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Plan for 800 flats around rice mill set for go-ahead

Huge scheme of 'sufficient high quality' to become reality

Published on October 22nd 2014.

Plan for 800 flats around rice mill set for go-ahead

THE building of almost 800 apartments in an around Liverpool's historic Heap's rice mill is being recommended for the go-ahead at next week's meeting of the city's planning committee.

The 18th century mill, opposite Liverpool One, was originally earmarked for demolition as part of an earlier scheme proposed by Seychelles based developers One Park Lane.

Last minute intervention by English Heritage, who listed the mill to preserve it, meant the developers had to go back to the drawing board.

The revised scheme spares the mill, but will see a two-floor rooftop extension. Critics have slammed the revised scheme, saying although the old mill will be preserved it will be overwhelmed by modern high rise blocks.

The scheme will see 123 apartments built within the rice mill. Surrounding it will bee three high-rise blocks, of 10, 11 and 14 storeys. Those blocks will provide 194 apartments plus 200 serviced apartments. There will also be space for commercial and leisure uses, bars, restaurants, a gym and offices.

One Park Lane, in a separate application, wants to develop the site adjoining Heaps, once occupied by the merchant navy outfitters, Greenbergs.  

Planning officers are also recommending the committee approve those plans. The scheme will see two sister blocks, ranging from 10 to 16 storeys, providing 264 apartments and commercial units.

Both sites, described by developers as “one of the last prime waterfront sites in Liverpool city centre”, fall within the World Heritage Site buffer zone and are zoned as industrial sites within the city's planning blueprint, the Unitary Development Plan.

Originally the two blocks on the Greenberg site would have towered to 20 storeys, but after concerns were raised by council planning officers as well as English Heritage, the height has been scaled down. One fear raised by English Heritage was taller blocks would obscure views from the waterfront of the Anglican Cathedral.

Planners say although the two schemes are separate, it is crucial they are considered together in terms of how they look and their cumulative impact.

The head of planning says the design and massing of the development is of sufficient high quality and appropriate to the area. The committee will meet on Tuesday to make its decision, and with a strong recommendation for approval, it seems likely the go-ahead will be given.

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