The developer behind Liverpool’s Lime Street regeneration plans says it is time to “get on with remaking one of our most important streets” following a Court of Appeal decision on the scheme.
Neptune Developments is looking to press ahead with its mixed-use transformation of the city’s gateway area after the court rejected a bid yesterday (2 August) to overturn planning permission by campaigners SAVE Britain’s Heritage.
By yesterday evening, Lime Street was already being cordoned off around the Futurist site with a demolition firm starting work on the building.
The proposed £39 million scheme for the area, which originally secured planning permission in September 2015 and has been designed by architect Broadway Malyan, features student accommodation as well as commercial, retail and leisure space and a hotel for the eastern side of the street.
SAVE Britain’s Heritage has been opposed to the demolition of buildings including the historic façade of the former Futurist Cinema to make way for the project, while Liverpool City Council and the developer have said it would not be possible to save the front of the old picture house due to its poor structural condition following years or deterioration.
Lord Justice Sales and Lord Justice Lindblom yesterday (2 August) dismissed SAVE Britain’s Heritage’s appeal for a Judicial Review, which suggested the local authority had breached planning guidance by failing to notify the Department for Culture Media and Sport as well as UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, and agreed with a January 2016 ruling that the council had acted appropriately.
Steve Parry, managing director of Neptune Developments, says: “The new high quality facades of Lime Street will have a depiction of the Futurist and Lime Street in its heyday and we are pressing on with the planning of the ABC to lift both sides of the street and create a fitting entrance to our city.
“It really is time now to move on and get on with remaking one of our most important streets.”
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson also welcomed the decision and adds: “It is now almost a year since we granted this scheme planning permission, and due to the legal action this scheme has been in limbo, meaning Lime Street, one of the city’s key gateway routes, has not had the investment that it so desperately needed.
“We must now crack on as soon as possible with enabling the developers to deliver on their vision for the area, bringing it up to a much higher standard than it has been for decades, and one that is fitting for a major entry point into the city centre.”
Responding to the Court of Appeal ruling, SAVE president Marcus Binney says: “We recognise the good work done in Liverpool on buildings at risk recently, including the repair and conversion of Jesse Hartley’s north warehouse at Stanley Dock to a hotel and conference centre; the conversion of the Royal Insurance Building and the White Star Line Building, both long vacant, as hotels; the restoration and conversion of St Andrew’s Church, Rodney Street as student accommodation and the repair and conversion of the former Conservative Club on Dale Street as a hotel. Yet we continue to believe that the major demolition of Lime Street and a new dull 11-storey tower will be a gross intrusion into the historic townscape.”