Grade II-listed building to be latest Liverpool hotel

Liverpool City Council planning officials are recommending approval this week for a multi-million pound plan for a new boutique hotel at a Grade II-listed building in Liverpool. Tony McDonough reports

Former magistrates court in Dale Street in Liverpool. Picture by Tony McDonough


Another boutique hotel is set to open in Liverpool city centre with planning officers recommending approval for the conversion of a Grade II-listed building.

On Tuesday, councillors will vote on the proposal to transform the former magistrates court at the bottom of Dale Street into a 111-bedroom hotel. The multi-million pound plan would also see the addition of a new-build five-storey extension.

Belgian firm VSHF Developments is behind the scheme which will also include a bar, restaurant, rooftop terrace, and gym. It is opposite the Grade-II Listed former headquarters of Liverpool City Council which is now also a hotel.

Completed in 1859, the building was designed by Liverpool Corporation surveyor John Weightman. It is built of ashlar stone on a granite plinth. The magistrates courts closed in 2015 and the site has remained vacant ever since.

It currently comprises seven courtrooms, basement and ground floor cells, ground and first floor waiting halls, and ancillary offices and meeting rooms.

Another developer, YPG, secured planning consent for a similar hotel scheme in the building in 2019 but never followed through. VSHF directors Nathan Van Paesschen and Gregory Spaenjaers, acquired the building from YPG for £265,000 in 2022.

As part of the new development four private function rooms are proposed within former courtrooms and the judge’s retiring room, with a central shared bar area.

One of the function rooms contains the original courtroom furniture, and it is proposed that this would be retained.

In recommending approval planning officers said: “In terms of the impact on nearby listed buildings, the magistrates court forms an important part of the streetscene of Dale Street as a high quality classical stone building.

“Its location opposite the Municipal Buildings helps to tell the story of the Corporation of Liverpool and its fundamental importance in shaping the development of Liverpool as a port of global significance. 

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“These attributes would not be impacted on by the proposed redevelopment of the site and the building would continue to make a positive contribution to the significance of the surrounding assets.”

Local councillors, including Cllr Nick Small are supporting the project. They believe it will create more footfall at that end of Dale Street and will minimise anti-social behaviour.

Click here to view the full planning report

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