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Old February 19th, 2008, 02:12 PM   #1
Heart and Soul
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NCH Capital Development | Hope Street/Myrtle Street | 345 Student Flats and Commercial Space

Hiya All,

Though I have read the threads on this site with great interest over the past few months I am new to posting a thread so hope I am doing this right.

I live in Liverpool city centre and renovated a derelict Georgian building on Mount Pleasant which I then ran as a restaurant Heart and Soul and absolutely adore the city.

I love walking the streets looking at the buildings, the scenery, the people ,the ever changing sky and watching the new developments. In my travels round the city I try and keep track of what is going on either through my many friends who are involved in one way or other with redevopment, preservation or culture or through the planning office and sites such as this.

Living in the city, many of these developments impinge directly on my life some in a good way and some bad but until now I have kept my council to myself, not being an expert in these matters and hoping against hope that the planners have some as yet unseen plan that will make everything right.

However, as days go by I realise I am living in a dream world. There is no divine plan, so now I would like to say something and would like to enlist your help.

A number of my friends have been instrumental in the regeneration and rebirth of the Hope Street area as a cultural centre. They have done this on an entirely voluntary basis and in face of opposition from the powers that be who now take the credit for the hard work my friends, ordinary but extraordinarily determined people , put in to transform the area. Though that is galling, my friends and I realise that is the way of the world and had trusted that having been given a good thing, the powers that be would respect that.

Having looked at the plans submitted by Maghull Devlopments for three buildings on Hope Street it seems that no respect is due or acknowleged.
While I understand the rationale behind planning policy which trys to encourage people to live and work in the city centre or visit it I do believe that it is not just appartments, hotels and office and retail space that is required.

As a citizen of the city I can see that 'mixed' developments are not attracting or providing the amenities that I would expect in a major city. I feel short changed. I don't have what I need to live and I can't be the only one. By amenities I don't just mean shops, I also mean access to culture, the arts , music, local initiatives, everything that makes life bearable.
I understand that to encourage developers they need to be able to make a profit and appartments, hotels, retail units and offices probably give the best return but does that make for good planning?

When renovating my Georgian building I was rightly restricted as it is grade two listed and in a conservation area. In order to satisfy those requirements I had to spend much more than I would ordinarily have had to. No one asked me if I had the budget to make that extre effort and I had to make the choice to save that building or walk away and find a more 'profitable' building.

Hope Street has become a cultural centre and I strongly feel that some restrictions should be put in place on further developments within that area over and above how individual buildings are developed. It is the context that those building , within the area that is important. I realise that this may not bring developers the biggest profits but if they choose to develop in an area of character maybe that is the decision they should be asked to make.

Considering Maghull's plans for a 65 room boutique hotel, the redevopment of the former college of art into 40 appartments and retail/office development/ new build on the Josephine Butler site, it strikes me that little account has been taken of how these uses fit in with the ethos of Hope Street.

Hope Street has no need for further accomodation.The surrounding streets prove that. There are far more appropriate sites for yet more appartments. Hope Street does not need offices and retail. Again,there are far more appropriate places for those and in any case there is easy accessibilty already to the same facilities. Appartments, retail and offices are not going to attract people to stay in the proposed boutique hotel.

Hope Street is being feted as a cultural quarter, so in my humble opinion any development should be obliged to acknowledge and encourage that. Hope Street is a model of design so again any new build should be either a fitting icon or follow principles of conservation. Luckily number 58 and 68 are listed but the proposed new build on the Josephine Butler site is neither iconic nor in sympathy with the rest of the street.

So, what do I think should happen? Of course Maghull have to make a profit but should they be allowed to 'plan' an area as important as Hope Street?
Having acquired three substantial plots I feel there should be some obligation to further the aspirations of Hope Street as a cultural quarter. We have the Philharmonic Hall for music, then there are the theatres and cathedrals. There is LIPA to encourage performing arts so, why not look at the former use of number 68, as a college of art and require at least one of the buildings to enourage art. maybe an international gallery or academy. Of course this will not bring the quick and easy profits Maghull would like but there are still profits to be made and maybe that should be the cost of deciding to develop in an area like Hope Street.

