SHOULD Liverpool's bombed out church be turned into a public toilet, or fully developed to bring it back into full use? What about turning it into a restaurant or bar, a hotel, or even student accommodation?
Our aim is for St Luke’s to be structurally safe in time for the new year
These are just some of the questions posed in a public consultation exercise launched today to determine the future role of one of the city’s best-known landmarks.
St Luke's Church, at the corner of Berry Street and Leece Street, was built in the early 1800s, but fell victim to the May Blitz in 1941. It has stood as an empty shell ever since.
People are being encouraged to complete a short on-line survey, which asks their views on the role St Luke’s should play in the life of the city.
It follows a commitment from Mayor Joe Anderson to keep it in public ownership and secure a viable future for the building.
The consultation will gauge views on how the church can be preserved as a living war memorial, the type of events that should be held there, and what further facilities or possible development should be carried out.
The results will be used as the basis to make decisions in relation to its future, which could include seeking expressions of interest for the appointment of an occupier/operator to run the site in the new year.
The council says the successful party must be able to demonstrate that they can offer a feasible future for the site, in line with the results of the public consultation.
The Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Cllr Malcolm Kennedy, said: “This is an exciting phase in the history of Liverpool’s famous Bombed Out Church. We have a great opportunity here to engage with the city to find out what they want to happen at St Luke’s, and to explore options for its future use.
“Our aim is for St Luke’s to be structurally safe in time for the new year, by which time we will be in a position to outline how we plan to give it a new lease of life”
Ambrose Reynolds, who has been running St Luke’s as a public space, said: “It has been more than a decade since I became involved in St Luke's re-opening it to the public. It’s been amazing to see the profound effect that it has on all different kinds of people, both as a testament to history, and its connection to our present lives.
“St Luke's is a place for everyone and that is the essence of the existing programme, to commemorate the past and celebrate the future. We welcome this wonderful opportunity to preserve the Bombed Out Church for the future wellbeing of the city and the people."
The public consultation comes as the City Council prepares to commence repair works to the structure of the Church. The £150,000 project – funded by Liverpool City Council and Heritage England - will involve repairing and replacing heavy stonework, meaning the site will be closed to protect public health and safety. The scheme was postponed earlier this year to allow the summer events programme to go ahead.
The survey is available at liverpool.gov.uk/bombedoutchurch and is open until the end of September.
This history of the church is at stlukeliverpool.co.uk