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Old April 13th, 2008, 06:44 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by Babaloo View Post


A somewhat vapid generalisation about others posting on this thread!
How so? I'm not saying that everyone who objects to a new development or the demolition of an old building is wrong - just that sometimes we do not appreciate all the arguments for and against.

I was getting a bit grouchy last night I suppose but I do get irate when I see people calling others stupid, insensitive, greedy etc without any real evidence. Everyone wants to see the Stanley Dock tobacco warehouse preserved but finding a new use for it is clearly very difficult. I think that the same arguments may apply to the two buildings under threat on this site.
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Old April 13th, 2008, 06:51 PM   #102
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Ignoring the demolition aspect for a moment, and focusing purely on the proposed building. Is this not one of those occasions where no matter what was is suggested for the site, it would displease a sizable group of people because of it's surroundings? Design it conservatively (as it has been), and it's not befitting of the area. Build it a touch more extravagantly, and it would likely be accused of over-shadowing the existing architecture nearby. As such, were the designers not met with an almost impossible task of designing a building that would appease both sides of the arguments as exhibited on this thread?

Although the proposed building is not anything remotely iconic, it isn't completely bland, or worse offensive either. As such, given the difficulties the site exhibits, perhaps on this occasion, we should accept 'OK', so long as we don't do it all the time, and demand 'special' buildings in other locations where they aren't so devisive? If we do this, should we not still end up with a well-rounded collection of buildings in our city?
Chris, I agree with that. I think that this site is affected by what I would call 'sacred building syndrome' - the way that the presence of buildings of very high architectural prominence nearby makes building anything on a site extremely awkward. A good example of that is the residential development in Commutation Row made completely bland by being so close to St Georges Hall. Any iconic building on that site would almost certainly be sat on by English Heritage.
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Old April 13th, 2008, 06:55 PM   #103
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Good points. Sometimes a bit of in-fill is all that is needed, and in a sensitive and difficult location, with a limited budget, it is probably the only sensible solution.

I can't get too upset about any of this, the buildings to be lost are not in any way special (they are nice, and obviously old and querky, but hard to see why they have to be preserved if the market won't support the cost) and the proposed replacements don't look at all bad to me.

As regards hospital conversions, I'm not sure. Anthrax spores were found in old horse-hair matting within the rendering in some London Underground stations, and some germs can survive, dormant, for an an awful long time within otherwise inert environments. You'd want to be confident that your sparkling new black granite kitchen tops were not teeming with C-Deficile, that the door of your SMEG fridge wasn't slowly being colonised by an invisible film of MRSA, or that dormant meningitis or tuberculosis germs wouldn't float out of the wall if you drilled a hole to put a picture up.
Thank you Poli. I don't have the talent for lateral thinking that you do.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 02:06 AM   #104
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I havent really been following the 'arguments' for and against in this thread but it seems to me from a distance that a) you are losing a couple of pretty decent (but unlistable) buildings b) Maghull are snidey twats C) your planners are knobheads.
Whatever the whys and wherefores of the demolition are and also the quality of the replacement (or lack of quality as the case maybe) it is the planners, who have shown an almost criminal disregard to the legislation and guidance associated with listed buildings and conservation area status, that need taking to task
These buildings affect the setting of at least two listed buildings and therefore there should have been a consultation process wherein the statutory consultees were notified and asked for their opinion. I know this did not happen.
I am also presuming this is in a conservation area?
Whilst there is little legislation that can be used the planners should use their own guidance when considering schemes within a CA and that guidance is usually "Are the buildings to be demolished making a positive contribution to the conservation area" and if they dont "Does their replacement detract from character the conservation area?"
I would say that with regards to this scheme the answer to both questions is 'yes' and should therefore it should have been refused.
In my opinion Maghull have acted like lying ***** and the planners have acted like spineless *****.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 12:44 PM   #105
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Conserve what though? That small area has no predominant aesthetic or style, and whilst these two structures do contribute to the eclecticism it's not normally what one thinks of Conservation Areas as being about. It is impossible to be "in keeping" in that area, as there is nothing to keep to, other than being different. Neither building well represents a movement or period or style, indeed you might argue that the cladding on Josephine Butler House is - no, was - a Victorian equivalent of modern stone-cladding and not altogether suitable for the area. Martin has well described the other structure as essentially an office block trying to look like a Georgian town house, and it also could have been accused of ridiculous vulgarity. In the absence of genius, there is always a case for good manners, and the sketchy drawing I have seen of this new development does suggest politeness and restraint.

