Pall Mall Green Square CGI
Proposals for a new public square at Pall Mall

Bixteth Gardens rescue bid set to fail as Pall Mall start nears

Charlie Schouten

Pall Mall, one of Liverpool’s largest commercial office projects, is primed to move forward with the council looking to give the go-ahead to a nine-month remediation programme at Bixteth Gardens, despite opposition from local politicians and residents.

The £200m project, being delivered by CTP and Kier Property, is set to feature three speculatively-developed offices, a hotel, and around 80,200 sq ft of public space including a new square. Overall, there will be around 400,000 sq ft of office space.

This will necessitate the replacement of the existing Bixteth Gardens, although the developer said there will be double the number of trees and three times more planting once the project is complete. Re-form is the landscape architect.

However, the replacement of Bixteth Gardens has attracted some criticism from local groups as well as eight local councillors – Cllrs Nick Small, Sharon Sullivan, Christine Banks, Steve Munby, Thomas Crone, Sarah Jennings, Anna Key, and Lawrence Brown.

All the councillors have argued against the loss of “green space” at Bixteth Gardens, with some arguing the site is designated as such in Liverpool’s Local Plan and should be left alone. Small argued the area was “a catalyst for attracting people to come and live and work in the area, and the removal of the mature trees will undermine the air quality in the area, as they help to address harmful emissions”.

Cllr Small had also suggested that the planning application for the remediation should be heard at the same time as a planning application for phase one of the development, including the first office building and the public realm. This is expected to follow in the coming months, with work on the office set to begin this year. A public consultation was held last year.

There have also been 62 objections from local residents, who similarly argue against “the loss of green space”.

However, planning officers have signalled their support for the remediation, while the council’s environmental, landscape, and conservation teams have also not put forward any objections.

Recommending the remediation for approval when Liverpool City Council’s planning committee meets next week, planning officers admitted there would be a “temporary loss of public space” while works were being undertaken, but argued the site was “central to the city’s ambition to grow its business sector”.

“The proposed reclamation works are necessary to prepare the land so it’s in the right condition ready for development”, said the planners’ report.

Officers pointed out that the site has been set aside for office development under the city’s Local Plan, and argued the site was originally a “temporary treatment” and was “not intended to be permanent public open space”, with the intention always being to develop the site at some point.

Remediation works are expected to take around nine months; this will be supported by a £3.5m grant from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Single Investment Fund. Works include a £1.5m scheme to relocate a substation on Bixteth Street, and around £1m towards earthworks. Existing operational substations will also be decommissioned,

Willmott Dixon is to be appointed via the Scape framework to manage the remediation, which will clear the site for future development. This programme is expected to take around 17 weeks.

The recommendation to approve comes with a condition that the site will be re-landscaped if the Pall Mall project is delayed for any reason.

Your Comments

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Good. Now get it built. Councillor Small should hang his head in shame. Concerned more about his own position than the long term good of his city

By CMW

Glad this is going ahead. Liverpool desperately needs more high quality office space. Also, so longer as the garden/public space looks like that in the renders, it will represent an improvement on what is currently there!

By Chris

Good news the City desperately needs this time of development and commitement for the benefit of the whole region.

By Liverpolitis

Excellent news, lets get it built with new purposefully created gardens and public spaces. This new office space is desperately needed, and will create a whole new environment for the city, encouraging the development of business within Liverpool.

By Louis C

It beggars belief that some councillors are willing to sacrifice jobs, regeneration, rateable income and Liverpool’s competitive position in support of their spat with Mayor Anderson. Will they be stating that as part of their manifesto in any forthcoming election? I think we should be told.

By Sceptical

The local Labour Party clearly in open warfare with each other now. For Joe the bell tolls… Grandstanding rather than thinking of the real purpose of the Council, to create the right conditions for investment and new jobs.

By John Smith

Great news get it built, replace with higher quality landscaping that has the opportunity to be actually more biodiverse! Cllrs need to pick their battles and start fighting for quality in this city.

By LEighteen

Good to see this getting off the ground. Let’s make sure this is the first phase with a lot more office development along Pall Mall and back to Moorfields, with a good landscape/public realm masterplan for the whole area to join everything up.

By Roscoe

The bell has tolled for Big Joe for many years but nothing happens!

By Mary Smiley

Small is a disgrace. He’s knows you can’t go wrong in politics by saying you like grass and trees, so has whipped up a mob for his own ends.

Labour has a lot to answer for in inflicting such 3rd rate ditritus on Liverpool, whilst ensuring Manchester is put on a different level entirely. Unless of course that is the plan?

By Morgan

And as it should, the is the CBD, and this is a much much needed development. Small’s objectives a plain and obvious, and is a danger to the cities development. I’m all for correct and appropriate objection such as the recent Calderstones decision personally, but this is a much needed development where the current scrubby green space will both be replaced with something far better, but most importantly new grade A office space for the city. Get it built.

By L17

Please do not fall into the trap of referring to the small area behind Mercury Court as “Bixteth Gardens” – never was and never has been.

By Craig

This isn’t political it’s about the health and well being of this city, this is the ONLY green space, and there isn’t even a clear plan on what will be built once these trees are destroyed and the wildlife decimated. Liverpool has the highest growth of any city in terms of residents….that’s because its a city with character and history..not grey appalling office buildings…lets convert the old listed building to offices and hotels before doing this. This won’t get published…all the comments seem suspiciously similar.

By Bixteth Resident

There is plenty of space in Liverpool city centre to build hotels and offices without using up the little green space that remains. The council and developers should hang their heads in shame at putting profit before the well being of the city and its residents.

By Johanna M Roberts

It’s just scale. Liverpool can compete on all levels but needs to be even more ambitious on commercial office space.