Then, there is the Josephine Butler site. Again a quick ,easy build is Magull's understandable aim but surely not at the cost of the rest of the street. I realise that there is little to formally object to given the planning regulations but Hope Street is like a painting that needs retoration. No one would repair a Picasso with red marker pen.

Having said all this I have no idea how to change anything, The planning regulations are as they are and of course Maghull are entitled to rely on them.

So, does anyone have any ideas? Does anyone agree with me. If so, can we make a difference?

I myself am copying this onto the consultation eform on www.liverpool.gov.uk and also emailing planningandbuildingcontrol@liverpool.gov.uk.
I cannot see any way to formally object on the planning website and I doubt anyway that there are any means of objecting in the way I am suggesting.

I would be grateful for advice if someone knows better.

If you do also want to object the planning application numbers are as below:

07F/3278 for 58 Hope Street, Hahneman House L1 9BZ. Conversion to 65 room boutique hotel.

07F/3276 and 07L/3277 for 68 Hope Strett L1 9EB,the former college of art. Conversion to 40 appartments.

07F/3272 for Josephine Butler House, Hope Street/Myrtle Street L1 9B. Demolition/ new build as offices and retail.

Apologies for rambling on. I am just so glad to have found this forum of people who so obviously care about the city I love.

Much love xx
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Old March 1st, 2008, 07:30 PM   #2
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I understand your anxiety, Heart & Soul, but the reality is that this developer has bought 4 redundant building from John Moores University which would become derelict properties if somebody did not do something with them.

As I understand it, Maghull is proposing a hotel in one listed building and apartments in two other listed buildings. None of these proposals are out of synch with the existing nature of the area which is a very nice blend of residential, cultural and leisure sites.

I wonder what alternative uses you can think of? Even if you come up with an idea or two, would these be viable economically? - who will pay? I will be interested to hear of a solution to this problem, particularly in a world where money is pretty tight. The area where these properties are situated is not exactly a cultural wasteland - Hope Street boasts four Arts venues: the Everyman Theatre, the Unity Theatre, the Philarmonic Hall and The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. What else would you like and who will finance and run it/them?
The fourth site, which is not listed, at present comprises a car park, some prefabricated tatty buildings, a very poor example of a modern tower block and one decent building. The proposals that Maghull has put forward are not iconic but they will bring economic activity and vitality to a piece of land which at the moment brings little, if anything, to the area. If you want iconic buildings, the question is what do you want, is it a viable venture and, if so, who will deliver it? Iconic building generally come with iconic price tags.

In an ideal world it would be nice if we could all live in Port Sunlight or Bournville type "model" villages or in very nice Georgian film set type properties, surrounded by wonderful art galleries, concert halls and beautiful parks but the reality is that finance is the key to all these things. In the absence of hugely wealthy philanthropist owners or a massive inflow of money from central government, these things simply won't happen.

Objections are easy, solutions are less easy.
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 08:37 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mancman View Post
I understand your anxiety, Heart & Soul, but the reality is that this developer has bought 4 redundant building from John Moores University which would become derelict properties if somebody did not do something with them.

As I understand it, Maghull is proposing a hotel in one listed building and apartments in two other listed buildings. None of these proposals are out of synch with the existing nature of the area which is a very nice blend of residential, cultural and leisure sites.

I wonder what alternative uses you can think of? Even if you come up with an idea or two, would these be viable economically? - who will pay? I will be interested to hear of a solution to this problem, particularly in a world where money is pretty tight. The area where these properties are situated is not exactly a cultural wasteland - Hope Street boasts four Arts venues: the Everyman Theatre, the Unity Theatre, the Philarmonic Hall and The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. What else would you like and who will finance and run it/them?
The fourth site, which is not listed, at present comprises a car park, some prefabricated tatty buildings, a very poor example of a modern tower block and one decent building. The proposals that Maghull has put forward are not iconic but they will bring economic activity and vitality to a piece of land which at the moment brings little, if anything, to the area. If you want iconic buildings, the question is what do you want, is it a viable venture and, if so, who will deliver it? Iconic building generally come with iconic price tags.