I would be interested in what those who know more about planning - including you - believe the city planners should have done about this situation. Are they allowed to require developers to integrate older structures as part of a site redevelopment? Even if those buildings are not listed? And could that not itself then lead to blight as developers ignore expensive problems and find easier sites to develop?

I think the acceptability of the new structures will depend on the quality, especially on Hope Street itself and the corner: good bricks, good window fittings, and not looking like student halls of residence. The difference between a smart new block and a student hall of residence is often, it seems to me, not the overall form, but the detailing and materials.

The thing I most like about this development is that is helps re-form the street, and as long as it's not offensively cheap or tacky I think that is going to result in something that is overall a plus, even when we allow for the loss of two nice older buildings along the way.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 12:53 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by Chris B View Post
Ignoring the demolition aspect for a moment, and focusing purely on the proposed building. Is this not one of those occasions where no matter what was is suggested for the site, it would displease a sizable group of people because of it's surroundings? Design it conservatively (as it has been), and it's not befitting of the area. Build it a touch more extravagantly, and it would likely be accused of over-shadowing the existing architecture nearby. As such, were the designers not met with an almost impossible task of designing a building that would appease both sides of the arguments as exhibited on this thread?

Although the proposed building is not anything remotely iconic, it isn't completely bland, or worse offensive either. As such, given the difficulties the site exhibits, perhaps on this occasion, we should accept 'OK', so long as we don't do it all the time, and demand 'special' buildings in other locations where they aren't so devisive? If we do this, should we not still end up with a well-rounded collection of buildings in our city?
Excellent points, well articulated (and Poli's post above). Sums up the inherant problem with this site. It's the sort of site which lends itself to criticism of any development for the reasons stated. It's either to bland or too dramatic, too boring or too bold, not trying hard enough or trying too hard etc.

It's all very well arguing about the loss of the existing buildings, but the best of the two (the 7 storey brick building behind JBH) currently doesn't interact with the street at all as it's seperated by a large expanse of carpark on one side and is hidden by JBH on the other. So even if they redeveloped it, they'd still end up putting something on that carpark space (the whole point of the development) which would block its view from the street anyway. So we either keep both of these buildings and the carpark, gaining nothing and still leaving us with the problem of the carpark - or we develop the carpark and loose the best of the two buildings anyway.

As Poli and Martin have pointed out, it's all very well claiming that old buildings should be restored, but it's nearly always more costly to restore this type of building than start from scratch. So the only real justification for a developer to restore a building is if it is considered to be of significant asthetic or historic merrit. And as has been shown in this case, no one really believes that these buildings are, including English Heritage.

We also have to look at this objectively and be able to seperate out Maghul's actions and the actual development itself, which are not the same thing. Because Maghul may not have acted in the most transparent way doesn't mean that the development is therefore wrong for the area or of poor quality. That's a relatively simplistic approach. Maghul = bad, planners = bad therefore development = bad.

I'm in favour of this development because I know that site very well, and I understand how the new building will interact with the area in a positive way, regardless of the whys and wherefore's of the planning and construction. I'm not saying they're not important issues, and that developers shouldn't be held to account for their actions, but in my opinion there are far worse developers out there at the moment actively ruining the city and adding nothing in return. At least Maghul are replacing a vacant space with bricks and mortar.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 12:57 PM   #107
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I am also presuming this is in a conservation area?
AFAIK the buildings in question are virtually surrounded by various Conservation Areas, but do not themselves fall into one.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 01:32 PM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T0M View Post
Quote:
Excellent points, well articulated (and Poli's post above). Sums up the inherant problem with this site.
There is no problem with this site. Build a great building or leave it. What's the problem?

