A decision is expected on plans to develop new community facilities at Liverpool’s Strawberry Field.
The Salvation Army Trustee Company is looking to build a training centre for young adults with learning disabilities as well as a visitor centre, community café and gift shop at the site made famous by The Beatles.
The proposed training centre would include facilities such as activity spaces and associated staff and trainee areas, accommodating 40 young adults who would be supervised by approximately eight staff.
According to a document to be discussed by Liverpool City Council’s planning committee on 14 November, the visitor centre would provide work and experience opportunities for users of the training centre, and an exhibition area would display information about the Salvation Army and John Lennon’s association with the site. The original Strawberry Field gates would also be on show.
If given the go-ahead existing 1970s buildings at the Beaconsfield Road site in Woolton, which were formerly used as a children’s home until 2005, would be demolished to make way for the scheme and vehicle access would also be reconfigured.
Previous plans to transform the site for the same uses were approved in 2014, however the Salvation Army has since revised the proposals to make a number of changes including an increase in visitor facilities to “create further employment opportunities for young people with learning disabilities,” the inclusion of a new pedestrian gate which would enable the existing Strawberry Field gates to remain closed for photo opportunities, and a reduction in training facilities area by leaving out a cycle workshop and technology suite and incorporating the training kitchen into the main kitchen.
Recommending the project for approval, the planning report adds: “[The interim planning officer] remains to agree with the conclusions reached during the assessment of the earlier redevelopment scheme in 2014 that despite a marginal loss of green space across the site as a whole, the proposal responds positively to the distinctiveness of the site characteristics, its layout, architectural language and the cultural and historical association of the site and in particular the gates with The Beatles and John Lennon.
“In addition, he also remains satisfied that the amenity of the surrounding area would not be excessively harmed and that important and attractive features such as the substantial sandstone boundary walls and part of the landscaped grounds and woodland groups are being reinstated and enhanced.
“As such, he is of the same view to that in 2014 that the proposal complies with the relevant policies for the protection of character of the area, residential amenity, highway and pedestrian safety and trees and landscaping whilst enhancing the site as an important cultural visitor attraction for the city.”