LJMU Copperas Hill Proposed Visual June 2018 Low Res

LJMU outlines £64m vision for Copperas Hill

Liverpool John Moores University is aiming to have a “student destination” open at Copperas Hill by autumn 2020, around 18 months after a previous redevelopment of the site was scrapped due to rising costs.

The university has outlined plans for two new building at the three-and-a-half acre site; a student life building and a sports building. Designed by Sheppard Robson, the student life building will sit on the corner of Copperas Walk and Skelhorne Street, and will include a student advice and wellbeing centre; career advisory services; a student union; and common learning space.

Meanwhile, the Sports Building will be split over two and three storeys in height, and will house an eight-court sports hall; three multi-purpose halls; a gym; and associated facilities.

These two buildings form the first phase of the project, and subject to planning consent this summer, the university is planning to complete the scheme in around two years’ time.

There are also plans for significant public realm improvements to help the area act as a gateway for the wider Knowledge Quarter development.

Alongside Sheppard Robson, the professional team includes planner Barton Willmore, Faithful + Gould, Cundall, and WSP. A main contractor is yet to be appointed.

Greg Dickson, planning director at Barton Willmore, said: “The regeneration of Copperas Hill forms a key component in the delivery of both LJMU’s strategic framework and the vision for the gateway to the KQ.

“The proposals present an exciting opportunity to transform this forgotten area of Liverpool to deliver high-quality student life and sports Buildings to create a connected LJMU campus in Liverpool City Centre.”

Formerly home to the Royal Mail Sorting Office, the Copperas Hill site has been long mooted for development.

Initial plans for a £70m refurbishment of the sorting office were first put forward in 2014, and contractor Lendlease was brought on board to deliver a multi-use student facility, designed by BDP.

However, costs rose to £100m between 2014 and 2015, and work halted on the 280,000 sq ft building in late 2016. This led to a change in professional team with Lendlease no longer involved with the project.

The sorting office was demolished last year and the site has now been fully cleared.

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What confuses me about this is, if £100m was too much then why all the fanfare about it back in 2016?

There was no mention then that £100m was too much. In fact there was more than one article in various places suggesting it was full steam ahead.

Planning permission was granted in early 2016 on the basis of the £100m plans.

It was only some months later that work was halted, citing escalating costs:

I find these new plans anything but “exciting”. It looks like a rather small concrete building, and a lot of empty land. I trust the empty land isn’t going to be sold off for other purposes, resulting in a prime location side being used for yet more low end flats?

Might they have received more resistance had they put these plans forward in 2016, rather than the ones they did do only to pull them a few months later?

By Mike

Have to say that instinctively the Lendleasenplan sounded more viable. Massive sorting office will be v expensive to demolish which means with land and demolition your are further into the red before you start. Now they have flattened it the worry is they will be a long time untangling the financials due to that fact.

By A Developer