Housing plan in major Moorfields office block faces crunch final decision

A final decision is to be made on the future of a major office block opposite Moorfields station in Liverpool Council after councillors indicated they could turn it down.

Despite undergoing a major refurbishment after a multi-million pound acquisition, office space at Centric House has lain dormant for a number of years. The imposing site had been potentially put forward as part of the answer to Liverpool’s ongoing housing issues.

However proposals submitted to Liverpool Council to transform the four-storey building into 45 new apartments could be knocked back for good over a concern regarding a lack of affordable properties.

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Earlier this month, the city council’s planning committee considered a bid by Cert Property Limited to repurpose the site into single level and duplex homes. According to a planning statement, the building only had a single tenant occupying around 50% of the ground floor lettable space.

However, councillors indicated they were minded to reject the plan giving a lack of affordable options within the plans. As such, it will go before the committee for a second time - once again recommended for approval - for a final decision.

Should the plans be formally knocked back when members meet next Tuesday at Liverpool Town Hall, it could be subject to appeal by the applicant.

The building benefits from a car park at basement level and a smaller car park at ground floor level within a courtyard, both of which are accessed from Dale Street. The site is located within the Castle Street Conservation Area.

The proposal includes the installation of a platform lift within the main entrance from Moorfields, and creation of an accessible toilet at ground floor level. The building’s existing basement car park would accommodate 11 parking spaces including an accessible bay.

A total of 49 bicycle storage spaces and waste storage are also proposed at basement level. Cert purchased the 27,000 sq ft building six years ago to convert it into office space in a £3.3m deal after its former owner entered administration.

The building last underwent a refurbishment in 2010, when it was owned by Barclays. The bank vacated the building when it moved to 20 Chapel Street and Lord Street on the edge of Liverpool ONE. It was renamed Centric House in 2011.

The flats plan would seek to introduce a new two-storey roof extension to the building, occupying the rear and side elevations, with glimpsed views of the addition from Moorfields. A report put to committee members said the changes are sympathetic to the building and surrounding area, with the overall development providing “an appropriate mix” of sustainable and accessible homes.

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