Replacement of the gardens in the heart of Liverpool’s commercial district are the first phase in the £200m redevelopment of Pall Mall. Tony McDonough reports
A £4.2m plan to replace Liverpool’s Bixteth Street Gardens, the first phase of the £200m Pall Mall development, will go ahead despite strong opposition from local councillors and residents.
Council planners have given the go-ahead for an application to remediate land at Pall Mall, in the city’s commercial district, which has been earmarked for a proposed 400,000 sq ft project, led by Kier Property and CTP.
The remediation works, to be undertaken by contractor Willmott Dixon, are expected to take around eight months and is being supported by a £3.5m grant from the Local Growth Fund.
Led by a group of eight local councillors, including Nick Small and Sharon Sullivan, a vociferous campaign has opposed the replacement of the gardens claiming it will mean the loss of green space. A petition against the plans has been signed by more than 1,700 people.
However, Kier Property and CTP claim there will still be a significant provision for green space in the plans insisting there will be double the number of trees and three times more planting.
Cllr Small told LBN: “This is a bad decision and I’m deeply disappointed on behalf of residents. The land remediation work has been approved when the substantive planning application for the offices, hotel and public realm has not even been submitted.
“It is already running six months’ late. My real fear is that if the development scheme stalls or collapses, a park will have been destroyed and it won’t be replaced like-for-like.”
The Pall Mall development is seen as essential to address a critical shortage of grade A office space in the central business district which business leaders believe is hampering efforts to attract inward investment and increase business density.
It will see the construction of three speculatively-developed offices offering 400,000 sq ft of space, a hotel, and around 80,200 sq ft of public space including a new square.
Tom Gilman, managing director of Kier Property (North), said: “This is an important milestone for Pall Mall and Liverpool’s Central Business District, bringing the development one step closer.
“Liverpool City Council’s reclamation and enabling works are essential to the development of the site which will provide a new and enhanced space for those working, living and visiting the city centre.
“We have been working hard with our team, other stakeholders and vitally the local community, to progress our development plans and look forward to [submitting our planning application for the first phase of development shortly.
“Our aim for the new Pall Mall scheme is for it to be a destination space in the city centre that will create new jobs and training opportunities.”
Enabling works will include a £1.25m scheme to relocate a substation on site, which will be fully operational by March 2020 to serve future development. A planning application is expected to be submitted by Kier Property and CTP shortly which will outline a three-phase development.