Quote:
So we either keep both of these buildings and the carpark, gaining nothing and still leaving us with the problem of the carpark - or we develop the carpark and loose the best of the two buildings anyway.
...or in a non tin-pot town you might just design something fairly decent which complimented and enhanced it's setting and surrounds rather than demolishing and diminishing. It doesn't matter one iota that any of those buildings would've been partially obscured- that's what buildings do.

Quote:
As Poli and Martin have pointed out, it's all very well claiming that old buildings should be restored, but it's nearly always more costly to restore this type of building than start from scratch.
So what? We need tougher planning laws- if you can't afford to do what you want to do without laying waste pefectly decent buildings to do so- p-- off.

Quote:
We also have to look at this objectively and be able to seperate out Maghul's actions and the actual development itself, which are not the same thing. Because Maghul may not have acted in the most transparent way doesn't mean that the development is therefore wrong for the area or of poor quality. That's a relatively simplistic approach. Maghul = bad, planners = bad therefore development = bad.
I think we are. We're seeing a nasty, "modern-generic" shed in place of two infinitely superior and diverse ingredients of that site's architectural fabric.

Quote:
At least Maghul are replacing a vacant space with bricks and mortar.
I don't want space filled up with any old "bricks and mortar". In the absence of any meaningful architectural offer I prefer space.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 07:50 PM   #109
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I must confess that i havent been following this case closely enough to make a truly informed comment and i also dont want to get into a debate about the merit of the buildings being demolished and the quality of the new building.
What bothers me is the process that Maghull have followed and how the planners have allowed this process to happen and whilst i dont think there is anything actually unlawful going on it sets a very worrying precedent.
I would be interested to see the PPG15 statement that Maghull entered and if they entered one at all.
I may concede to Chris B's better knowledge re conservation area status round those parts, but even so this scheme impacts on the settings of listed buildings and even developments on the perimeter of CA's should still be scrutinised in the same way as if they were in one.
As i said i'm not contesting that this corner is ripe for development but it seems 'due process' has been ignored and only a fool would say that that is good for the city.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 02:40 AM   #110
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it seems 'due process' has been ignored and only a fool would say that that is good for the city.
Yup, well that's a very good point.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 10:16 AM   #111
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????

Did I miss something here? At what point did Poli stop filing papers for a council and become some kind of architectural historian qualified to comment on the respective aesthetic and cultural worth of two rather handsome and important buildings?

I appreciate that gratuitous pedantry is all too often the unfortunate lingua franca of open-house fora such as this but surely seeking to find a case for the unlawful demolition, cultural vandalism and 'the gift' of having yet more blatantly shit construction imposed upon the city in return would surely be one tedious "argument" too far?

Obviously not.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 12:02 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by The Longford View Post
I must confess that i havent been following this case closely enough to make a truly informed comment and i also dont want to get into a debate about the merit of the buildings being demolished and the quality of the new building.
What bothers me is the process that Maghull have followed and how the planners have allowed this process to happen and whilst i dont think there is anything actually unlawful going on it sets a very worrying precedent.
I would be interested to see the PPG15 statement that Maghull entered and if they entered one at all.
I may concede to Chris B's better knowledge re conservation area status round those parts, but even so this scheme impacts on the settings of listed buildings and even developments on the perimeter of CA's should still be scrutinised in the same way as if they were in one.
As i said i'm not contesting that this corner is ripe for development but it seems 'due process' has been ignored and only a fool would say that that is good for the city.
I think with both of your contributions on this thread you have demonstrated an understanding of the real issues at stake here. This development falls within two conservation areas. The part of the development fronting Hope Street will be in the Rodney Street conservation area, and the other frontage will be on Myrtle Street in the Canning Street Conservation area.

