will enrich the area. [Plans for] the flats are absolutely beautiful.”

Committee member Cllr Ian Lewis said it was the kind of development “that proves we don’t need to build on the green belt”.

Cllr George Davies added he was “absolutely delighted with it”, while chair Cllr Steve Foulkes gave his view that it was “long overdue”.

He added: “It has taken nearly 10 years for a scheme of enough finance to actually create this.”

The heritage house narrowly escaped demolition in 2015. The council-approved development comes after a number of applications went through the planning process but didn’t come to fruition.

Andrew Gibson House was finished in 1906, and looks out over the Egremont promenade and River Mersey from its 2.8 acre site.

In addition to the full restoration of Andrew Gibson House for 34 apartments, the scheme included four detached lodge houses and three apartment buildings, one of which will provide the Nautilus Welfare Fund with 26 apartments for retired mariners.

Prospect Capital are keen to start work quickly on the scheme, starting with Andrew Gibson House, and are pledging to be on site within weeks. A total of 97 parking spaces will be provided.

It follows an agreement by Nautilus, Wirral Council and developers Prospect Capital to work together.

Mick Howarth from Nautilus Welfare Fund, said: “Andrew Gibson House is enormously important to us, and for over a century has been an integral part of our community at Mariners Park.

“It’s a beautiful piece of architecture, but it did not provide modern fit for purpose accommodation for our elderly and often infirm residents. It’s also an extremely challenging building that does not lend itself to simple or commercially viable conversion. We always needed an imaginative and bespoke solution.”