Former Magistrates’ Court recommended for 111-room hotel development

Former Liverpool Magistrates' Court (Google Street View)

Councillors have been recommended to approve plans to convert Liverpool’s former Magistrates’ Court into a 111-room hotel.

VSHF Developments, a Belgian-based business with a London office, is behind the scheme for the Grade II-listed property that was constructed between 1857-59 and closed in 2015. It sits alongside the former Merseyside Fire and Rescue HQ on the corner of Dale Street and Hatton Garden.

It is built of ashlar stone on a granite plinth and is three-storeys high, with 13-bays fronting onto Dale Street, a recessed canted corner and three-bays fronting Hatton Garden.

The building contains seven courtrooms, basement and ground floor cells, ground and first floor waiting halls, and ancillary offices and meeting rooms.

It has a very complex floor plan due to the requirement to keep the judges and magistrates separate from the public. The buildings are arranged around an original central courtyard space.

It was previously the subject of proposals to convert it into an hotel in 2019 when YPG was granted planning approval for a 90-bed hotel, but the project never materialised and the consent has expired.

VSHF acquired the site from YPG for £4m in 2022.

It first proposed student accommodation usage, but has reverted to plans to create an hotel, as well as a bar, restaurant and gym.

Liverpool City Council planning committee will hear the updated plans at its meeting next Tuesday (March 12).

Proposals include the construction of a five-storey new build element in the vacant yard.

The 111 bedrooms would be split between 91 rooms in the former court building, and 20 in the new-build.

Cllr Nick Small, who represents City Centre North, has expressed his broad support for the scheme on the basis it will bring a key heritage asset back into use, creating footfall on Dale Street, supporting other businesses in the area, as well as creating jobs.

In recommending the scheme for approval, the council’s planning officers said it offers a comprehensive and sensitive redevelopment of an historic building, retaining important heritage features both internally and externally.

Although located within the city centre main office area, the site is surrounded by similar hotel and residential developments and conversions, which reflect the changing nature of this part of the city.

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