Planning committee approves application to convert former city bank to apart-hotel

7 Water Street (Courtesy Google Street View)

Two city centre residential schemes were considered by Liverpool City Council planning committee today (July 26).

The first, on the corner of Water Street and Fenwick Street in the city centre, was for a change of use from a proposed residential development to an apart-hotel scheme, while the second was for a residential scheme in Wood Street.

Committee members approved permission for the original Water Street residential site in 2017.

However, during the pandemic lockdown the applicant, Hughes (Aqua Commercial), reconsidered the use of the three-storey site.

Joanne Mills, of Greyside Planning, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said the original intention was to create a ground floor restaurant, with 10 residential units on the upper floors of the former bank building situated in the heart of the city’s business district.

However, during the COVID outbreak, work stopped on site and the applicant reconsidered the use for the upper floors, deeming a 10-room apart-hotel would be preferable.

She said the applicant is currently in discussions with an international hotels operator that doesn’t currently have any UK interests.

She added that little physical work is left to undertake throughout the upper floors, which would offer two-, three-, or four-bedroom accommodation in the Grade II-listed building, which is located within the Castle Street Conservation Area.

Ms Mills also revealed that the ground floor is now in the hands of restaurants operator Gaucho.

Built in 1896, 7 Water Street was purpose built as the head office of the Bank of Liverpool.

It has also served as offices for various banks and insurance companies.

The change of use was approved unanimously by the committee.

Plans for 108 Wood Street

Another scheme back before the committee was a residential scheme at 108 Wood Street, in Central Ward, to build a five-storey block comprising commercial space on the ground floor, and four one-bed apartments on the upper floors.

Permission was granted in 2017, but lapsed because work had not been implemented.

The site has been derelict for several years.

Planning officers recommended approval, and the committee passed the submission unanimously.

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