Student flats set for sign-off at former schoolhouse

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Liverpool City Council is due to approve a further 190 student bedrooms in Marybone at its planning committee meeting this morning.

The scheme at 55-63 Great Crosshall Street was submitted by Bridgewater Services and designed by Falconer Chester Hall.

The plot is made up of a grade two-listed former schoolhouse for St John’s Church and the site of a warehouse which was demolished to make way for an earlier residential scheme which stalled in 2007 when the developer entered administration.

The schoolhouse dates to the 1860s.

Bridgewater’s proposal is to convert the former schoolhouse into flats alongside a new-build part five, six and eight storey block to provide 193 student rooms, made up of 31 studios and 29 cluster units.

The development is near to a student accommodation scheme of 400 bedrooms currently under construction, also designed by Falconer Chester Hall and being delivered by Watkin Jones Group.

Bridgewater’s plans received objections from local residents and Councillors Nick Small, Sharon Sullivan and Christine Banks, stating that they considered “like the majority of the residents, that Marybone has been overdeveloped with student accommodation”.

However, according to a report ahead of the committee meeting, “whilst the head of planning recognises the different characteristics and lifestyles between students and other residential occupiers, in land use policy terms the Liverpool UDP does not differentiate between student and non-student living”.

Liverpool city centre has seen an influx of planning applications and approvals for student accommodation projects in the last year, which has led to calls for the council to produce a development strategy for the sector. However an independent review commissioned by the Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson published in September concluded that the pipeline of new schemes does not need to be limited as “the growth is part of the natural development cycle and will eventually diminish”.

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“In land use policy terms the Liverpool UDP does not differentiate between student and non-student living”. Isn’t this all that needs to change in Liverpool if it is to manage the pipeline in that sector?

By James