Planning Inspectorate overrules council on Allerton Manor Golf Course development

CGI of Allerton Manor plans

The Planning Inspectorate has overturned Liverpool City Council’s ruling to deny planning permission at a South Liverpool golf course for a 66-bed hotel scheme.

Green Circle Estates is now celebrating two positive planning outcomes from the decision that will enable the Liverpool-based golf and leisure operator to deliver what it describes as ‘a transformational vision’ for its flagship Allerton Manor Golf Course.

The Government Planning Inspector has overturned the decision by Liverpool City Council in December 2022 to refuse planning permission for a 66-bed hotel and spa incorporating the refurbished Listed facade of the site’s former Manor House.

In refusing the planning application, the Local Planning Authority described the proposal as overly conspicuous and dominant, but this view was rejected by the Government Inspector, John Braithwaite, who concluded that “the design of the proposed hotel has been carefully considered, would be entirely appropriate for its surroundings, and would be sympathetic to the character of the area.”

He commended the complementary impact of the modern glazed upper storey elevations with the solid stone structure of the listed building, which would remain the dominant visual feature from key views and approaches.

His positive endorsement of the building, designed by Liverpool architects Brock Carmichael, noted the complementary impact of the glazed elevations which “would reflect and enhance the wooded surroundings of the cluster of buildings.”

Stressing the urgent need to safeguard the at-risk elevations and portico, he concluded that the proposed development would not harm the historic or architectural significance of the existing building.

The decision was welcomed by Green Circle’s planning consultant, Richard Gee, from Roman Summer Associates He said: “This is a welcome but unsurprising decision endorsing an intelligent and sympathetic design which will be a great enhancement to its setting and the facilities at Allerton Manor.

“The original refusal was based very much on subjective perception rather than objective planning policy grounds. Green Circle brought together a highly experienced professional team to do justice to this unique site, and their approach has been completely vindicated.”

His views were echoed by heritage consultant, Graeme Ives. He said: “The Inspector’s decision has clearly understood the heritage significance of the former Manor and confirmed that the hotel scheme will not only preserve that significance, but will safeguard the Grade II-listed structure for the future.”

John Cassell, lead architect and partner with Brock Carmichael Architects, welcomed the ruling for the application, which he said has been nearly three years in the making.

He said: “It is particularly reassuring that His Majesty’s Planning Inspectorate’s viewpoint and his expert decision echoes almost word for word Brock Carmichael’s original design statement and justification for the scale and disposition of the proposal, plus the use of a glass façade in a woodland setting.

“By following due process, in this instance, it has enabled us to raise the design bar for our beloved city.”

The 66-bed hotel and spa, with a gross floor area of approximately 6,150 sq m, is a key component in the wider vision for the Allerton Manor estate, with the successful appeal decision following a decision by Liverpool City Council to approve a planning application for an amended master plan for the South Liverpool golf and family leisure destination.

The plan encompasses major course improvements to create a genuine par-72 Championship Course, a state-of-the-art golf new clubhouse, also designed by Brock Carmichael, extended function and hospitality facilities and a new Adventure Golf attraction.

Green Circle’s managing director, Mike Hanlon, said: “The hotel scheme will protect the dilapidated Listed Manor House and will facilitate the creation of approximately 200 local jobs through the construction process, with over 120 new jobs being created for the business operation.

“Our objective is to reposition Allerton Manor into one of the region’s premier publicly accessible golf and family leisure destinations, and these two planning permissions will now enable us to deliver that vision.”

Green Circle’s investment in its Liverpool facilities also entail transformational plans for its sister course at Kirkby Valley. Ambitious plans for an improved 18-hole Championship course, a new nine-hole Academy Course, a two-tier driving range, Adventure Golf Course and new clubhouse facilities are also due to be determined by Knowsley Council next month.

Green Circle’s director of golf, David Goscombe, said: “The plans for Kirkby Valley are hugely exciting and will make it the only golf destination in this part of the country that offers opportunities to play and enjoy the game of golf in all its formats.

“Be it on an adventure golf course, a two-tier driving range, on a new nine-hole par-three Academy course or on the improved 18-hole course. Participation in golf is rising and we want to create something for everyone at Kirkby Valley, irrespective of age and ability.”

He added: “The next few years promise to be a busy period for Green Circle. We’re a progressive and ambitious company that’s passionate about golf, committed to this region, creating high quality jobs and delivering first class facilities for the benefit and enjoyment of our communities.”

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