Developer to submit plans for city centre boutique hotel

Proposed Beetham Plaza scheme

Liverpool developer Elliot Group will tomorrow, Wednesday, April 10, submit a planning application for the multimillion-pound transformation of Liverpool’s Beetham Plaza.

The developer acquired the long leasehold on the site in the new year.

Its proposals centre on re-siting Richard Huws’s famous ‘bucket fountain’ and developing a new luxury boutique hotel on the plaza’s eastern boundary.

Discussions, described as “positive”, remain ongoing with Liverpool council regarding a new home for Huws’s unique water installation, which is acknowledged as being hidden from the majority of Liverpool’s residents and tourists alike.

Should permission be granted the fountain would be refurbished and re-sited, at the developer’s expense, and £15m invested in a new boutique hotel and the refurbishment of the plaza’s public realm.

The mixed use development was a trailblazing regeneration project in the late 90s and its 42 luxury residential units have continued to hold their value since.

The scheme includes the highly-regarded restaurants Etsu and Silk Road, a 4,500 sq ft office occupied by a local law firm, and an underground car park.

Elliot Lawless, of Elliot Group, said: “Beetham Plaza remains one of the most successful residential developments on Liverpool’s waterfront, but the public square behind needs more animation and life to support its commercial tenants.

“If we re-site the fountain it will enable us to develop a new hotel and new ground floor restaurant and café space whilst investing in the public realm and a new lighting scheme.

“Residents and businesses will share in the benefits of this investment and the extra footfall.”

The developer recently asked the public for ideas as to suitably visible locations for the fountain, with Williamson Square and a refurbished Strand both popular suggestions.

“The fountain is a one-off but it’s hidden away in a corner that both locals and tourists rarely find,” he said.

“It merits a more prominent location so that it can become one of the city’s ‘must Instagram’ attractions.”

The proposed hotel development, if granted planning permission, would support 25 new jobs when operational and would be managed by Liverpool-based EPIC, who recently opened the new Seel Street Hotel that forms a centrepiece of Elliot Group’s £100m Wolstenholme Square project.

Elliot Group has briefed existing residents and business owners of Beetham Plaza about its proposals and invited them to comment further on them prior to submission.

The architect for the proposals is Falconer Chester Hall. Zerum is acting as planning consultancy.

Richard Huws’ Piazza Fountain, known to Liverpudlians as the bucket fountain, was commissioned by Merseyside Civic Society in 1962 to commemorate the start of the Tryweryn Scheme, which would provide drinking water to Liverpool.

It was completed in 1967.

The scheme itself was controversial, involving the displacement of an entire Welsh-speaking valley community and the loss of their farms, homes and places of worship.

The focus of the fountain was rushing water and Huws memorably noted that he spent “a week on the design and two years on the engineering”.

It is the last such fountain of its type in the world.

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