The project did not comply with minimum space standards. Credit: via planning documents

Crosslane loses Liverpool co-living appeal 

The planning inspectorate upheld the city council’s decision to refuse the 234-unit Baltic Triangle scheme, concluding that the amount of communal space proposed would not make up for “deficient” apartment sizes. 

In dismissing Crosslane’s appeal, the inspector agreed with Liverpool City Council’s stance on co-living. A planning advice note published earlier this year states that co-living developments should adhere to policies in the city council’s newly adopted local plan guiding all other residential schemes in the city, including minimum space standards. 

Co-living usually offers residents a private en-suite bedroom and kitchenette and places a greater focus on providing communal spaces, offering proportionally more shared areas than other residential buildings. 

However, the inspector concluded that the amount of communal space provided within Crosslane’s scheme – a nine-storey development proposed on the site of the former Bogan’s Carpet store – was not sufficient to make up for the small units, the majority of which fail to meet nationally described space standards. 

The majority of the units would measure around 237 sq ft, below the national described standard of 398 sq ft for a studio with a shower. 

The inspector calculated that an additional 92 sq ft could be added to the size of each unit based on a calculation around shared amenity space per person. However, even with this additional living space, the majority of the units would still not be policy compliant.

“It has not been demonstrated that the scheme would provide adequate private and communal space to ensure satisfactory living conditions for future residents,” the inspector’s decision notice said. 

Despite Crosslane’s appeal being dismissed, the inspector agreed that the development would bring a vacant site back into use and would contribute to the regeneration of the wider Baltic Triangle area.

They added that the scheme would also meet a demand for housing within a young ger demographic and offer “the potential for social interaction and making new friends”. 

Darren Muir, planning and transport director at the Baltic Triangle Area CIC, welcomed the inspector’s decision.

“We have no issue with co-living schemes in principle, but the scheme did not demonstrate any material considerations that supported deviation from the Baltic Triangle Area strategic regeneration framework,” he said. 

“The CIC seeks to encourage investment in the area, including new residential developments, but they must be of the best possible quality. Unfortunately, in this case, the applicant did not seek to engage with the CIC or local stakeholders. 

“In this instance, the scheme fell short in providing adequate living standards for occupiers, and wider benefits to the Baltic Triangle Area. We look forward to hopefully working with the applicant, or anyone else, who seeks to redevelop the site in the future.

Crosslane was contacted for comment.

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Crosslane did not do themselves any favours here, on the other hand maybe height restrictions forced them into this situation in order to make it stack up financially, the question is will they submit an amended scheme. Nearby the height police did not make things plain sailing for the Fusion scheme on the Hondo site which is now much reduced for 9 to 6 floors.
Something needs to be done on this and many other empty, litter strewn and weed ridden sites at the Baltic Triangle, as at present it is not progressing.

By Anonymous

Well done Liverpool. A win for people’s living standards.

By Sarah

I’m all for regeneration but I’m happy this scheme has been dismissed, it’s looks abysmal and depressing. It does not mix well with the Baltic.

By David

The area does need more development and I realise cgi often do not tell the story but this was pretty grim.

By Wirralwanderer

Yes it`s a none starter due to the space requirement but does the building look that bad?
I don`t think it`s that much different to most of the stuff in the Baltic eg the nearby Torus development the Vaults, also this design is fairly standard in London and other cities, it`s all about how much the developer wants to spend and get back in return, we have to be realistic here.

By Anonymous

A clear statement against more substandard development in Liverpool. MCS applauds this decision.

By Merseyside Civic Society

By a win for living standards, I expect Sarah means that would-be residents get to stay in HMOs or where ever they are now and if bigger flats get built they have a larger rent and likely be fewer of them.
The “does not fit well with the Baltic” is pretentious nonsense.


Minimum space standards were introduced to provide the baseline living conditions required for a healthy life. There are other ways to provide affordable rental accommodation. Ignoring space standards to provide poor quality housing is not the answer. We cannot have a race to the bottom whereby those on the lowest incomes have no choice but to live in substandard housing. We cleared the slums of Liverpool some time ago. Let us not rebuild them.

By @JB

The number of people living alone has increased dramatically and the minimum size flat is designed around couples.
No one is forcing anyone to live in these buildings, but the city has demolished large chunks of bedsit land and is currently cracking down on HMOs. It is forcing more and more people to say at home with their parents, where that is possible.
The removal of these flats removes a choice. The council has gone out of its way in a few recent cases to pander to the NIMBYs and prevent new housing from being built. The lack of accommodation in the city is partially down to the council’s decisions and mismanagement.
In an ideal situation, everyone would be able to choose the accommodation that suits them. Restricting the number and variety of new accommodation is not going to improve the housing supply situation in Liverpool.


Re @JB 8.39am, many of the “slums of Liverpool” that were cleared weren`t slums at all, some were fine big houses that could easily have been re-used, also many fine , good size flats in the likes of Gerard Gardens and Fontenoy Gardens were needlessly destroyed.
Agreed these Crosslane studios are very small but that does not mean this style of living is unsuitable if built to the right space requirements.
There is still lots of poor-looking , old housing in Liverpool ( and other Northern cities) but we should be doing everything to re-furbish and improve them as they give character to the city, one big step would be to do away with back alleys which are used for dumping and attract vermin.

By Anonymous

Minimum space standards are NOT designed around couples. The Nationally Described Space Standards specifically provide minimum requirements for 1-bed 1-person apartments (37sqm) and 1-bed 2-person apartments (50sqm). The proposed apartments in this scheme were 22sqm. It is not NIMBYism to suggest the very basic needs should be met in a housing development. I really hope this site is developed and a good mix of quality apartments is provided.

@3:24pm ByAnonymous, when I said “slums of Liverpool” I meant slum housing, not decent quality housing that was demolished as you describe.

By @JB

The average space per tenant in the UK is already well below the minimum space standard and continue to fall, so that’s the housing market telling us that the space standard isn’t working very well.

By Rich X

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