In an ideal world it would be nice if we could all live in Port Sunlight or Bournville type "model" villages or in very nice Georgian film set type properties, surrounded by wonderful art galleries, concert halls and beautiful parks but the reality is that finance is the key to all these things. In the absence of hugely wealthy philanthropist owners or a massive inflow of money from central government, these things simply won't happen.

Objections are easy, solutions are less easy.
They're not just changing the use. I wouldn't care a jot if they did that.

They are demolishing the buildings while the listed status and planning applications are both still up in the air. Scum.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 01:10 PM   #4
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Forgive me if I'm wrong but the planning application has been in the public domain for several months and the proposals to redevelop the whole site have been published and discussed widely. I can't understand why there's been a sudden last minute move to list a building which has previously not been of much interest to anyone. Unless of course somebody is looking to use this fairly non-descript building as a pawn in a game. I get the impression that there may be a lot of disingenuous comments thrown around by politicising people. Like them or loathe them, at least the developer has been open about their intentions for the site - and, as I understand it, they have consulted with English Heritage throughout the process and received confirmation that the building wasn't worthy of listing.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 01:22 PM   #5
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Forgive me if I'm wrong but you seem like an apologist for Maghull. You have only just joined the forum and both your posts are on this issue. What (if anything) is your connection with Maghull?
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Old March 5th, 2008, 01:41 PM   #6
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I thought message boards were about debate and views. If somebody puts up a balanced, reasonable view they are apologists?

No doubt you'll let me know if my facts are incorrect or you disagree with my opinions.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 01:49 PM   #7
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So tell me - where in your literature did it state that you were going to commence demolition before planning permission was granted? Was it coincidental that this process began just prior to a site visit by the planning department?
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Old March 5th, 2008, 02:02 PM   #8
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Maghull ap[parently have told the Echo that the scaffolding and skip are there because they're ripping out the inside of the building but keeping the facade, is this correct?
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Old March 5th, 2008, 02:08 PM   #9
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Wasn't there talk that there were essential work being done on the facades before demolition? Sounds suspect to say the least.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 02:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mancman View Post
I
As I understand it, Maghull is proposing a hotel in one listed building and apartments in two other listed buildings. None of these proposals are out of synch with the existing nature of the area which is a very nice blend of residential, cultural and leisure sites.

I wonder what alternative uses you can think of? Even if you come up with an idea or two, would these be viable economically? - who will pay? I will be interested to hear of a solution to this problem, particularly in a world where money is pretty tight. The area where these properties are situated is not exactly a cultural wasteland - Hope Street boasts four Arts venues: the Everyman Theatre, the Unity Theatre, the Philarmonic Hall and The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. What else would you like and who will finance and run it/them?
The fourth site, which is not listed, at present comprises a car park, some prefabricated tatty buildings, a very poor example of a modern tower block and one decent building. The proposals that Maghull has put forward are not iconic but they will bring economic activity and vitality to a piece of land which at the moment brings little, if anything, to the area. If you want iconic buildings, the question is what do you want, is it a viable venture and, if so, who will deliver it? Iconic building generally come with iconic price tags.
JMU cosied up with Mahgull quite quickly over the sites they previously owned. I'm sure other developers could have been found. It's not exactly an area that struggles to attract business.

Given the mistakes that have been made along Hope Street in the past (thankfully two are in the process of 'correction' - the former student accomodation on the corner of Falkner and Hope and the extension of the Hope Street Hotel into the dreadful 'police college' or whatever it was). No one is against sensitive development in this area. The concern expressed is that Maghull's proposals aren't good enough. Especially the proposal for the Josephine Butler site which looks like a generic Milltown attempt at something 'urban'.

IMO, Maghull seriously need to raise their game. This isn't some backstreet area offf Ropewalks, it's Hope Street FFS. Unless they do, I hope planning permission is refused.

