The Planning Officer's Report,
October 2001

4.4 In the present case, it is considered that the proposed composition of buildings will match the scale and urban grain of Liverpool's commercial centre. With respect to the tower, Policy HD17 (General Design Requirements) requires that buildings should have regard to and not detract from the City's skyline, roofscape and views within the City. It is considered that the visual impact assessment discussed above successfully demonstrates that the development will not have any adverse impact on the City's skyline or the nearby historic waterfront.

4.5 The apartment tower has robust elevations facing north and is set forward of the building line to provide a focal point at the end of Old Hall Street. This is accentuated by the vertical lift core & slot window to the staircase. More transparent elevations facing south-west are orientated to take full advantage of views to the river. The tower forms one element of a geometrical composition of three buildings, which have complementary forms.

4.6 The hotel's triangular shape responds to the site boundaries and existing street frontages. The lower two floors are set back behind a colonnade enhancing the scale of the main entrances. This provides a backdrop for the listed cottages and increases the buildings pedestrian permeability. Higher up, the elevations are more solid with punched openings and panel construction reflecting the repetitive nature of the bedrooms above. A shift in window positions at alternate floors breaks the rigid pattern and introduces a dynamic to the elevations. The expressed solidity of the hotel provides an anchor for the lighter more articulated apartment block above.

4.7 The angular form of the elevations to Old Hall Street is balanced by the glazed curved facade of the office building facing the river. The choice of facing materials for this and all new elements of the scheme has been determined by technical, aesthetic and environmental factors. The height and form of the tower building requires a frame construction clad with rainscreen & prefabricated panels to provide the weathering performance demanded by such an exposed site. For this and other elements of the scheme, a hierarchy of materials has been selected for performance, detail & visual interest. The palate of materials includes specialist exposed black aggregate render for base and plinth detailing, white Portland concrete facing panels for solid support elements, mill finish zinc panels for stair cores & roof plant screens & glass curtain walling for curved transparent elements facing the river.

5. Assessment of Function and Compatibility

5.1 With respect to the residential component of the scheme, policy H3 (City Centre Living) of the UDP, commits the Council to ensure that new developments which incorporate residential uses do not prejudice or harm the area's predominant land use or that of adjacent areas. In the present case the introduction of new residential development at the northern extreme of the Commercial Quarter is balanced by the introduction of 140,000 sq ft of new office floorspace. In this regard it is considered that the residential element does not conflict with policies intended to protect the City's commercial viability.

5.2 It is considered that the combination of proposed uses would help to revitalise and consolidate the northern end of the Commercial Quarter. The scale of the development in this location may well be seen as an indication of investor confidence in the area. The development has the potential for significant job creation and the hotel/apartment complex may well have a strategic significance in serving the needs of the local business community. In this regard, the development is consistent with the aims of promoting both economic regeneration and appropriate mixed-use development in accordance with policies contained in the UDP.

continued . . .

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