The Festival Gardens site has lain vacant for more than 25 years. Credit: via archive

PLANNING | Festival Gardens takes step forward

Remediation works at the former Festival Gardens plus plans for 450 apartments off Blackstock Street in Vauxhall were both recommended for approval at the first of Liverpool City Council’s reconfigured planning committee meetings. 

Instead of decisions on applications being made by councillors, recommendations were made to the council’s chief executive Tony Reeves, who will have the final say on consents. 

The procedural changes have been made in line with Government advice issued in light of the Covid-19 outbreak. 


Festival Gardens  

Festival Gardens

Project: Remediation of Festival Gardens  

Applicant: Liverpool City Council 

Developer: Ion and Midia 

Architect: BDP and AHR

Lead contractor: Vinci Construction 

Vinci Construction is in line to carry out the clean-up operation at two sections of the 23-acre site which could see the delivery of up to 1,500 homes. 

Last year, Homes England revealed it would provide a £10m grant to facilitate the project which is being delivered by a joint venture between Developers Ion and Midia, working with architecture practices BDP and AHR. 

The site is split into three distinct zones, two of which are the subject of the planning application for remediation works. 

Of these three parts the Development Zone, the north west part of the site, formerly referred to as Festival Park and the location of the former Festival Hall, will be remediated while the Southern Grasslands area, open green space located in the south east of the site, will be landscaped. 

A temporary haul road between the Development Zone and the Gardens, the third section of the site, also forms part of the application. 

The works have been recommended for approval by head of planning Samantha Campbell. 

Blackstock Street  

Blackstock Street Cgi March 2020

Project: 452 apartments  

Developer: Caro Developments

Architect: Falconer Chester Hall

Planner: Zerum

Caro Development’s application for an 11-storey block containing 452 apartments has also been recommended for approval. 

The scheme originally proposed 560 flats but this was revised earlier this month in order to “stay true to the heritage” of the site, according to the architect Falconer Chester Hall. 

The revised project will deliver 230 studios, 162 one-bedroom apartments and 60-bedroom apartments on a 1.21-acre brownfield site off Blackstock Street and Paul Street in the Pumpfields area of Liverpool city centre. 

Retail units at ground floor level will total 2,600 sq ft. 

Zerum is the planning consultant and Thomas Consulting is the structural engineer. 

Royal Liver Building 

Project: 20,000 sq ft gym 

Applicant: Affordable Fitness  

Planner: CBRE 

Architect: RFP Architects 

Gym chain Affordable Fitness wants to open its first North West branch at Liverpool’s grade one-listed Royal Liver Building. 

The company’s application to transform 20,000 sq ft on the ground floor and lower ground floor has been recommended for approval. 

The space is currently either vacant or being used as storage. 

Fruit Exchange Hotel 

Fruit Exchange

Applicant: JSM Group  

Planner: CBRE 

Architect: Wroot Design 

Project: 85-bedroom hotel 

The grade two-listed building on Victoria Street is set to become an 85-bedroom luxury hotel.

The historic building, which dates from the 1800s, has stood vacant for a number of years, although the ground floor has been used as a pub in recent years.

The scheme would see the refurbishment of the building and the historic auction rooms, including restoring the two former exchange halls, cleaning the two street-facing sides of the property, and restoring boarded-up windows.

The applicant, JSM Group, is led by Jamie Motlagh, who is behind a series of city centre bars; Black Rabbit, Soho, Brooklyn Mixer, and Level Club.

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