PLANNING | Controversial Monarch’s Quay call centre set for consent

A call centre on land earmarked for tourism use at Monarch’s Quay is among the proposals recommended for approval when Liverpool City Council’s planning committee meets next week.

The plans for a four-storey, 45,000 sq ft office block, designed by architect Falconer Chester Hall with YPG as developer, were met with fury by the local property community when first proposed in September this year.

The office block is set to be home to a call centre for The Contact Company, a business owned by Asif Hamid, chairman of the city region’s Local Enterprise Partnership.

The site is the last prime waterfront plot at Kings Dock and sits next to the arena and convention centre, Pullman hotel, multi-storey car park and residential blocks. It was originally highlighted in the LEP’s visitor economy strategy and destination management plan as ideal for “Olympic standard ice rink, extreme sports centre and quality restaurants.”

The council defended the scheme following the planning application, and claimed other sites were proposed for the call centre but “the occupier preferred the Kings Dock location”.

“The visitor economy components of this scheme are currently being considered and plans will emerge in due course in line with the approved masterplan,” added the council.

The proposals have now been recommended for approval when Liverpool’s planning committee meets on Tuesday 19 December.

Council planning officers said: “The redevelopment of the site with a striking modern building and high quality public amenity space presents the opportunity to further strengthen the built form on Monarch’s Quay and visually enhance its dockside setting.

“The development will deliver approximately 1200 jobs within a landmark building and a substantial area of high quality landscaped public open space leading down to Queen’s Dock, providing recreation opportunities for future residents and visitors to Monarch’s Quay.

“Furthermore, it will contribute towards the creation of an inviting local environment with a sense of place and assist to fulfil the aspirations of the Kings Dock Masterplan.”

The land was acquired by Liverpool City Council earlier this year from the Homes & Communities Agency using £6m from the Regional Growth Fund.

A number of other schemes are also on next week’s agenda, with a recommendation to approve.

Land off Devon Street

Devon Street FCH

Developer: Devon Street Limited
Architect: Falconer Chester Hall
Planner: Zerum
Storeys: Seven
Student beds: 124

The proposals for a car park site on the northern edge of the city centre have been recommended for approval by planning officers, subject to a legal agreement.

The development will include 3,200 sq ft of commercial space across two units at ground floor level. There will be 44 student apartments and eight student clusters of 10 beds each on the upper floors, for a total of 124 student rooms.

It neighbours YPG’s proposals for nearly 600 student flats at Gildart Street, which was given the green light by the council earlier this month.

5 Parr Street/Slater Place

Parr Street Liverpool Elliot Group

Developer: Wolstenholme Square Developments/Elliot Group
Architect: Falconer Chester Hall
Planner: Zerum
Storeys: Seven
Apartments: 38

Elliot Group’s plans for a residential block on Parr Street and Slater Place next to its Wolstenholme Square development have also been given the nod for approval.

The proposals include a seven storey block of 38 apartments, including two studios, 32 one-beds and four two-beds, as well as a commercial unit on the ground floor.

Council planning officers said: “The proposal will enable the efficient redevelopment of a city centre windfall site and repair a gap created following the unfortunate fire and subsequent demolition of the historic Saw Mill building that previously stood on the site.

“The development will help complete the comprehensive regeneration of Wolstenholme Square and help deliver the economic benefits and employment prospects that the wider scheme offers.”

Strand Plaza extension

Strand Plaza

Developer: Primesite
Architect: Brock Carmichael
Apartments: 12
Main contractor: Impel

Primesite’s application for a two-storey rooftop extension to Mersey House, now dubbed Strand Plaza, has been recommended for approval by planning officers.

The developer has already started converting the building on The Strand into apartments, with completion scheduled for March 2018, and is now set to extend the building by a further two storeys at rooftop level.

This extension, coupled with additional single-storey space alongside the building, will add a further 12 apartments to the site, bringing the total up to 121.

Seel Street hotel

Developer: Elliot Group
Architect: Falconer Chester Hall
Rooms: 122

Elliot Group plans to switch the hotel on Seel Street from an aparthotel to a hotel, with the external appearance of the mixed five and seven-storey building remaining the same.

Construction work is already underway with Newry as main contractor, but the rooms have been changed from 42 apartments to 122 hotel rooms under the new planning application, which is recommended for approval at next week’s committee.

A rooftop bar terrace and ground floor bar are also part of the proposals.

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