I think people either understand what Hope Street is about both culturally and aesthetically, and the importance of insisting that any new build is the best possible, or they dont. If they don't 'get it' they probably never will.

Speaking as someone who actually lives in this area, I have yet to meet anyone who likes the design or Maghull. It isn't just this building that we have concerns about. Maghull also acquired property in Blackburne Place. Originally they were talking about tasteful rennovations and sympathetic 'new build' that will fit in to the existing mostly Georgian mix. It now turns out that they are going to cram this development with one bedroom flats and raise the roof level so that the development will be conspicuous. The pattern is clear - what they say and what they do is very different. It means we can't trust them.

Now, thanks to LCC's planning committee we are faced with a developer that has blatantly deceived everyone - it was clear from the start, despite protestations to the contrary, that they were intending to demolish JBH by the way in which they ripped off the stonework and threw it into a skip. We said as much and they still denied it! We are now invited by LCC to look on the bright side - £100m development (I'm not sure how they arrive at these figures but it sounds good). The adage - past behaviour is most predictive of future behaviour particularly stikes home. Not for the first time the council has accomodated the wishes of a developer and overriden objections raised by the local community and groups fighting to preserve what's left of the historic built environment. If this can happen in Hope Street it can happen anywhere in the city. Nowhere is safe.

LCC has a long history of failing to maintain the city's built environment and then blaming everyone else for what occurs. Ultimately their practice, their level of competency needs to improve to prevent any more abuses. Sadly they refuse to be proactive or take any responsibility whatsoever. They retreat into mouthing platitudes. Their favourite one being "We're damned if we do, we're damned if we dont!"

Unfortunately it's the city that is damned by LCC's complacency.

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Old April 15th, 2008, 12:23 PM   #113
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On a related note, given that this stems from JMU offloading property and the fact that it still owns a range of property in the downtown area that it might be tempted to sell off to raise money - pressure needs to be placed on that institution to ensure that any potential developer isn't going to rip part/all of it down to squeeze out extra bucks - you can just imagine what developers might do to maximise the earning potential of the the former convent site in Mount Pleasant. Liverpool university has already been responsible for the destruction of a large swathe of Georgian Liverpool (yes I know it has preserved some buildings, too - aren't they marvellous?) lets hope JMU doesn't leave us with a modern version of what Liverpool University did to Abercromby Square.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 01:03 PM   #114
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Just to correct my earlier post, the surface car park on Hope Street, and the tall brick extension to JBH fall in the Mount Pleasant Conservation Area. However the older section of JBH itself does not fall into any Conservation Area. Now while I don't disagree that we should be careful with developments on the fringes of such areas (akin to the World Heritage Site buffer zone I suppose), the fact that more weight wasn't put into the fact there are Conservation Areas in play, is perhaps because the most contentious demolition is not in a CA at all.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 02:49 PM   #115
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(I hope this hasn't already been posted. It's hard to know with so many disapperaing posts).

From the Echo -

Quote:
What the developer said to his chief critic: Dear sir, you are a ****ing ignorant pig

Apr 15 2008 by Mary Murtagh, Liverpool Echo

A WAR of words has broken out between a millionaire property magnate and a tour guide over the £100m transformation of Liverpool’s Hope Street.

Councillors last week approved a controversial plan to flatten much-loved Josephine Butler House at the junction with Myrtle Street, and replace it with a modern building.

Beatles tour guide Philip Coppell expressed his disgust about the scheme to Maghull Developments managing director Michael Hanlon, questioned how it got planning permission and said he hoped the company went bankrupt.

Mr Hanlon, who is seeking legal advice about Mr Coppell’s comments, launched a tirade of foul mouthed abuse in an email reply.
and here are the emails -

Quote:
From: Philip Coppell, Sent: 10 April 2008

IT is an absolute disgrace that your company has been allowed to build that eyesore on Mytle St. (sic). You are no better than those builders who “modernise” terraced houses.

