THE former four-storey Rapid Hardware paint store, next to Lewis’s, in Renshaw Street, is to be demolished and replaced with a 13-storey block of student flats.
The scheme, by Legacy Student Living Liverpool, will see a tower accommodating 192 units.
The first attempt at the block’s design didn't pass muster with planning officers. The revised drawing is being recommended for approval at Tuesday’s meeting of the city council’s planning committee.
"The development will add to the diversity of accommodation offer within the city and contribute towards a sustainable mix of uses in an accessible location, benefiting the local economy,” said the planners’ report.
The site was originally earmarked as a four-star hotel as part of the Central Village master plan.
Before the building was taken over by Rapid it was known as Kelly’s DIY store. It has been empty since Rapid moved to the former George Henry Lee building in Houghton Street.
There are no proposals in the scheme to create any retail or leisure space on the ground floor. Instead the main entrance to the student block will front Renshaw Street.
One local resident has raised concerns over the design of the proposals, saying they look generic and of poor quality. The unnamed resident adds that considering St George’s Hall is visible at the apex of the street a more sympathetic scheme of higher design quality should be pursued.
Luckily, the student occupants’ every food and booze need will be catered for by the proposed Lidl supermarket due to open next door in the Lewis’s building.
During pre-application discussions between the developers and council planners revisions were requested. The submitted proposal, according to the council, was effectively a slab block that was a considered a poor addition to Renshaw Street/Newington. Design meetings were held to discuss how this could be resolved.
The discussions were based on breaking the volume of the elevations to remedy what was seen as a sheer mass of facades.
The scheme is the latest in the redevelopment of the city’s Lewis’s area which is seeing the famous department store gradually being brought back into use.
Apart from the Lidl store in the old Lewis’s Building, Morrisons are about to open an Express supermarket in Clayton Square and Sainsburys are adding to their growing collection of city centre stores with a new shop in St John’s opposite Lime Street, formerly the popular eat-as-much-as-you-like Chinese restaurant.
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