By Roscoe

I fear by referring to the Site as merely land at Pall Mall and to the Proposal as remediation, they are leaving themselves wide open to legal challenge, just as they did at Calderstones (and went on to lose again last week).

Indeed a local resident I work with wasn’t too bothered either way; but, now he’s aggrieved as Planning failed to even send him the notice. Others weren’t even aware this appn referred to Bixteth St and assumed not unreasonably that it referred to the wasteland further along on Pall Mall.

By Roger S

Here we go again: people on the verge of describing a scrappy piece of in-fill landscaping in the sort of glowing terms reserved for national parks. If you don’t like development and a changing city, why on earth did you buy a place in the central business district? And how selfish to seek to control the city’s economic fortunes for your own political ends. I despair of Liverpool sometimes.

By Sceptical

What a load of selfish people starting to come on again, trying to deny employment and investment opportunities for the vast majority of the citizens of Liverpool. Its not like they are not getting green space in the proposal. Stop being manipulated by dissent councillors who would probably support it if it was in their interests.

By Town Hall Tommy

Plot of green space followed by a mass of brown land , jobs jobs jobs

By Anonymous

Interesting that the Commercial District SRF comes along after this planning application. Surely it should be delayed until the SRF, that is in motion, is complete.

By Mikes mate

@bixteth resident, “appalling office buildings”? The last time I checked this was the city’s office district! Residential developments have only popped up here in the last 20 years or so. I’m happy that you are helping populate the city centre, but if you think that should give you a veto on developments fundamental to the Liverpool’s economic survival, you’re sadly mistaken. To address your points: The wildlife will be rehomed, the green space will soon be replaced by something bigger and better managed, and there aren’t many old empty buildings left in Liverpool’s downtown now to convert to anything. Face it, you haven’t got a leg to stand on. Which is probably why most the time your side of the argument end up falling back on reductive points about how trees will die, or conjuring up conspiratorial online bogeymen. There are people out there going on the arguments and what’s best for Liverpool, rather than rent-a-mob tree huggers, venal politicos, and self interested types who think they have a god given right to see only suburbia from their apartment windows. Who’d have thought that, eh?

By Morgan

I delighted that this plan is gong ahead.We need new buldilngs that enhance the city..

By Helen McAllister

I’m as much a defender of green spaces as the next person, but this, if done as laid out above simply needs to happen. Liverpool needs higher grade office space than is currently available if it’s to compete with other core cities in the North. The local Labour Party, with such public display of in fighting, is undermining us as a place and local authority area that investors might want to do business with.
Bring on 2nd May and let’s hope for some political change where a coherent, consistent & properly scrutinised set of Cllrs are elected, from a variety of parties.

By The Childwall Kid

Fantastic news. This needs to be started A.S.A.P. Shame on the people trying to stop this development. Nick Small town needs to change his vocation. For people to call it Bixteth Gardens is fanciful at best. The proposal is well designed and will improve the CBD massively and provide a landscaped and well looked after green oasis too.

By Gerald Vortier

All good news and very welcome

By Ryan

What a relief! Honestly, it beggars belief that people are calling this area of grass ‘a garden’. This is the CBD of a major city. The reason the ‘garden’ arose was because for many years Liverpool had not been building new office accommodation. Now it is.

I just don’t get the mentality of someone who would buy a flat in a central business district, and then expect never to see business development there. What is to be built and what will replace the ‘garden’ is far superior in terms of amenity, management and the future prospects of the city as a whole.

Nick Small, and a good few other Liverpool councillors, seem only to care about their own immediate position, and their on-going war of attrition against other council members.

By JA

‘Bixteth Resident’ suggests that the grassy area behind the old Exchange station is the “only green area” in the city centre? No, it isn’t!St Nick’s garden; the Pier Head; King’s dock; St James garden; St John’s garden, and others……The common denominator with all of the these, though, is that they have been designed, and conceived of, as green spaces and gardens. The land behind Exchange station was meant as a ‘filler’; to brighten up an area blighted by lack of development.

A major city requires a mixed economy if it is to support itself and its population. Offices are required alongside hotels. It is naive to suggest that we shouldn’t build new office developments whilst old office buildings are empty. The demands of modern businesses, in many cases, require new purpose built accommodation.The older buildings are gradually converted into residential and leisure, and where appropriate re-developed into work space. This happens in all of our cities. Liverpool has been exceptional in recent years in that it has not built any new offices at all. Everywhere else has and continues to do so. And those cities have thriving and growing city centre populations too. City centres are primarily places of commerce and governance as well as culture & leisure. The leisure cannot survive without the commerce

That you should think that all of these posts which show disagreement with your objections, are, merely, the hand of one or two people with a gripe is quite frankly ridiculous, and shows just how out of touch you are.

By JA

Childwall Kid – but LibDem, Liberal and Green Cllr oppose this so your ‘solution’ would in fact mean more appns are rejected.

JA – to be fair it is the only public open green space in the CBD. The rest are routinely closed off for private events.

By Roger S

The city centre needs to actively build small accessible parks in various sites around the city , nothing huge just small fenced off green areas with access to sit off and enjoy rest from hustle and bustle

By Gary

Focus on either securing a quality tenant for the build, or filling the vast amount of empty space in neighbouring buildings and around the city before removing even more open spaces, jobs don’t just magically appear because all of you property developers produce glossy brochures. The council is right to protect the meagre green and open spaces in the city, otherwise we’re looking at a dystopian future. Stop looking at London and even Manchester and look at up and coming cities in Europe like Montpellier and Nantes.

By Wilk

All the other comments are from Tory voters.

By Iain Sumner

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