Ellis Williams designed the project for Safe Regeneration. Credit: via planning documents

Safe Regeneration loses £33m Bootle appeal

Planning inspector O S Woodwards upheld Sefton Council’s decision to reject the social enterprise’s plans to build a three-storey arts hub, 107 affordable homes, and an 80-bed extra care facility on six acres off the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.

Safe Regeneration provides business support, art studios, and community programmes in Bootle.

The social enterprise’s £33m project was meant to be delivered along two plots. The larger of the two is accessed from Waverley Street and includes the Lock and Quay pub as well as the former St Marys School building.

The second plot was situated off Carolina Street and is known as the Carolina Basin.

Safe Regeneration St Marys Safe Regeneration p planning

CGI of the arts and community hub Safe Regeneration wanted to build. Credit: via planning documents

Sefton Council rejected Safe’s application in February 2021, citing inadequate outdoor amenity space, lack of appropriate parking spaces, and insufficient information about how large vehicles will operate in the vicinity. The local authority concluded that the £33m scheme constituted overdevelopment.

It was this final point, along with the issues surrounding the limited outdoor amenity space, that resonated most with the planning inspector. Woodwards said the highway safety concerns related to parking were not valid and during the appeal process Safe had provided more information regarding large vehicular movement.

But the lack of outdoor amenities could not be dismissed, according to Woodwards. This led to the inspector agreeing with the council that Safe’s plans would be overdevelopment on the site and violated Sefton’s local plan.

Safe chief executive Brian Dawe said he found the result of the appeal “extremely disappointing”. However, he added that the organisation was “encouraged by the inspectorate upholding our appeal issues on two of the three main points”.

“The main issue for refusal is the perceived  ‘over-development’ of the site in relation to built form, which despite accepting the significant regeneration benefits of the overall scheme, they considered it would result in substandard outdoor private amenity space,” Dawe continued.

“We had hoped that the balance of public green space provided to encourage connectivity and a sense of community would outweigh this issue, but as this was not the case, we will regroup and work on a reviewed design which satisfies this one area of contention.”

Later, he said the organisation would “work harder and smarter” and “redesign and reapply”.

“What we won’t be doing is giving up,” he concluded.

Safe Regeneration St Marys Safe Regeneration p planning

The three-phased project was valued at £33m. Credit: via planning documents

If Safe had won its appeal, the project would have seen the building of a three-storey arts hub with flex office spaces, a day nursery and a multipurpose hall. The Lock and Quay pub would also have been remodelled into a bed and breakfast.

The second phase of the scheme would have involved the construction of 41 townhouses and 66 apartments. A third phase, which was seeking outline planning permission in the since-rejected application, sought to build an 80-bed extra care facility.

Ellis Williams designed the project for Safe. Greyside Planning was the planning consultant. The project team also included Clancy Consulting, SI Sealy, and BCA Landscape Architects.

Want to learn more about the project? The appeal reference number is APP/M4320/W/21/3281083. The scheme’s reference number for Sefton Council’s planning portal is DC/2020/00705.

Your Comments

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A £33m scheme for Bootle is rejected because of parking issues and “over development”, imagine that.
It`s akin to a hungry person refusing food, the planning inspector must have been convinced, but I`m not.

By Anonymous

This would be potentially devastating news for Bootle if it wasn’t for the people driving it forward for a decade. Safe’s determination to support the community they have been part of for many years suggests that they will dust off and come back stronger.

By Anonymous

Even if this had achieved a consent, it is undeliverable. The site has been around for years and the article does not include a developer partner.

By Anonymous

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