The scheme stalled in 2020. Credit: via Peppermint Soda

Eccles theatre redevelopment moves forward after 10-year wait

Plans to redevelop the site of the grade two-listed Lyceum Theatre on Church Street will go to Salford’s planning committee next week, more than 10 years after a facade retention and new-build proposal was first approved.

The site, latterly a theatre and then a bingo hall, has been derelict for around two decades, with a number of proposals put forward over the years.

Planning permission was granted for a facade retention and demolition of the majority of the building, to be replaced with apartments, in September 2008. However, this was never progressed.

A plan to demolish the entire building was then put forward in 2015, but plans were withdrawn following consultations with the council and Historic England.

The latest iteration of the application by developer Foregate is proposing the demolition of all but the existing structure of the theatre, and replace the dilapidated buildings to the rear with a new-build eight-storey mixed-use development.

The brick-clad new-build element is set to feature 82 apartments, with a mix of 49 one-beds, 31 two-beds, and two three-beds.

What was the foyer of the existing theatre is set to be retained as a 1,900 sq ft unit, which has been suggested for use as a small business unit or a shop.

According to planning documents from the architect, Ochre Building Design, the council had made it “abundantly clear” that “retaining a significant part of the existing building was paramount to a successful proposal”.

Historic England has signalled its support for the latest iteration of the plans, welcoming the retention of the theatre buildings; although the loss of theatre’s auditorium is said to cause a high level of harm, this has been classed as “less than substantial” in planning terms.

Recommending the scheme for approval, Salford Council planning officers said that re-using the building as a community space would require “significant investment” and “may not be viable”, making a residential conversion of the site the most appropriate route to save the building.

According to a viability statement reviewed by the council, any addition of affordable housing would impact the scheme’s deliverability, therefore an affordable housing contribution, either on-site or off, is not required as part of the plans.

Other Section 106 contributions, largely towards public open space, add up to around £350,000.

Planning officers said: “There has long been a desire to secure and appropriately develop this site. The existing structure is listed and has become increasingly derelict since it was last vacated. The current owner has previously secured a number of permissions to redevelop the site however none have proven to be viable.”

“The applicant has now devised a form and quantum of uses which are viable and this drives the scheme now proposed. Whilst this form is perhaps larger than Officers would typically accept alongside a listed structure, mechanisms have been employed to ensure a clear distinction will exist between listed and new elements.

“This includes the use of various materials and visual breaks between the old and new.”

The professional team also includes Indigo as planner.

Lyceum Theatre Eccles 2

The plans put forward in 2015

Your Comments

Read our comments policy

at this point it would be good if they did anything with this building. The facade isnt that great and to me seems like they’ve listed it because its the only building of any historical interest for miles around rather than on merit.
How they’re fitting 80 apartments into a building that size is even more of a wonder.

By baz

This is a stunning building that has been allowed to rot by the owners and Salford City Council. Delighted it will be reused but my goodness that modern extension is terrible!

By Acelius

Don’t understand some of our local councils, seem happy to let any building of interest rot away and end up demolished or poorly developed – then wonder why nobody wants to live in those areas. God only knows what London would look like now if GM councillors had been in charge of it for the past 30-40 years.

By Loganberry

Everyone mourns the statistics about how many beautiful old red brick mills and other buildings like them are being lost…

And then planners go and nod through another demolition. Same thing with Hotspur Press – it’ll be Hulme Hippodrome next.

Developers will just say it’s uneconomic to salvage them – and of course it is because they’re for profit businesses. If the public wants these buildings retained, then public money must be put up to do it. The purpose of government is to do things that are not feasible for companies and individuals alone, and that’s what this is.

By Anonymous

let’s hope that this gets implemented, it’s not great but then again neither is eccles

By Paul Smith

Related Articles

Sign up to receive the Place Daily Briefing

Join more than 13,000 property professionals and receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox


Join more than 13,000 property professionals and sign up to receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

"*" indicates required fields

Your Job Field*
Other regional Publications - select below