Ellis Williams appointed to £33m Bootle community housing

The architect has won the contract for charitable developer SAFE Regeneration’s six-acre Destination Bootle project along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.

Ellis Williams was appointed to masterplan the area through the Construction Impact Framework, and aims to submit a planning application by the end of March.

SAFE Regeneration is a successful community social enterprise and arts organisation located in a former primary school, now St Mary’s Complex. The current SAFE site already houses workshops, studios, business incubation units and community arts programmes as well as its own microbrewery and community pub, The Lock and Quay. It is also host to multiple community initiatives including the popular Bootle Music Festival.

Under the banner #DestinationBootle, SAFE intends to change the perception of this unique stretch of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal into a green, vibrant live-work community responding to the needs of its residents.

The masterplan will provide over 100 new homes within a community focused landscaped public realm linking the existing surrounding communities with the heritage canal frontage. Accommodation will include family townhouses, one- and two-bed apartments and an 80-bed extra care facility, in a mixture of housing tenures that includes affordable and shared ownership.

Homes will be arranged around an 18,500 sq ft purpose-built Hub Building and The Lock and Quay, which will be refurbished and extended to 7,500 sq ft, incorporating B&B accommodation.

Ground source heating and solar energy systems are designed to meet 99% of the site’s estimated energy requirements.

The project advisory team includes Clancy Consulting, SI Sealy, and BCA Landscape Architects. SAFE Regeneration is delivering the project in partnership with Sefton Council, Regenerus and the Canal & Rivers Trust. The project has the support of Homes England and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

The project sits alongside the Leeds-Liverpool canal and close to the North Liverpool docks. It is situated nearby the Strand Shopping Centre.

According to SAFE, it “has ambitious plans to make [its] small community within Bootle a destination for locals and visitors alike. We have already created an oasis of greenery, creativity and wellbeing on our existing land on Waverley Street. Now we want to go further and transform Bootle’s stretch of the Leeds-Liverpool canal from an eyesore to a beautiful and vibrant place.”

Funding of £700,000 has been secured to progress the work so far from the Lottery endowment fund Power to Change, as well as Homes England, and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s special investment fund.

SAFE outlined its vision in August 2016 in the ‘Bootle Town Centre Investment Framework’ commissioned by Sefton Council and delivered by Lambert Smith Hampton and Mick Timpson Urban Design.

Brian Dawe, chief executive of SAFE, said: “Everything we have achieved we have done working in partnership. We believe that everyone deserves to live in a happy, health neighbourhood. We are excited to be part of a passionate community that is helping us to shape and create a neighbourhood for the future.”

Louise Sheridan, Liverpool studio director at Ellis Williams Architects, said: “Ellis Williams specialise in community-led regeneration developments and we are delighted to secure this unique project building on the great work and vision that SAFE has established.

“The unique mix of social enterprise, creative arts hub, and community led housing will transform Bootle’s section of the Liverpool-Leeds canal and create a truly vibrant new community.”

SAFE Regeneration was established in 2000 as Safe Productions, a creative arts social enterprise working across Merseyside to create public artworks. In 2007 it relocated and spent eight years working with the Bootle community. In 2015 it became a registered charity and rebranded as SAFE Regeneration.

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