PLANNING | Municipal Buildings heads Liverpool agenda

Singapore hospitality group Fragrance’s plans to convert the grade two-listed former council headquarters on Dale Street into a 189-room hotel have been recommended for approval when Liverpool City Council’s planning committee meets next week.

The investor acquired the site in 2017 from the council and has planned a conversion of the 130,000 sq ft building into a four-star hotel featuring a swimming pool and spa, lobby and lower ground floor and ground floor levels, a ballroom, a bar and restaurant, and a conference hall.

Of the 189 rooms, there will be 24 and 29 guest bedrooms on the lower ground and ground floors respectively, with 68 on the first floor and 67 on the second floor.

A four-storey bronze-clad extension is proposed to the rear next to the NCP car park; this will house leisure facilities, some hotel rooms, and plant. The main entrance to the hotel will be via Dale Street.

The building was in council use until March 2017, although a “One Stop Shop” facility was operational at the site until February this year.Municipal Infills

Recommending the proposals for approval, Liverpool Council planners said: “The hotel will add to the diversity of tourist accommodation offer within the city, contributing towards a sustainable mix of uses in an accessible location, benefiting the local economy, providing enhanced employment prospects and assisting the regeneration of the area”.

The proposals have also been largely welcomed by Historic England which said the extension to the rear was “considered to be sensitive to the significance of the building”, although the heritage body did add that subdividing the building into hotel rooms would “result in a low level of harm” to the building’s significance.

The plans have been recommended for approval subject to a Section 106 agreement, which includes £56,000 towards tree planting – half of which will be paid before the development begins – and a contribution towards the provision of public art.

The professional team features Falconer Chester Hall as architect, Turley as planner, Curtins as structural engineer, Crookes Walker on M&E, Auditive as acoustic consultant, Turley Heritage, Tyrer Partnership on ecology and TTHC on transport.

Also on the agenda is an application to demolish The Plough pub on Rice Lane and replace it with a hotel. The outline application has been recommended for approval by the council, despite the plans attracting more than 100 objections from local residents. Councillors Ann O’Byrne and Richard McLinden have also objected to the plans.

The plans are in outline form, meaning the layout and scale will be determined by a future planning application.

Council planners pointed out the building was not listed, either locally or nationally, nor was it afforded any protection through Conservation Area designations, meaning the council had “limited control” over its retention.

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In my opinion, the best building in Liverpool. A symbol of the city’s grandeur.

By Derek

The Tobacco Warehouse, the Anglican Cathedral, St George’s Hall, the three graces and so many more are much better buildings.

By Anonymous

Anonymous, that’s why I said “in my opinion”. That’s how these things work.

By Derek