More development plans north of Leeds Street is good news

It’s been a tatty mess for decades, an uncoordinated, incoherent part of town close to the city centre yet dislocated from it. Now that most recalcitrant of major landowners Network Rail has teamed up with Widnes-based Sourced Development Group to build on four acres of Love Lane and Pall Mall north of Leeds Street and immediately east of the Southport rail line. 

A maximum of eleven storeys on Love Lane seems very modest; why not build higher, much higher

Sourced Development Group and Network Rail have applied for planning for four large blocks of flats of between nine and eleven storeys. These will be for sale. The intention is for a total of 507 apartments including 30 three bedroom units, 330 two bedroom and 147 one bedroom.   

The architects are BDP and the planning application images appear to show a design of a strident pink/red, not dissimilar to the shades used in BDP’s work at Lancashire Cricket County Cricket Club, Old Trafford. This is brave. Bright colours in buildings tend to age poorly unless the materials are high quality and there’s a long-term maintenance budget. 

Lover Lane
The pink/red buildings sitting on Image: Planning application

Perhaps the most intriguing element of the proposals is the reuse of railway arches and tunnels (see main image above), converting them into 10,000 sq ft of commercial space. Some of the apartment blocks will be built on top of former railway arches. This should add visual excitement and no doubt provide excellent hosts for food and drink units - if there's enough critical mass of a public to use them. Another part of the plan includes a 200-metre length of landscaping. 

Tatty But Grand Love Lane
Tatty but grand railway arches will add visual interest Image: Planning application
Love Lane
An image from the planning application documents Image: Planning application

These areas close to the city centre are ripe for development. Leeds Street has long been one of those planning errors of the sixties which provided a physical and mental boundary and barrier to the northern extension of the city centre. 

Developments such as Everton Football Club’s Bramley-Moore Dock stadium, Peel L&P’s Liverpool Waters are opening these areas up. For Liverpool, north and south along the Mersey estuary it’s about joining up the dots. 

There’s a long way to go, of course, but developments such as this on Love Lane, are a step in the right direction, although questions will remain about Sourced’s Scotland Road plans nearby which appear to have stalled. Meanwhile last month 435 flats were approved further down Pall Mall from developer Nextdom and designed by Falconer Chester Hall. These reach a maximum of ten storeys. 

Both developments pose questions about the way Liverpool looks at the height of buildings. Down the road Manchester and Salford are clustering tall buildings up to 60 storeys adjacent to the city centre on former surface car parks or areas of redundant commercial units, very like this area of Liverpool. 

A maximum of eleven storeys on Love Lane seems modest; why not build higher, much higher, increase population density and bring more life to the place? Perhaps the Love Lane site is too confined but when more development hits the Ten Streets area, west of the railway, let's have taller buildings. 

Is Liverpool unduly cautious in these city centre hinterlands in terms of scale, or do the numbers simply not add up for taller schemes? 

Read next - ‘Understated opulence’: Seaforth, The Municipal Hotel, reviewed

Read again - Picture-perfect: a stay at Assheton Arms in Downham

Get the latest news to your inbox

Get the latest food & drink news and exclusive offers by email by signing up to our mailing list. This is one of the ways that Confidentials remains free to our readers and by signing up you help support our high quality, impartial and knowledgable writers. Thank you!