Plans to redevelop the site of the grade two-listed Lyceum Theatre on Church Street will go to Salford’s planning committee next week, more than 10 years after a facade retention and new-build proposal was first approved.
The site, latterly a theatre and then a bingo hall, has been derelict for around two decades, with a number of proposals put forward over the years.
Planning permission was granted for a facade retention and demolition of the majority of the building, to be replaced with apartments, in September 2008. However, this was never progressed.
A plan to demolish the entire building was then put forward in 2015, but plans were withdrawn following consultations with the council and Historic England.
The latest iteration of the application by developer Foregate is proposing the demolition of all but the existing structure of the theatre, and replace the dilapidated buildings to the rear with a new-build eight-storey mixed-use development.
The brick-clad new-build element is set to feature 82 apartments, with a mix of 49 one-beds, 31 two-beds, and two three-beds.
What was the foyer of the existing theatre is set to be retained as a 1,900 sq ft unit, which has been suggested for use as a small business unit or a shop.
According to planning documents from the architect, Ochre Building Design, the council had made it “abundantly clear” that “retaining a significant part of the existing building was paramount to a successful proposal”.
Historic England has signalled its support for the latest iteration of the plans, welcoming the retention of the theatre buildings; although the loss of theatre’s auditorium is said to cause a high level of harm, this has been classed as “less than substantial” in planning terms.
Recommending the scheme for approval, Salford Council planning officers said that re-using the building as a community space would require “significant investment” and “may not be viable”, making a residential conversion of the site the most appropriate route to save the building.
According to a viability statement reviewed by the council, any addition of affordable housing would impact the scheme’s deliverability, therefore an affordable housing contribution, either on-site or off, is not required as part of the plans.
Other Section 106 contributions, largely towards public open space, add up to around £350,000.
Planning officers said: “There has long been a desire to secure and appropriately develop this site. The existing structure is listed and has become increasingly derelict since it was last vacated. The current owner has previously secured a number of permissions to redevelop the site however none have proven to be viable.”
“The applicant has now devised a form and quantum of uses which are viable and this drives the scheme now proposed. Whilst this form is perhaps larger than Officers would typically accept alongside a listed structure, mechanisms have been employed to ensure a clear distinction will exist between listed and new elements.
“This includes the use of various materials and visual breaks between the old and new.”
The professional team also includes Indigo as planner.