Planners pass trio of major schemes in Liverpool

The redevelopment of St John's Shopping Centre, a new hotel next to Lime Street Station and the long-awaited revival of Stanley Dock were all approved last night.

Land Securities' £100m makeover of the tired 1960s St John's centre will include:

  • extending the 360,600 sq ft centre with a further 118,400 sq ft of retail and leisure
  • double-height retail mall which LandSec hopes will help attract new retailers
  • food court relocated to a new catering area at the first-floor level overlooking Clayton Square
  • St John's Market relocated to a purpose-built hall in Williamson Square.

It is anticipated that the new scheme will start on site in the autumn and be completed in spring 2012.

At the corner of Lime Street and Skelhorne Street, Ireland-based developer Chieftain at last saw its, albeit much-revised, plans for two hotels passed.

The 17-storey building will include a 4-star, 209-room hotel next to a 195-room, 2/3-star hotel. Both will be run by hotel operator Clarion.

The scheme replaces an application approved last year that included 88 residential units, which have now been removed due to the housing market slowdown.

Chieftain originally wanted to build a 36-storey tower on the site but the idea was blocked by the council in 2005 over fears it would compete with English Partnerships' and Iliad's nearby Lime Street Gateway tower, which was itself abandoned in 2007.

The third major scheme approved last night would, if finished, see the return to use after 50 years of dereliction of the Stanley Dock complex in North Liverpool, including the landmark 1m sq ft Tobacco Warehouse.

Owner Kitgrove plans 900 apartments – 400 of them one-bedroom – as well as 118,000 sq ft of offices and 30,000 sq ft of exhibition space.

The owner had earlier been asked to sell the building by public sector quangos or else redevelop it soon. A public contest to find a buyer was held but a sale was never completed, due in no small part to the cost of dealing with the infamously low floor heights – 2.3m, equivalent to two bales of tobacco. Two-thirds of the flats will be duplexes with part of the original floor removed to create mezzanines.

Hugh Stallard, of Spring 4, advising Kitgrove, declined to confirm details of the build programme or funding agreements for the £120m project. Kitgrove acquired the site in 1998 from receivers and has held planning consents previously without starting on site.

The 12-acre dock site sits within Peel's planned Liverpool Waters mega-scheme and a potential sale to Peel has been rumoured.

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