Campaigners Lose Battle
Campaigners lose battle to save historic city centre building
Apr 9 2008 by Ben Schofield, Liverpool Daily Post
Artist's impression of plans for a new office/leisure development at Josephine Butler House, situated at the junction of Hope Street and Myrtle Street in Liverpool _320
A HISTORIC Myrtle Street building will be flattened after a £60m development was finally rubber stamped for the site yesterday.
Josephine Butler House – a former laying-in hospital dating back to 1867 – will be replaced with a six-storey block of offices, shops and restaurants.
The proposed building was yesterday labelled by heritage campaigners as more befitting for Milton Keynes than Liverpool’s Georgian quarter.
Campaigners had hoped the scheme would be blocked after planners said they were minded to refuse permission because of worries over increased traffic.
But designers from Maghull Developments convinced councillors at yesterday’s planning committee meeting that the scheme should go ahead.
The Hope Street-based company caused controversy when it started work on the facade of Josephine Butler House in early March – which it claimed was “specialist restoration work” – before a decision was made on whether to list the building.
Building work should start by the end of the year and will see 20,000ft of retail space on the ground floor and 100,000ft of office space above.
The sixth floor will house a sky bar with unrivalled views along Hope Street and over the city.
The building will stand on a 263-space three-storey car park.
Wayne Colquhoun, from the Liverpool Preservation Trust, called for a complete archeological survey of the site because he believes Josephine Butler House sits where a Baptist Chapel once stood. He told the committee a map dating from 1848 showed four churches around the Philharmonic Hall.
He added: “This building has no place in this historic location. You don’t come across a more historic place in Liverpool.
“There’s no detail and as such it has no place in this situation. In Milton Keynes maybe, but not here.”
Mr Colquhoun suggested the decision should go to a planning inquiry and hit out at English Heritage’s refusal to grant the building spot listing.
“English Heritage is not reflective of historic opinion, you just can’t trust them. Asking EH’s Manchester office to look after our architecture is like asking my mouse to look after my cat,” he said.
Yesterday’s meeting also gave the go-ahead to the conversion of the Grade-II- listed No.2 Blackburne Place into 13 luxury apartments.
Maghull chairman Ian Jones said: “Doing a second-rate job would undermine our reputation. If people say we are in for a quick buck they are wrong.
“There’s £100m of investment in the same street. Who would be mad enough to do so much investment and then do a second-rate job?
“Hope Street has been constantly reinvented, from Georgians, through the Victorians and Gothic revivalists. We need to continue that tradition of bold design and make it fit for 21st century use.”
Maghull’s planning consultant Richard Gee said there were “10 good reasons” not to refuse the planning permission on traffic grounds.
He said there had only been five slight accidents in the area in the last three years and that there was “30 to 40% spare junction capacity” on the roads nearby.
Another piece of history down the tubes!!!
The Door Bell
The voices in my head
The house does not take up that much room. It could have been incorporated into a new development.
They rubber stamp this new development destroying history and turn down world-class iconic Brunswick Quay Tower. Madness.
Agree totally waterways.
Absolute joke, Not only letting the building go but also changing the character of the street for NO reason whatsoever apart from arrogance and percieved cost saving. Its not as if the street is struggling or without interest from other developers/developments. It is a vibrant and interesting street with a lot going for it that instead of being enhanced by a good quality refurb will be blighted by something resembling the worst of the 70's. This is a prime example of lazy developers and lazy architects who have no regard for the area other than to make money out of it.
Mr Colqhoun(sp?) is for once spot on.
The decisions from our city planners are contradictoary at best and totally without sense and extremely damaging at worst. It's as if there is an internal fight for power with one chief planner who has a chip on their shoulder about their Shankland plan not being finished and still holding a torch for the 'needlessly demolishing perfectly good buildings to 'modernise' with average nondescript' ethos.
and another planer who is obsessed with rejecting anything too innovative and different and not made of woolton sandstone with carvings of liverbirds on.
They let this building and a row of listed Georgian house go within weeks (not even getting in to the others) , allow rubbish like City Square on Tithebarn street but knock back the likes of Brunswick Quay for blocking views of the Anglican cathedral from the Wirral.
What happened to heroic planners with taste and a sound and well rounded architectural knowledge like Addshead and Keay.........
And they want to keep them stupid ugly useless Lambanana things.Use that money and get rid of all the plastic crap!!
Its all do to with these "arty farty" designers wanting their name on the map .This is so wrong!!!!
