JUST weeks after controversial plans to redevelop Lime Street were approved, the city council’s planning committee is being asked next week to agree to allow two high rise blocks, one 21-storeys high, to be built behind Lime Street.
The new multi-million pound development, which could see hundreds more student flats, is earmarked for the site of what was originally the Ribble/National Express bus station, now a surface car park.
Abandoned schemes for the land have included a high-rise hotel.
The new scheme, proposed by Butler Company Ltd and NALM Ltd, would see the development of two mixed-use two buildings. Block 1 would 20/21 storeys high, including a double height ground floor/mezzanine level, fronting on Bolton Street/Skelhorne Street and Hilbre Street. The plan envisages ground floor retail units accessed from Skelhorne Street, with restaurants, bars, takeaways and offices.
Upper floors of the blocks will be student accommodation, comprising of 94 studio bedrooms and 69 clusters of accommodation with between four and eight bedrooms and communal living and kitchen areas.
The second block fronting Bolton Street will be 17 storeys high, with the applicant wanting permission to use the block either as an aparthotel or student accommodation. If approved, the development would be used either as 192 hotel suites or 192 student residential studios.
Planning officers in Liverpool say the scheme has been the subject of extensive pre-application discussions with Historic England. This has resulted in the scale and massing of the scheme being reduced to a more appropriate level. In addition, the applicant has been required to make some revisions to the design to ensure that it is of "sufficiently high quality for this important and highly prominent site".
Currently a review is under way to determine whether the city should have a policy on student accommodation in the city centre after mushrooming applications by developers attracted widespread criticism.
The planning report into the scheme, which will be considered by councillors next Tuesday, says: "The proposed student accommodation represents a significant regeneration scheme within a highly prominent location in the city centre and in order to ensure that delivery of the scheme is not jeopardised, the planning application is being reported to Committee ahead of the Student Review final report."
Councillors Nick Small and Sharon Sullivan both support the application saying it would enhance the "offer" of student accommodation within the city with no adverse impact on long-standing residential communities in the city centre.
Furthermore, it is claimed, the proposal would bring a key gateway site back into use and benefit the local economy.