Last edited by Babaloo; March 6th, 2008 at 08:50 PM.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 03:02 PM   #11
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I spoke to someone very senior in JMU a few weeks back. They told me that Maghull had been selected very carefully as the developer of these important city sites.

If Maghull is to repay this trust (and not make the management of the university look foolish or dishonest) they need far better proposals than these - especially on the Jos Butler site for the reasons Babaloo gives.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 05:45 PM   #12
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JBH still looks intact from what can bee seen through the covering, side elevation definately intact, and shadow of front and roof visible.

The interior is not of any interest, which was the reason E.H. didn't list at time, so the developer may have had two plans, hey presto yipee, bring out the "it's not been listed, cheaper" plans, and ditch the more "difficult and more expensive to incorporate it" plans
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Old March 5th, 2008, 09:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mancman View Post
Forgive me if I'm wrong but the planning application has been in the public domain for several months and the proposals to redevelop the whole site have been published and discussed widely. I can't understand why there's been a sudden last minute move to list a building which has previously not been of much interest to anyone. Unless of course somebody is looking to use this fairly non-descript building as a pawn in a game. I get the impression that there may be a lot of disingenuous comments thrown around by politicising people. Like them or loathe them, at least the developer has been open about their intentions for the site - and, as I understand it, they have consulted with English Heritage throughout the process and received confirmation that the building wasn't worthy of listing.
I disagree with that massively. If JBH is non-descript then there simply aren't the words in the English language to describe how poor and generic the Maghull scheme is.

I can't be bothered picking holes in the rest of your post.

Let's just say we agree to disagree.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 09:49 PM   #14
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Apologies Eyeam,

You're right. My reference to Josephine Butler House as nondescript was over-the-top. It is a reasonably pretty building.
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Old March 5th, 2008, 10:01 PM   #15
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JBH still looks intact from what can bee seen through the covering, side elevation definately intact, and shadow of front and roof visible.

The interior is not of any interest, which was the reason E.H. didn't list at time, so the developer may have had two plans, hey presto yipee, bring out the "it's not been listed, cheaper" plans, and ditch the more "difficult and more expensive to incorporate it" plans
I live right next door, the facing brick of the facade is being taken away brick by brick along with the windows. You can see this through the net.

Maghull Development are playing dirty, why else would they start these works without Planning Permission and Conservation area consent?
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Old March 6th, 2008, 10:20 AM   #16
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Apologies Eyeam,

You're right. My reference to Josephine Butler House as nondescript was over-the-top. It is a reasonably pretty building.
Indeed it is, and if you look at the proposals for this site submitted by Maghull you will see that in place of JBH itself there is what can only be described as sub-standard student accommodation. It really is beyond belief.

You laughingly described the proposed building for the whole site as non-iconic. Was that an attempt at irony?
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Old March 6th, 2008, 11:49 AM   #17
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Went passed JBH this morning and I can also confirm seeing brick after brick being chucked into a massive skip. Big holes are beginning to be visible all across the facade.
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Old March 6th, 2008, 11:56 AM   #18
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Duplicitous bastards all round if you ask me.
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Old March 6th, 2008, 12:06 PM   #19
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LCC and EH really need to come up with a set of proposals that carry legal weight ASAP. Sir Thomas Street, Seel Street, Dale Street and now Maghull's scuttling of this building whilst declaring otherwise. All of this demonstrates the twat-faced cynicism of developers who use the letter of the law to fuck over the city's heritage - knowing full well that LCC and EH are about as effective as an ice-cube in hell when it comes to curtailing such behaviour.

Maybe the Echo should start a name-and-shame campaign to expose developers who do this? I'll e-mail them and suggest it.
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Old March 6th, 2008, 12:36 PM   #20
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There is something strangely comforting about all this. Bear with me...

Not that long ago we would never have been in a position to be confident enough in Liverpool's future that we could object to a private developer's plans to invest £100m and create jobs.

The fact that we feel we can say "No...we'd like investemnt but if you do it this way then thanks, but no thanks, were doing fine as we are" is pretty telling and quite encouraging.

Right, now back to Maghull bashing!!
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