Who gets paid to make these descisions that are so stupid??????
Yeah,lets put tons of plastic things on the street,put loads of tatty banners up that we will have to take down within months and lets knock a few historic buildings down and put some glass and metal structure up.Great Idea ? NO!!!!!!!!!
The council politicos are mainly to blame. There is no firm policy only guidelines. Read the glossy info from the council and the quangos. All come out with weasel and BS words that say nothing firm. They convince the naive and hard of thinking they know what they are doing and a have a firm plan and policy going. The reality is they they wing it wallowing in mud most of the time.
There is no firm policy, cast in concrete, for the dock waterways. All we want is something like no more in-filling and excavate all infilled water spaces respecting World Heritage. Then most of us will be satisfied. Every major project that comes up has water space filling on the menu as the developers know there is no firm policy, so go for a land by stealth operation. Kings Dock and Liverpool Waters both had water space filling in the submissions. The bland Kings Dock complex was accepted and now Liverpool Waters will be. I was banned from a Liverpool Echo forum for daring to mentioned Peel was wanting to fill in water spaces again.
No firm policy means a private company can roll over the city, its heritage and history. Hold it by the balls.
High buildings? Where can they be built? No one seems to know where they can or can't be built. There was publicity on the no high buildings policy being abandoned. Yet they said one was never in place.
Chaos. They are frightening away large quality investors to transform the city.
We want to keep what we have of value and tastefully develop and enhance. That flies in the face of greedy developers.
Peel have had it up to here with them too. We could even lose the tallies planned for this side of the river to Wirral as they have welcomed their proposals with open arms as our side dilly dally.
This is disgraceful - they started work on the building before they got planning permission and the council said they were minded to refuse them. They should have made an example of them. This new building is really going to blend in with Georgian Hope Street - not!
I'm not sure what is happening. Peel want to yet again fill in West Waterloo Dock - against the residents wishes - again.
Originally Posted by Ged
The council say it is on time. Is this Peel holding the council to get land by stealth? Could be. Then Peel can take its plans elsewhere. If it is to be another London Docklands then they can keep it.
I think the time has come for a new party to control Liverpool. This council does nothing but dither and ignore residents. I have never voted Lib Dem because I believe they are incabable of organising anything properly.
The time for change, in my opinion, has come. It came a long time ago
Last edited by AK1; 04-09-2008 at 08:46 PM.
The same with the Bedford Cinema.
Originally Posted by julieoapw
That was on the agenda yesterday, and I could (should?) have gone, but decided to stay in bed instead.
I've lost count of the times I've been and there's only ever been the redoubtable Florence Gersten and one neighbour, and me of course, who have ever objected.
Unfortunately, the Planning Committee do not read this forum, so if you want a building saved you have to go to the Town Hall.
Have met Florence and she is a great woman - she really cares.
If you go along to the Town Hall, do you get a say then? Can the public speak?
Originally Posted by PhilipG
How would someone contact Florence Gersten? I can't find a website, e-mail address or telephone number for Save Our City. If the Save Our City campaign needs volunteers, I would like to help if I can.
Last edited by julia; 04-11-2008 at 09:07 PM.
She's in the phone book.
Originally Posted by julia
There's only one Gersten listed.
In answer to the earlier question.
Anybody can attend Planning Committee meetings.
Details are on the City Council website:
Despite what it says, you're not on the wrong page.
Click on "councillors-government and democracy".
Or phone 0151 233 3021.
Last edited by PhilipG; 04-11-2008 at 09:19 PM.
Thanks, PhilipG. Does she accept volunteers who are neither lawyers nor architectural specialists? I'm just an ordinary person with a love of Liverpool's Victorian & Edwardian buildings. This Josephine Butler thing has really upset me. I've a full-time day job, so I don't want any money, I just want to help. Do you think that would do?
People always want good helpers like you!!
Originally Posted by julia
I've done a very small website on our buildings at risk at www.buildingatrisk.co.uk and need to do lots more on it too - I've only covered a small portion of buildings in town.
I'm sure she'd love any help.
Originally Posted by julia
I know she needs a typist.
Here is what they are building in its place. What a disgrace!!! The original building facade could still have been retained inside a new development. But that takes imagination. To think the council allowed this tripe and turned down the iconic Brunswick Quay Tower. Madness indeed! Vote them out on May 1st!
Last edited by Waterways; 04-12-2008 at 11:35 AM.
