Orleans House could be refurbished to provide 71 flats under plans to be discussed on 12 April

Liverpool set to approve £50m Baltic Tower and Orleans House refit

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

The city council’s planning committee will meet next week to discuss Elliot Group’s latest residential scheme in Liverpool’s southern docklands, alongside the office-to-resi conversion of Bruntwood’s Orleans House.

The committee meeting on 19 April, follows a successful design review of Elliot Group’s initial proposals and will see two blocks of 15 and 14 storeys put forward on the site overlooking Liverpool’s exhibition centre.

Consultants from Liverpool City Council’s urban design team, from English Heritage and Falconer Chester Hall had to identify the most appropriate height and scale for the development, in the light of the need to protect views of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral.

The £50m project will provide 253 apartments for owner-occupiers at the site at the bottom of Norfolk Street and Watkinson Street with amenities including an on-site residents’ gym, an outdoor spa, basement parking and high quality landscaping. There will also be a 6,000 sq ft ground floor Entrepreneurs’ Hub for the area’s start-up companies.

Elliot Lawless of Elliot Group, said: “If approved the scheme will set the bar for height in Baltic. It was never feasible that a southern cluster of high rise buildings would match that in the north end of the city centre but it was also never clear what was permissible or desirable.

“We’ve got certainty now and the process has been highly constructive. Our aim now is to deliver a scheme that brings larger, owner-occupied apartments to the market suitable for people down-sizing from the suburbs.”

At the same meeting, the council is due to approve a planning application from Bruntwood for the restoration and refurbishment of an office within the city’s commercial district, into 71 flats.

The grade two-listed Orleans House in Edmund Street was designed by Matear & Simon and was built in 1907. The property was originally used as a warehouse for Liverpool’s Cotton Exchange, which is next door and is also owned by Bruntwood.

The residential conversion of the six-storey block has been designed by Brock Carmichael, with The Planning Studio also advising Bruntwood.

Orleans House is currently vacant.

According to the design and access statement submitted by Brock Carmichael with the application “the reduction in the demand for this type of commercial space has resulted in an oversupply within the Liverpool market.

“Orleans House has been under occupied for an extensive period of time and this proposal to convert the building from vacant commercial office to 71 residential apartments will ensure its long term viability and the maintenance of the building and its historic fabric.”

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EH, take a very keen view( some might say unhealthy) of what happens in Liverpool,they and other organisations could appear to be holding Liverpool back, by their constant interference and objections, it’s surprising that don’t have an office in Liverpool, considering the amount of time they spend here, at least they could put something back instead of stymying things..

By Man on bicycle

It is difficult to see how a development that is 70% studios and 1 bedroom apartments, provides 1 car park space for 10 apartments and will be marketed primarily overseas and off plan is really aimed at owner occupier down sizers. Still, it is a good line to feed to the council.

By slightly sceptical

The height restrictions will force the high-rise – as they are developed into clusters – which is no bad thing. Agree though that English Heritage should put more back if it spends so much time in Liverpool.
New China Town/St James will make a good location for a cluster of high-rise at the southern end, just beyond most of the Anglican cathedral ‘views’.
It’s just good to see developments going apace so rapidly now in Baltic. There was always great potential as it combines Waterfront with the expanded city centre and completes a loop up Bold Street/Ropewalks through Chinatown to the Exhibition centre end of the Waterfront and effectively expands the city centre greatly. We need the Combined Authority/Merseytraval to keep their eye on the viability of reopening St. James station on the Northern Line and protecting the Wapping Tunnel for future use too as a Kings Dock station for the ACC and the southern docks.

By Gwydion

I don’t think English Heritage is holding Liverpool back; on the contrary I think they are doing a good job of protecting the city’s unique appeal from unplanned anytown development. There’s another city 35 miles to the east that is successfully accommodating those – the two cities don’t need to be trying to do the same thing.

Liverpool will do best to offer something different to the bigger and more central regional cities, and I think English Heritage’s interest in the place will help to secure that.

By Gregg

With England’s best skyline,Liverpool needs to be careful.So far it has blended old and new well.Shame about the entrance through Broad Green,as it makes you want to turn back rather than carry on to the city

By Elephant

By constanly challenging proposed schemes such this and LW’s these outside English agencies are affecting the economic growth and potential investors return, this is hardly a big building but they have chopped 5 floors off. I too appreciate the look of the building rather than the size, so I am not advocating skyscrapers for the sake of them, I’ve been to many cities which have them and they tend to dehumanise the areas in which they are situated,but nearly every planning application in Liverpool seems to have an objection to it.

By Man on bicycle

We need to find a location where Liverpool can let rip as it did in the late 19th early 20th centuries. I think Pall Mall, back of Liverpool Waters would be the best location for that – very central but just behind the historic docks, and with superb views over Liverpool Bay. Would replace the multitude of high rise formally on the hill further back at Everton and demolished for good reasons in the 80s to create Everton Park which is in turn now maturing nicely.

By Gwydion

EH are a massive hindrance to Liverpool’s potential. All good and well saying we need to preserve its unique character, but that only works for museums. Liverpool should be able to build bigger to help recapture commercial success, it was built on such things after all. Museums don’t create jobs and wealth, progressive cities do and at the moment this great city is being prevented by the likes of EH.


EH do need to think more carefully about where Liverpool came from, but we have the WHS and it recognises Liverpool’s uniqueness. Maritime Heritage is one of Liverpool’s USPs and helps drive the economy too. There are ways of preserving that AND having ambitious development. EH and city authorities need to get together and work out where that can be achieved recognising that ambition is what made Liverpool what it is and created the superb built environment it has.

By Gwydion