Student housing role proposed for historic former hospital

Simon Donohue

Plans to convert a landmark former homeopathic hospital in Liverpool's Hope Street into student accommodation are expected to be considered by the city council this month.

Developer Maghull Group already has planning consent to transform Hahnemann House into a boutique hotel but says the saturated city centre hotel market means it would be unviable.

Heritage groups have fought to protect Hahnemann House, which secured grade 2-listed status on the basis of its special architectural or historic interest.

Maghull's revised plans relate to Hahnemann House and 58 Hope Street.

The application is for 94 student accommodation units providing a total of 104 beds and includes converting the existing former homeopathic hospital wards and offices into self-contained studios, retaining the building's original layout and internal features.

Sean McGurren, managing director of Maghull Group, said: "We have an existing planning consent to convert the building into a boutique hotel but this project would have involved the construction of a modern, three-storey glazed atrium to connect the Hahnemann building with the adjacent listed Georgian town house, 58 Hope Street, and massive changes to the internal configuration of rooms and spaces.

"This new application will enable us to retain all the important internal features and character with minimal visible work to its fabric and structure.

"This is not a standardised student product. It offers a specific kind and quality of accommodation which is attractive to mature post-graduate and overseas students and which is not widely available within Liverpool's existing offer. We are designing a scheme that fulfils a niche need and will be managed and delivered in a way that respects our neighbours and their amenity."

The architect for the development is Falconer Chester Hall Architects.

Roman Summer Associates is advising Maghull on the development.

Maghull is in advanced negotiations with a student accommodation provider who could be in place to operate the scheme from September 2014 if planning approval is obtained.

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