Elliot Group wants to build a new £15m boutique hotel at Beetham Plaza in Liverpool city centre and says it will pay for the relocation and refurbishment of the famous installation. Tony McDonough reports
Developer Elliot Group is offering to fund the refurbishment and relocation of Liverpool’s famous ‘bucket fountain’ as part of its £15m hotel plan for Beetham Plaza.
Elliot, which is also behind the £100m redevelopment of Wolstenholme Square, as well the spectacular Infinity scheme, wants to create a new boutique hotel and public realm at Beetham Plaza which is close to Brunswick Street and fronts onto the Strand.
It currently incorporates Richard Huws’s unique water installation which was commissioned by Merseyside Civic Society in 1962 to commemorate the start of the Tryweryn Scheme, which would provide drinking water to Liverpool. It was completed in 1967.
The Tryweryn Scheme itself was controversial, involving as it did the displacement of an entire Welsh-speaking valley community and the loss of their farms, homes and places of worship.
Discussions, described as “positive” remain on-going with Liverpool Council regarding a new home for the installation and Elliot Group is submitting a planning application for the scheme this week.
Should permission be granted the fountain would be refurbished and re-sited at the developer’s expense and £15m invested in a new boutique hotel and the refurbishment of the plaza’s public realm.
The mixed use development was a trail-blazing regeneration project in the late 1990s and its 42 luxury residential units have continued to hold their value since. The scheme includes the restaurants Etsu and Silk Road, a 4,500 sq ft office occupied by a local law firm and an underground car park.
Elliot Lawless of Elliot Group said: “Beetham Plaza remains one of the most successful residential developments on Liverpool’s waterfront but the public square behind needs more animation and life to support its commercial tenants.
“If we re-site the fountain it will enable us to develop a new hotel and new ground floor restaurant and café space whilst investing in the public realm and a new lighting scheme. Residents and businesses will share in the benefits of this investment and the extra footfall.”
Mr Lawless recently asked the public for ideas as to suitably visible locations for the fountain, with Williamson Square and a refurbished Strand both popular suggestions.
“The fountain is a one-off but it’s hidden away in a corner that both locals and tourists rarely find,” he added. “It merits a more prominent location so that it can become one of the city’s ‘must Instagram’ attractions.”
The proposed hotel development, if granted planning permission, would support 25 new jobs when operational and would be managed by Liverpool-based EPIC, who recently opened the new Seel Street Hotel.
The architect for the project is Falconer Chester Hall. Zerum is acting as planning consultancy.