The Planning Officer's Report,
October 2001

Issues / Officer Assessment of Application

1. Description of Development

1.1 The proposal is to redevelop the former St Paul's Eye Hospital site by the erection of buildings comprising a 28-storey residential apartment block to accommodate 110 flats, a 10 storey, 200-bedroom hotel and a 9-storey office building providing 140,000 so ft of commercial floorspace. The development also includes the partial demolition of 95 Old Hall Street and the retention and refurbishment of the adjoining Grade II listed cottages at 91/93 Old Hall Street. The retained buildings are to be used for A3 purposes in connection with the proposed hotel.

1.2 The present application for listed building consent (01L/2075) to retain and refurbish the cottages supersedes a previous application (01L/1431) for their total demolition. The first application was withdrawn by the applicant following advice from the Planning and Building Control Manager and from English Heritage who did not consider that demolition could be justified within the criteria set by PPG15 and relevant policies contained in the Liverpool Modified Draft Unitary Development Plan (UDP).

1.3 The applicant's original intention was to secure the removal of the listed cottages in order to achieve a completely new facade to this section of Old Hall Street and an unencumbered approach to the hotel entrance. It was first felt that the cottages would appear incongruous and out of context when seen against the background of the modern architectural form of the new building complex.

1.4 The revised scheme for part retention was submitted following site meetings and discussions with English Heritage. The discussions centred on the principles and details of the adaptive reuse of the former canal cottages. The agreed solution comprises the retention of nos. 91-93 Old Hall Street and part of the next bay of the adjoining cottage at no. 95. The structures to be demolished include the later, and taller northern building, and the remaining element of the two storey attached cottage. The new northern gable thus formed is to be fully glazed to maximise the availability of natural light.

1.5 Externally, the retained buildings will have all sash windows re-instated and external doors rehung. The roof will be recovered in natural slate, and where necessary, reclaimed brick will be used to reinstate altered and damaged elevations. The single storey extension at the canted southern end of the terrace will be removed and the original footprint reinstated and re-fenestrated. The first floor opening will be re-instated as a window to match the others. Internally, the "ghost" of the first floor will be retained, with a section re-instated. This will allow natural lighting from the first floor and ground floor windows to illuminate the full height interior whilst retaining the original plan form.

1.6 A simple cantilevered canopy extending from the new building will provide a protected pedestrian route to and from the hotel's bar/restaurant. The introduction of the canopy will minimise the physical link between the listed buildings and the new development and thereby offer the opportunity to provide a more authentic setting. In this regard, the applicant has confirmed that the line of the original canal basin is to be carefully exposed during renovation work to allow for the opportunity to re-establish some appropriate historic reference.

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