Developer ‘disturbed’ by Liverpool Waters rejection

A planning inspector will decide the fate of a proposed £100m residential scheme at Liverpool Waters and developer Romal Capital says it is ‘disturbed’ at planning officers’ rejection of the project. Tony McDonough reports

Romal Capital
Romal Capital’s £100m neighbourhood scheme for Liverpool Waters

 

Developer Romal Capital said it is “disturbed” and “incredibly disappointed” by a recommendation by Liverpool City Council planning officers to reject its £100m residential scheme at Liverpool Waters.

A Government planning inspector is likely to have the final say on whether the 330-apartment scheme goes ahead. Liverpool City Council planning officers are recommending it be rejected by councillors when the planning committee meets on Tuesday, January 18.

Romal has said it will appeal, which means the final decision on the scheme in the Central Docks area of Liverpool Waters, which has met with strong opposition from people living in nearby Waterloo Quay apartments, will be made by a Government planning inspector.

In 2019 the developer put forward a plan to build 643 apartments on the site but this was scaled back. It submitted plans to the council in February 2021 to build 330 apartments in two nine-storey blocks and one four-storey block. The project would also include a waterside walkway and commercial units suitable for restaurants.

Council officers asked for a number of issues with the scheme to be addressed but, in its report to councillors, the officers say this has not happened. They are recommending the development be rejected for three reasons:

  • Partial infilling and re-development of West Waterloo Dock would have a negative impact on the setting of the adjacent Grade II listed Waterloo Warehouse and Stanley Dock Conservation Area.
  • It would “substantially impinge” upon the Cultural Square proposal in the Liverpool Waters masterplan put forward by site owner Peel L&P.
  • The scheme comprises too many one-bedroom apartments, going against the council’s own Local Plan for the area.

However Romal, headed up by Australian co-founder Greg Malouf, claims its development is “critical” to the progress of Liverpool Waters and to the ongoing regeneration of Liverpool. The company has already built 237 apartments at Quay Central and Park Central in Liverpool Waters.

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Mr Malouf said: “We are obviously incredibly disappointed at the decision to recommend refusal on this application. We are particularly disturbed given the three years of intense engagement with Liverpool City Council regarding this development, the significant adjustments we have made to our proposals, and the subsequent assurances we have been given during this long and very costly process.

 

Romal
Romal Capital’s £100m neighbourhood scheme for Liverpool Waters

 

“We are proposing £100 million of private investment to transform a patch of barren brownfield land and derelict dock into a thriving new, diverse, and sustainable neighbourhood. We want to deliver new homes at a time of acute pressures in the housing sector.”

Mr Malouf also pointed out the development phase the project would create over 200 jobs and would utilise local contractors. He added: “The regeneration of Liverpool’s waterfront is critical to the growth of this city.

“This proposal we feel is a critical component of that growth; active waterfront for many to enjoy, prime pedestrian connectivity between docks that is yet to be sufficiently catered for, immense improvement of the waterway and much needed high-quality housing for families and young professionals.

“We believe Liverpool City Council should be supporting the regeneration of its northern waterfront, working with reputable developers such as Romal to move projects forward and prioritise brownfield sites.

“In December 2021, we appealed based on grounds of non-determination due to Liverpool City Council planning officer’s inability reach a decision. The application will go to committee this month where a refusal there will mean the technical merits of the proposals will be decided by the Planning Inspectorate.”

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