• Holts Arcade

Civic society calls for political support in Holts Arcade fight

Merseyside Civic Society (MCS) is calling on political leaders to speak out about retaining public access to the India Buildings’ Holts Arcade.

The historic arcade will be closed off on security grounds when HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) relocates its 3,500 staff members from Bootle to the building’s upper floors.

MCS is asking Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman and Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram to write to Historic England to help save what it calls “a Liverpool landmark”.

India Buildings was designed in the American Neo-classical ‘city block style’ by Herbert Rowse and Arnold Thornely in 1923 and completed in 1930 for Alfred Holt & Co, which owned the Blue Funnel Line.

Holts Arcade was devised when Liverpool City Council insisted that if the building was to straddle two blocks then Chorley Street must remain a public thoroughfare.

Jean Grant, MCS chair, says: “Our MPs, politicians, and the authorities at the highest national level safeguarding our historic architecture, must be alerted to the serious threat of banishing the public from Holts Arcade by the HMRC.

“There is simply nowhere like it in the UK and it is one of the premier components of why Liverpool received UNESCO World Heritage Site status as the prime example of a mercantile seaport city.

“This alone is good reason for Historic England to ensure the public is allowed continued access to this architectural interior tour de force. After all, the HMRC will occupy the upper levels of India Buildings, while Holts Arcade is on the ground floor.

“Also as high-end tourism plays an increasingly important role in Liverpool’s economic revival, the last thing that the city should be doing is deliberately putting one of its incredible architectural gems out of bounds to visitors.”

About Author: Lawrence Saunders

Lawrence is a journalist at Move Publishing. He can be contacted via email at lawrence@movepublishing.co.uk or by phone on 0151 709 3871.