Ellis Williams is the architect for the community-led scheme. Credit: planning documents

Safe heads to inquiry over Bootle plan

Sefton Council’s refusal of a £33m community hub and housing development will be examined by a planning inspector, with statements due to be filed in the next month.

The application by social enterprise Safe Regeneration for the St Mary’s complex off Waverley Street was considered by Sefton’s planning committee in February 2021 and was put forward as a hybrid application covering three phases.

Firstly, the plan included the demolition of existing buildings and the development of a three-storey arts hub, to offer studio and office space, a day nursery and multipurpose hall.

This first phase also included canalside pods for community use, the restoration and extension of the Lock & Quay pub into a B&B, serviced apartments and a training facility, in a relocation from Safe’s existing premises.

Phase two was proposed as a development of 41 mixed-tenure two- and three-bedroom townhouses and a four-storey block containing 66 apartments, with the third phase being a four-storey 80-bed extra care facility.

Ellis Williams was appointed in February 2020 as the scheme architect, working with Greyside Planning.

The six-acre site concerned was formerly home to the St Mary’s primary school, and now houses Safe’s arts and enterprise community hub, with an additional parcel of land known as the Carolina Basin close by. The whole site sits within half a mile of Bootle town centre, where Sefton has ambitious plans of its own.

As an example of community-led placemaking, the project garnered enough support from Homes England and the City Region to get to planning stage.

Sefton refused the scheme on four grounds: over-development, inadequate parking provision, an inadequate level of private outdoor amenity space and questions over large vehicle access to the hub building.

As of 5 April, the inquiry is live, with statements and interested party comments due by 10 May, suggesting an inquiry in the summer.

In a statement, Safe told Place North West: “We’re hopeful that our appeal will be successful and we thank all our partners for their support in preparing ourselves to be ready to get started on site as soon as possible.”

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Over development in Bootle ! Don`t make me laugh, this is an excellent project that needs to be supported not rejected on such dubious grounds .
Hopefully the planning inspector will have the common sense that is seemingly missing from the councillors and their officers.

By Anonymous

A near town centre development stated to have inadequate parking – very strange given the government and local ambitions towards decarbonisation and use of sustainable alternatives!? Sfton’s own policies allow for “car free developments” ie zero parking !?!? The large bus interchange and stations (x2) that serve Bootle not to mention the site being canalside so supremely linked for cycling and walking connections make this a very well placed site to have reduced parking provision. Politics, power and dark arts at play. Little faith in the Planning Inspectorate … another dark art of political powerplay.

By Stan Dandeliver

Sefton council should be rubbing their hands together to be endorsing this future proof development. It’s great kudos for The borough – delivers what the areas wants and needs and which LA wouldn’t want the UK’s largest community led scheme in their portfolio of excellence??!! The eco aspirations tie in with their commitment to the climate change emergency strategy and it supports their aspirations for canalside regenerations. No brainer really, why wouldn’t you???!!

By Anonymous

If this build came in 7 million over budget the last time it was priced up imagine the cost of the build now. Building materials have gone though the roof also labour costs if this was going to be a cheap build just can’t see safe putting any of there own money in 😊

By Anonymous

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