Despite fierce local opposition, planning permission has been granted for the controversial replacement of Bixteth Street Gardens, a nine-month programme that forms the first part of CTP and Kier Property’s £200m Pall Mall development.
The proposals for Bixteth Street Gardens have attracted vehement opposition from local politicians and residents, despite assurances from the joint venture developers, which are working with landscape architect Re-form, that there will be double the number of trees and three times more planting once the project is complete. Officers had recommended approval.
The Pall Mall project as a whole is 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.
The replacement of Bixteth Gardens attracted 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. An online petition, the organisers of which held a meeting last night at One Fine Day, has garnered around 1,750 signatures.
The councillors argued that the city could not afford to lose the green space, with some arguing the site is designated as such in Liverpool’s Local Plan and should be left alone. Cllr 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 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.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “The proposed Pall Mall scheme is of huge importance to the development of our Commercial District as we need Grade A office space to attract companies and highly skilled jobs to the city.
“I’m delighted we have the green light to begin clearing the site in readiness for the next stage of this scheme which if approved will deliver a much needed high quality green square and new public realm for workers and residents to enjoy throughout the year.
“Judging by the designs it would set a new benchmark for our open spaces and help shape the wider development of the district.”
Tom Gilman, managing director of Kier Property North, added: “This is an important milestone for Pall Mall and Liverpool’s Central Business District, bringing the development one step closer. Liverpool City Council’s reclamation and enabling works are essential to the development of the site which will provide a new and enhanced space for those working, living and visiting the city centre.
“We have been working hard with our team, other stakeholders and vitally the local community, to progress our development plans and look forward to [submitting our planning application for the first phase of development shortly. Our aim for the new Pall Mall scheme is for it to be a destination space in the city centre that will create new jobs and training opportunities.”