Search starts in February for St Luke’s operator

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Liverpool City Council is due to invite expressions of interest from potential occupiers of the bombed-out church in Bold Street next month, as specialist contractors reach the end of the £150,000 first phase of urgent works to the building.

Stone repairers Duggan & Parr have been on site at St Luke’s since October completing urgent works to make the structure safe and repair crumbling stone work and replace corroded iron supports. In the past 50 years only ad hoc repairs have been carried out on the building.

See below for images of repair works taking place at St Luke’s

The £500,000 total repair costs for the grade two-listed St Luke’s are being jointly funded by the council and Historic England.

St Luke’s Church in Bold Street was built in 1831 by John Foster and John Foster Jr. It was severely damaged by air raids in 1941 and was maintained in its current “bombed out” state as an art space and cultural venue. The building has been on English Heritage’s At Risk Register since 1998.

In August 2015 the council held a consultation on the future of the church which received more than 6,000 responses, and showed that the public supported the church’s continued use as an arts venue as well as a war memorial.

A report to Liverpool City Council’s cabinet which is due to meet on Friday 22 January has proposed that the later phases are “fast tracked to coincide with the procurement of a suitable end user/operator for the building”.

The majority of outstanding repairs include major works to the tower structure, window tracery, low level stonework and perimeter railings and gate piers to St Luke’s Gardens. The site is currently closed to the public.

The council is the freeholder of the land, and is making the lease available at a peppercorn rent, although the winning bidder will need to demonstrate that it will invest profits from activities on the site into the maintenance of the building.

The project is due to complete in 2017.

Chester-based Donald Insall Architects is advising on the project.

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