Albert Dock Grand Hall Thomas

Plans in for Albert Dock children’s attraction

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

A vacant unit at Liverpool’s Albert Dock could be converted into a children’s play area, themed around popular TV characters such as Thomas the Tank Engine, according to plans submitted to the council.

The application from Heritage Great Britain is for the change of use of the 13,100 sq ft Grand Hall corner unit at Albert Dock. The space previously housed the Bugworld Experience and has been vacant since the insect zoo closed in 2010.

According to the plans, designed by Blok Architecture, three linked play areas would be built within the space. Artist’s impressions of the rooms show the themes of TV programmes Thomas & Friends, Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder.

The conversion would also include a café and retail area.

The unit is within a grade one-listed building, so has original features including yorkstone and cobbled flooring and exposed brickwork ceiling vaults. According to the application, the listed features would not be affected by the change of use.

Heritage Great Britain owns UK landmarks such as Land’s End in Cornwall, John O’Groats in Scotland, Snowdon Mountain Railway and the Isle of Wight lighthouse.

A spokesman for Heritage Brand Ventures, a subsidiary of Heritage Great Britain, said: “A planning application has been submitted and we are continuing to work with the Albert Dock Company and our partners to deliver a world class children’s themed leisure facility.

“However we are unable to disclose any further details at this time due to a non-disclosure agreement being in place.”

The planning application was submitted by Roman Summer on behalf of Heritage Brand Ventures.

HIT Entertainment, a subsidiary of Fisher-Price, owns the licenses for Thomas & Friends, Fireman Sam, and Bob the Builder. There was no comment from HIT at the time of publication.

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