Falconer Chester Hall Architects designed the scheme. Credit: via planning documents

Inspector dismisses Lawless’s Liverpool appeal 

The developer’s bid to overturn the refusal of a 186-home scheme at the former Liverpool Community Probation Centre has been unsuccessful, scuppering a deal to sell the site. 

Legacie Developments had been lined up to acquire the plot from Elliot Lawless’s Falkner Street Developments, subject to planning approval. 

However, Legacie told Place North West it has now “withdrawn its interest in the site” following the appeal decision. 

Lawless was contacted for comment. 

Liverpool City Council’s planning committee rejected the Falkner Street application – which featured plans for 105 apartments and 63 student homes – 12 months ago due to concerns about parking provision. 

Lawless appealed the decision, saying at the time he had been advised that he had “a very strong case”. 

However, the issues around parking proved too much to overcome. 

Richard Morgan, the planning inspector presiding over the case, agreed with the local authority, saying the lack of parking provided on-site is “likely to result in pressure for illegal and inconsiderate parking nearby, which could cause risks to the safety of other road users”. 

In summing up, Morgan said, “the benefits of the scheme are not sufficient to outweigh the inadequacies of the parking and access arrangements”. 

The inspector said he appreciated the decision would be “disappointing for the appellant, particularly given the protracted length of time involved in the determination of this proposal”. 

The Falkner Street project was designed by Falconer Chester Hall Architects and had been approved by Liverpool City Council in December 2019 subject to the signing of a section 106 agreement. 

Changes to the city’s local plan during the time in between led to subsequent adjustments to the project, which necessitated the review of the scheme by the committee. 

The scheme returned to committee with a recommendation to approve by the city council’s planning officers. 

Councillors, however, voiced displeasure in a heated discussion over whether student accommodation was needed in the area and the impacts the project would have on traffic.  

Protesters were also at the committee, allegedly with signs that denounced Lawless. 

Lawless was arrested by Merseyside Police during Operation Aloft, an ongoing investigation into corruption related to land deals within Liverpool City Council. He denies wrongdoing and, like everyone else arrested as part of the probe, has never been charged. 

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Be interesting now to see how the city council progress this site or will it be left to fester like in Ducie Street which could double as a wasted Ukraine city, partly because the locals hold a suspicious dislike of students or it seems anyone who isn’t deemed a local, or seen as a profiteering business.
Liam Robinson is the new council leader so he needs to get a grip of his councillors and tell them the city must move forward, having just appointed a number of highly paid development officers.
A small group of rebelious locals and their puppet councillors should realise Liverpool can’t afford to be losing developers because of a narrow political doctrine.

By Anonymous

Manchester is moving ahead at an unbelievable pace and again approves numerous skyscrapers. We object to even low rise developments that would have brought an empty site back in to use. Surely it is no surprise that National and International Developers shun our city.

By David

Liverpool is not Manchester, and locals make a city and have a longer term outlook on things, whereas a transient student population doesn’t. Locals should have more say.

By Geoff

Nimbys win again. Probably want to keep it empty to chuck their rubbish into.

By Anonymous

@ Geoff, you say locals make a city, but that`s not to say they can`t make a mess of it both architecturally and economically,are you in favour of this prejudice against students, where would you like them to live, they get complained about in the suburbs and now in the centre. Liverpool has politically motivated, anti-developments groups objecting to almost every development, you say Liverpool isn`t Manchester, we can see that as they are building their city centre, building their neighbourhoods and attracting jobs in numbers, but we`re not.
You also say locals should have more say, well they have local elections but the ever low turn-out votes in the same dross.

By Anonymous

Local MP protecting their vote same old story sigh !

By Anonymous

Whilst the comments on here about nimbys and local political considerations are true, it should also be remembered that ultimately the proposals failed on justifiable technical grounds. One assumes the developer will revisit the plans, address those concerns and re-submit. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.

By Sceptical

They are absolutely right to reject this. This is in the very heart of the Canning Georgian Conservation Area, not just respected and highly valued locally but generating income for the city in its near constant use as a filming location.

By Andrew

@Andrew, that is completely untrue. Not only is it not ‘in the heart’ of the Georgian quarter, it is some way removed, with a huge hospital, some 1920 corpy flats and a load of Hatton-era semis and bungalows in between.

By Sceptical

I’m backing the inspector on this. It’s a really prominent site and a rubbish design. It would not have been difficult to do a Georgian style building that would seamlessly integrate. The arrogate (and stupidity) of some developers is evident in their schemes.

By Heritage Action

Sorry, @Heritage Action, there isn’t a single Georgian building on that street: the majority are either purpose built student blocks, apartment blocks or low-rise suburban housing. The nearest Georgian building is more than 250 yards away. So a pastiche Georgian-style building would not ‘seamlessly integrate’, but stick out like a sore thumb. The reality is that the quality of the architecture of this scheme is far and away better than anything within about 400 yards of the site – what the developer got wrong, as the Planning Inspector noted, was the parking provision.

By Sceptical

This site is not in the Conservation Area, never mind the centre. Across the road from it is Crown Street Park to its South, new build flats and to its north Student accommodation. No edge or corner of this site connects with and Georgian site. The factory over the road is the oldest building near it.
There has been no residential use of the area since Myrtle Gardens was demolished. The protests are local activists exploiting vulnerable residents by lying to them and trying to make them feel like victims so they can be more easily manipulated.
The push towards 15-minute neighbourhoods and the pressures of climate change should produce pressure for less cars and less car parking.


Quite a few of my namesake on here

By yuppie

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