The redevelopment of the landmark building, on Seabank Road, Wallasey has moved a step closer with the submission of a planning application outlining a total of 137 homes on site, including 34 apartments in the restored main building.
Andrew Gibson House was built for the widows of retired seafarers. Currently derelict, it is owned by charitable trust Nautilus Welfare Fund. Following a stalled redevelopment in 2016, Wirral Council last year sold an adjacent plot to developer Prospect Capital, which will build three blocks of flats, made up of 26, 61 and 11 homes respectively.
The building’s two-storey lodge, fronting Blenheim Road, will also be converted into housing, and three new standalone houses built. The modern extension to Andrew Gibson House is to be demolished, and the main building redeveloped.
Liverpool-based architect Splace Plus has designed the scheme, with Indigo advising on planning. The professional team also includes Hydrock, Clancy Consulting, The Environment Partnership and Bowland Tree Consultancy.
The site fronts Seabank Road, and the new build elements are to be built at the rear of the site, overlooking the River Mersey across Egremont Promenade, immediately to the south of Mariners Park. Indigo’s planning statement describes the site as sustainable, with a small high street less than 200m away.
Block A will accommodate extra care housing for retired seafarers and will comprise 26 apartments, with six one-bedroom apartments and 20 two-bedroom apartments over three upper floors, along with a communal lounge at ground floor.
The 61-bedroom Block B will include 26 one-bedroom apartments, 22 two-bedroom apartments and 13 duplex apartments. It will be a curved building, reaching six storeys at the riverside elevation, but due to the site’s topography, will only rise four storeys from the ‘main’ level of the Andrew Gibson House site.
At three storeys, Block C is proposed as a walk-up apartment block, with three one-bedroom apartments, seven two-bedroom apartments and one three-bedroom apartment.
The principle of development is established through previous consents – a 2008 permission approved 34 flats in the main house and 11 three-storey houses – on top of which Wirral Council cannot currently demonstrate a five-year housing supply and is clearly keen, given its 2017 land deal, to save a building that has been empty for ten years.
Work required within the main building is described as minimal, with the main parts being renovation of windows and the installation of a new lift. The building was remodelled in the 1980s from 40 bedsit rooms to 25 self-contained flats but retains the original plan of the communal rooms and many original features including the main staircase.
Indigo’s planning statement concluded: “This application is an exciting scheme for the provision of 137 new units of a high quality bespoke and contemporary design in the form of apartments and houses.
“The conversion of Andrew Gibson House and the lodge will be sensitive to the existing non-designated heritage assets whilst the proposed houses and apartments are distinctive in their design and will raise the bar of design quality in the area.”