Decision expected on £30m Benmore scheme in January

Liverpool City Council is expected to make a decision in January on Benmore's controversial £30m retail and leisure plans in Speke.

The Belfast-based developer has submitted plans, through its Towerbeg subsidiary, for a seven-screen cinema, 18 commercial units and a 78-bed hotel on a 15-acre brownfield site near the New Mersey Retail Park off Speke Hall Road.

It is also seeking outline permission for a 120-bed hotel, another 78-bed hotel and a further three commercial units.

The proposals have been opposed by Peel Holdings, which owns land nearby, and Ford, which leases part of the site for a car storage and distribution operation. It says around 180 jobs would be lost if the plans go ahead.

Peel said the scheme does not represent "sustainable economic growth", arguing it will frustrate the expansion of a neighbouring rail freight terminal and impact on the region's growth.

Planning officers recommended the scheme for approval in November but Towerbeg withdrew the application from the meeting. The group's PR firm, Paver Smith, said it should be reconsidered at a planning meeting on January 10.

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