Flats approved despite protests

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Hope Street where the regeneration is planned © Paul Holloway/CreativeCommons/Flickr'

Hope Street where the regeneration is planned © Paul Holloway/CreativeCommons/Flickr’

Flats for up to 700 students in the city have been approved by planners, despite objections from residents.

The £50 million regeneration scheme was given the go-ahead following a second hearing at Liverpool Town Hall, after applicants for the site said their plans were to provide high-quality student accommodation, supported by the University of Liverpool.

In an intense hearing, objectors turned out to show their disapproval of the demolition of an existing student block which has been there little more than 30 years.

The two major city centre accommodation schemes are sited at the former Josephine Butler House on Myrtle Street and Philharmonic Court, off Caledonia Street.

The Philharmonic Court scheme will see Marcus Worthington Properties demolish five student blocks and 21 Georgian terraces that circle Philharmonic Court, and build a four to six storey accommodation complex compromising 345 student rooms with a private courtyard for the students in its place.

A new pedestrian route linking Caledonia Street to Falkner Street will also be created.

The second of the two approved schemes will see Maghull Developments and Student Castle Ltd construct a building up to ten storeys high with 267 rooms available on a former car park and disused former University property at the corner of Hope Street.

Hope Street recently won an award from the Academy of Urbanism for being one of the UK’s best streets and objectors believe this would undermine the work that has gone in to earning this award.

Construction of Philharmonic Court will be completed in two phases, with student accommodation completed in mid-2015 with the refurbishment of the Georgian terrace finished in 2016.

Great Newton Street will be finished by September 2014.

Although the agreement between the University of Liverpool and Marcus Worthington Properties has not been signed yet, the university supported the regeneration plans.

Steve Dickson, Director of Estates and Facilities at The University of Liverpool, said: “The sale of these two sites will play an important part in delivering a mix of quality accommodation for students in the city.

“Worthington Properties have a track record in delivering quality student accommodation which was important when considering our preferred purchaser.”

But the scheme, which looks to house undergraduate students rather than the post-graduates and student nurses who had lived in the existing block, has been opposed by local councillors and residents.

Labour councillor Janet Kent, who lives close to both the Myrtle Street and Philharmonic Court developments, said: “I got no paper notice about this and I walk past (the Myrtle Street site) four times a day.

“If local residents are not being invited to comment on applications, and applicants are saying there are fewer objectors to this than the last scheme proposed for the site, then I believe we’re in a really difficult situation.”

About Tara Lamb, JMU Journalism