Inspectors demand urgent works to Futurist Cinema

Building safety inspectors have served Liverpool City Council with a legal notice giving it until tomorrow to make the derelict Futurist Cinema structurally safe, after it was found that there was a high risk of external tiles falling off.

Inspectors from the council’s building control team found that the condition of the structure on Lime Street has deteriorated, with internal collapse, leaning walls and a high risk that cladding tiles may fall off.

They have served the city council with a Section 77 legal notice giving five days from Friday to make the structure completely safe.

A cordon was placed around the site on the evening of Friday 15 April, with the public footpath closed off and access for traffic on part of Lime Street reduced to a single lane in each direction.

The Futurist Cinema is due to be demolished as part of the £35m Lime Street regeneration scheme, being delivered by Regeneration Liverpool, a joint venture between Sigma Inpartnership, the council, and developer Neptune.

Lime Street June 2015 design

Regeneration Liverpool said it was unable to retain the Futurist Cinema due to its condition, as part of its £35m plans to rebuild around Lime Street

Plans were first submitted at the start of 2015, but these were revised after criticism from residents.

The revised proposal designed by Broadway Malyan, with IBI Group as planning agent, includes 30,000 sq ft of commercial space, a 101-bedroom hotel, and an 11-storey 412-bedroom student residential building. The planning application was then approved in summer 2015.

The decision to demolish the facade of the former Futurist cinema as part of the proposals has been unpopular with the public.

In January this year the High Court dismissed an application from campaign group Save Britain’s Heritage for a judicial review into the approval process behind the scheme.

Mark Kitts, assistant director of regeneration at Liverpool City Council, said: “The Futurist has been deteriorating for a very long time and when we bought the site a couple of years ago it was already pretty much beyond repair.

“Sadly we were unable to find a way of saving it as part of the regeneration proposals for Lime Street, and we are now at the stage where it has become a danger to public safety.

“The legal notice requires us to take action within five days, which is why we are moving quickly to make the area around it safe before starting to deconstruct the parts of the structure that are unsafe.”

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Save the Futurist! You can you just won’t

By Bob Dawson

The UK “high street” is chock full of poorly-maintained structures like these that pose a grave risk to pedestrians below. It’s a national scandal but as it’s not sexy like ‘BIM’ it therefore gets no attention from the RICS, RIBA, CIOB etc.

By Alan Baxter

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