Two key residential schemes approved by Liverpool planning committee

Proposed TJ Hughes development

Proposals to convert an iconic Liverpool retail site into 199 new apartments were approved by Liverpool City Council planning committee this morning (February 21).

The committee voted by seven in favour and three against.

Applicant Vision International Group wants to transform Audley House, on London Road, a TJ Hughes department store, and its former HQ, comprising a three-to-five storey building with a taller tower, into accommodation.

Now the application has been approved the store will look to relocate to new premises closer to the city centre.

Audley House was built in phases between 1889 and 1913 and TJ Hughes has operated from the premises since 1927. The building is considered to be a non-designated heritage asset.

The proposal, which was the latest version over a six year period, comprises the retention/conversion of the existing building, together with the erection of a part single/part two-storey extension, to incorporate 129 one-bed apartments and 70 two-bedroom apartments, together with associated basement gymnasium, 200-strong cycle store, reception/café area and bin storage area.

Notice of the scheme was served to more than 1,800 neighbours and two objections were received on the grounds of the impact that demolition/construction works would have on local residents, and claims that refuse arrangements for existing apartments in the locality are unsatisfactory and this is likely to be exacerbated by the current proposal.

Planning officers say the building “yields medium/high significance in terms of architectural and artistic interest and historic interest”.

In recommending the application for approval, planning officers said: “The proposed retention of the existing building and the construction of rooftop extensions is considered to result in a benefit to the vitality and viability of this district centre, providing a mixture of commercial and residential uses in a sustainable location.

“Whilst not all amenity standards are met, the proposal provides for a suitable mix of flat sizes, of appropriate size, allowing for an acceptable level of amenity for occupiers. The proposed ground floor uses will help to maintain an active commercial element which is important in this district centre.”

Plans for the new scheme

Another scheme to win approval was the refurbishment of a Grade II-listed mansion in the suburbs of Liverpool to develop a range of new-build properties within the three-acre grounds of the former Margaret Beavan special school on Almonds Green.

The plans, by Liverpool-based Hassett Homes, will deliver 32 homes, comprising 11 detached houses, four semi-detached, three contemporary terraces, three coach houses and 11 apartments within the former mansion.

The house, named Eddesbury on completion in 1884, was designed by noted Liverpool architect Francis Doyle for a family of wealthy grocers and has remained empty since 2004.

Hassett Homes agreed to purchase the site from a private entity in 2020 and undertook an extensive local consultation about its proposals prior to submitting its planning application.

Jamie Blennerhassett, managing director of Hassett Homes, said: “I’m delighted with the outcome and my thanks go to Liverpool Council for its collaborative approach throughout. We arrived at a better scheme as a result and I know the public will be pleased with the choice of new homes they’ll now enjoy.”

Councillors voted unanimously to approve the development.

The architect for the scheme is Drome, with Joanne McGrath of Satplan providing planning advice. Work should start on site in early spring.