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.”