15 January 2008.
The 1930s building is also going to be flattened.
I've always loved that staircase.
An utter joke. How much money in a brown envelope did (a certain party) get for this?
To knock down such a lovely historical building for that tripe is a joke. It's really going to fit in with the Philharmonic Pub on one side and the Philharmonic on the other
Wonder when Liverpool Cathedral will be turned in to apartments?
Letter to the Editor
Block planning loophole
Apr 14 2008
Liverpool Daily Post
WHILE I join my fellow citizens in utterly condemning the loss of Josephine Butler House, not all the blame can be laid at the feet of our planning officers.
The present government, under the excuse of making planning applications less complicated, has opened the doors to a flood of developers in all our large cities, not just Liverpool.
Readers will recall the unified opposition to the enlarged Tesco, on Allerton Road.
This was condemned by the residents and the council. Unfortunately, Tesco took the rejection to London where Prescott saw fit to allow it, over-riding all local opinion.
As central government will almost automatically overturn any planning denial by a council, developers have almost unlimited scope to buy any building, listed or not, and then apply to “develop” the site, knowing that should the council oppose it they can appeal.
Members of the National Trust, the Victorian Society, the Georgian Society, etc, need to petition their groups to make a unified demand to government to amend this law.
The rest of us must pester our MPs to do something positive about this, as opposed to simply wringing their hands and whimpering uselessly.
Even if the law can be changed, we need to be aware that Maghull owns the magnificent Hahnemann Building, on Hope Street.
The company has already submitted plans to demolish the back of this building and build what must be the most horrendous extension in the history of architecture.
We can only hope that, as happened with the Casartelli Building, the three listed buildings in Seel Street, and the Lamb Hotel in Wavertree, the front does not then become unstable and fall down.
It is important that as many people as possible try to block this loophole in the planning law, as it was not intended to allow developers to ruin the built environment.
When Maghull has departed to count its profit, the citizens of Liverpool will be left with the replacement for Josephine Butler House: an architecturally dismal and functionally unwanted monstrosity in one of the most beautiful areas of Liverpool, looking like a rotten tooth in a winning smile.
Ian Poole, Mossley Hill
Source: Liverpool Daily Post
They didn't with Brunswick Quay Tower.
Originally Posted by Howie
The appeal has to be successful
developers have almost unlimited scope to buy any building, listed or not, and then apply to “develop” the site, knowing that should the council oppose it they can appeal.
It is a matter of protecting old, interesting and historic buildings, not the planning system - which stinks anyway. Buildings over 100 years old should have stricter planning control put upon them.
Land Value Tax (LVT) should be applied to the city. This will stop people leaving historic buildings to rot and then pulled down on safety grounds.
Introducing LVT has to come from Westminster.
What the developer said to his chief critic: Dear sir, you are a ****ing ignorant pig
Apr 15 2008
by Mary Murtagh, Liverpool Echo
A WAR of words has broken out between a millionaire property magnate and a tour guide over the £100m transformation of Liverpool’s Hope Street.
Councillors last week approved a controversial plan to flatten much-loved Josephine Butler House at the junction with Myrtle Street, and replace it with a modern building.
Beatles tour guide Philip Coppell expressed his disgust about the scheme to Maghull Developments managing director Michael Hanlon, questioned how it got planning permission and said he hoped the company went bankrupt.
Mr Hanlon, who is seeking legal advice about Mr Coppell’s comments, launched a tirade of foul mouthed abuse in an email reply.
Mr Hanlon’s expletive-strewn reply called Mr Coppell a “f*****g ignorant pig” and told him that “we could always make room for you in the foundations within the new development”.
The problem is not the shark thicko developer, he is blinded by money and that is to be expected - it is the LibDem council/planners who approved this tripe.
The 1930s red brick building has little merit. The facade of the house could easily have been incorporated into a new design. The new building would then look very attractive and distinctive and clearly more sellable. The developers has everything to gain as well.
I think both existing buildings have relatively little merit and certainly the space on the corner needs developing in such an important location. The incorporation of this average house would not add value commercially as it is so indistinctive.
Originally Posted by Waterways
However, I also think the new design is mediocre and no match for its grander surroundings. Planners are not trained in Architecture and are in no position to judge the 'aesthetic' merits of any building. Indeed this is not the purpose of the acts. They must rely on qualified opinion. If this is to be effective, it needs to be enforceable under legislation ie an amendment to the current Town and Country Planning Acts.
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