Destroying the appearance of a line of terrace houses by putting rendering over brick. This development is totally unsuitable for the area and it makes me wonder what you did to get planning permission. Please leave Liverpool alone as you are only in it for the money and I hope that the present credit crunch bankrupts your company and this obscene development never sees the

From: Michael Hanlon, Sent: 10 April 2008


Dear Philip,

Thank you for your exquisite email below which I presume refers to the granting of planning permission to redevelop the Josephine Butler House site at the junction of Hope Street and Myrtle Street.

Are you always so ignorant? If your wife thinks you are a f*****g ignorant pig then perhaps someone can refer you to a specialist who may be able to help you.

However, if you are as ignorant as I think you are and are beyond medical help then we could always make room for you in the foundations within the new development? From what I have heard about you from several colleagues of yours this course of action would delight many of your peers, and most certainly your wife.

Please let me know should you wish to discuss face to face your snide comments regarding what we may have done to secure planning consent for the scheme... but the short answer is more than two years of very high level discussions and negotiations with the Planning Director and Officers, Conservation Officers, Highways Officers, English Heritage and a whole raft of local consultation groups, many of which consist of time wasting w*****s like you who seem to think they are experts in heritage and regeneration and that professional people like myself and English Heritage don’t have a clue. Well guess what d***head, you are wrong.

It’s been hard work but it will be worth it to develop a first class modern mixed use scheme which will bring delight into so many people’s lives, create in excess of £60m of investment and over 200 jobs for local people.

Finally, there is more chance of John Lennon giving a guest appearance next Friday night at one of your poxy tour do’s than the credit crunch bankrupting our business, so if you don’t like our proposals then that’s hard lines for you , so why don’t you f**k off and seek medical help for your condition too.

My contact numbers are below should you wish to discuss any of the above in greater detail, or arrange a meeting face to face.

Regards, Mike.
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liver...0252-20765517/
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Old April 15th, 2008, 03:07 PM   #116
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Babaloo, For your information, the fourth side of Abercromby Square was occupied by a Georgian church that was a victim of the blitz. In building Senate House, they restored the square in a modern and aesthetically pleasing way.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 08:10 PM   #117
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Mike Scanlon's Debt To English Heritage.

I think from the amount of times he mentions them, Mike owes EH everything he has regarding this frankly bizarre aquiescence on behalf our beloved council to allow him to destroy some more of the city's superior architecture to build his glorified Barrett-shed opposite the Philharmonic.

I say he owes EH everything, but it's rather H.M.Government he should thank for for cutting back EH funding to the extent that when Scanlon cannily poached their staff to help him smooth the path, they gladly jumped that sinking ship to take their place on Mike's pay-roll.

It's sneaky when you know how.

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Old April 15th, 2008, 11:06 PM   #118
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Babaloo, For your information, the fourth side of Abercromby Square was occupied by a Georgian church that was a victim of the blitz. In building Senate House, they restored the square in a modern and aesthetically pleasing way.
Martin, for your information, the fourth side of Abercromby Square was only partially occupied by St Catherine's Church and it wasn't completely destroyed - there was talk of retaining the portico.

I accept that some people think that the university's contribution to the square is as you put it 'modern and aesthetically pleasing'.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 03:56 AM   #119
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Babaloo, For your information, the fourth side of Abercromby Square was occupied by a Georgian church that was a victim of the blitz. In building Senate House, they restored the square in a modern and aesthetically pleasing way.

I think that's wrong.......Abercromby Square was intact right up to the 1960's with the lovely georgian portico church still standing and then came the apalling senate house and wholesale demolition. One of the three great acts of 60's cultural vandalism together with the demolition of the Cotton exchange and the Sailors Home.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 10:32 AM   #120
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Its one thing to hurl insults at a building that you have only seen as a small rendering but in the case of Senate House, it is a building that has been around for around 40 years and has stood the test of time. I have never heard anyone say that it is some 60s eyesore that needs to be demolished. It is now an accepted part of the square, as much as the other three sides.
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