Liverpool’s first operational net zero carbon building approved by council

CGI of HEMISPHERE

Plans for Liverpool’s first operational net zero carbon building were unanimously approved by Liverpool City Council planning committee this morning (November 1).

HEMISPHERE is an eight-storey office block in the city centre’s Paddington Village development.

An application for the scheme was first submitted in July this year by Sciontec Developments, which said the site could support up to 800 jobs.

Located on Paddington Village, in the Knowledge Quarter Liverpool (KQ Liverpool) Innovation District, HEMISPHERE will be the first new build project by Sciontec, the commercial spin-out of KQ Liverpool.

The overall scheme would have a floorspace of 15,995 sq m, ranging from two basement levels, a ground floor entrance, and office space on floors one to seven.

Consultation was held previously and one letter was received from Cllr Nick Small, saying he strongly supports the proposal, which will boost life sciences in Liverpool City Region, helping to create high value, knowledge-intensive jobs.

Council notes to today’s committee said: “The proposal would result in the creation of an attractive and distinctive, high quality development which would provide important facilities for Paddington Village, in accordance with the wider aspirations of the Paddington Village Regeneration Framework.

“The development’s design, associated highway works, servicing and access arrangements, inclusive provision for all building users and associated mitigation measures, would satisfactorily protect highway safety, the amenity of existing and future surrounding occupiers and the character of the area.”

The interim chief planning officer recommended the application be granted, subject to conditions.

Consultants on the scheme include Bruntwood SciTech, AHR, Stantec (formerly Barton Willmore), Ares Landscape Architects Ltd, Artin Light, Silcock Leedham Consulting Engineers, Curtins, Walker Sime, Flinders Chase, RWDI and Wintech. Features include a south facing external terrace and a café open to the public.

Colin Sinclair, CEO at Sciontec, said: “The granting of planning permission for HEMISPHERE marks a significant milestone for the team at Sciontec, enabling our commitment to sustainable development, economic growth, wellbeing and innovation to progress at pace.

“We are promising to make HEMISPHERE the most cycling commuter friendly workspace in the city centre, by not only including 166 secure cycle spaces but all e-bike charging facilities, drying facilities, changing rooms and showers for cyclists. As a cyclist myself, I know how important it is to not only recharge your bike whilst at work but also to dry the clothes you wore to cycle in and to store your kit securely. We want to make commuting by bike a viable option all year round.

“What’s more, our future customers at HEMISPHERE will also benefit from a wellness studio and yoga classes, as well as KQ Liverpool’s range of innovation services, and be part of the ‘Village’ community that is coming to life in this thriving and increasingly vibrant part of the city centre.”

In addition to the £12m already invested in Paddington Village from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s (LCRCA) Single Investment Fund for enabling works, HEMISPHERE has also received support from the combined authority via a pre-development funding support package for the JV.

With construction due to start in 2023, and an expected completion date of 2025, interest in taking space within HEMISPHERE is building amongst the health, tech, digital, science and education sectors.

Discussions are already under way with potential occupiers, with the building’s exceptional digital connectivity, customer wellbeing, and collaborative workspace features proving a great attraction.

Remi Smith, commercial manager at Sciontec, said: “The 15,000 sq ft floor plates have each been designed to accommodate around 160 people and will comprise a mix of open plan workspaces, meeting rooms, private spaces and breakout areas, creating a community feel and meeting the market demand for flexible, future-proof office spaces.

“With Sciontec’s emphasis on wellbeing, including customer amenities, we anticipate high demand for workspace within this groundbreaking new building. Furthermore, our pioneering development will have a direct, positive impact on Liverpool City Region’s standings in the provision of high quality innovation-led workspace, which is not only net zero carbon in operation, but also Platinum WELL Standard.”

Occupiers will benefit from HEMISPHERE’s world leading design credentials and amenities that support health, social and cultural wellbeing. Its unique outdoor workspaces and industrial collaboration hub on the ground floor will also provide opportunities for a diverse mix of innovators, students, SMEs, freelancers and large corporations to meet and collaborate.

Cllr Sarah Doyle, assistant Mayor of Liverpool and cabinet member for development and economy, said: “This is a much needed high quality scheme to generate skilled jobs, and will also help meet our net zero target.

“We have listened to partners on the need for more quality office space and this will provide the city with much needed Grade A accommodation, giving people top quality work conditions.”

She added: “It highlights how seriously we are tackling climate change, and our plan to attract the brightest minds in developing cutting edge medical research.

“It is part of our wider ambitions to stimulate economic growth, deliver social value and tackle inequalities to give everyone a better quality of life – regardless of background, identity or postcode.”

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Developments like this are befitting of a modern, forward-looking city region like ours. Sciontec’s plans for HEMISPHERE encapsulate much of my vision for the region: Harnessing the expertise of our world class universities in the heart of the Knowledge Quarter, attracting nationwide jobs and housing it all in one of the cleanest, greenest buildings in our region – the first to be operationally net zero.

“With world leading industry clusters in infectious disease control, materials chemistry, and AI, all on our doorstep, we have a thriving innovation economy. But to keep it growing, it’s vital that we are able to offer businesses the high tech, sustainable office space they need to flourish and catapult our area to the forefront of UK innovation. HEMISPHERE will help take us there. It’s great to see it take another step forward and I can’t wait to see it start to take shape.”

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Another scheme that was earmarked for approval today – a proposal from Hot Water Comedy Club to convert a warehousing plot, in Blackstock Street, close to the city centre, into a multipurpose venue, comprising four comedy and live music performance areas, a food market, four bars, recording studios and two rooftop terraces – was also passed unanimously.

The site is a former transport depot and comprises a number of former warehouse buildings covering an irregular-shaped plot.

The surrounding area is generally low-rise buildings and is industrial in character.

Proposals include a 563-capacity theatre on the ground floor, two more theatre areas on the second floor capable of holding 250, and 170 people, respectively, as well as a podcast theatre area, and an external roof terrace area, including seating provision.

Following a consultation period no objections were received.

The planning notes state: “It is considered that the proposal offers a scheme that would lead to the reuse of a vacant building, improving the appearance of the built environment … and as such would be a regeneration benefit to the area.”

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