CABE still critical of Pathfinder scheme despite latest revisions
CABE remains ‘concerned’ about a controversial Pathfinder housing scheme in South Sefton, Liverpool, despite a series of amendments
In December, the watchdog said it was disappointed with ‘the deterioration’ in the design quality of the proposals for the NewHeartlands Housing Market Renewal (HMR) Initiative in the Bedford Road and Queen’s Road area of Liverpool, following the approval of initial plans in 2006.
The commission was also worried by the decision of the scheme’s developer, Keepmoat, to stop working with local practice Halsall Lloyd Partnership.
Following revisions, including improvements to the elevations and the appointment of MPSL Planning & Design, CABE said this week after a subsequent ‘desktop review’ that it still could not the support the scheme, and remained unconvinced by, among other things, the parking courts.
It did however praise Sefton Council for striving to maintain design standards.
Alan Lunt, the HMR director for Sefton Council, said he was confident Keepmoat’s final designs would ‘deliver the required level of design quality’.
The changes are unlikely to appease SAVE Britain’s Heritage. The conservation group’s secretary Will Palin said: ‘Not only have swathes of good Victorian terraced housing been emptied and left to rot, prey to vandals and arsonists, but now we discover that these areas will be blighted again by the sub-standard replacement housing. It is utter madness.’
Click here to read the latest design review comments.
A selection of CABE’s latest comments
- The general arrangement of streets, homes and public spaces on the site was the most convincing aspect of the approved 2006 scheme for this site. The street layout remains, in broad terms as before, but with the addition of several parking courts, and a reduction in on street parking. We strongly recommend that the use of parking courts as the primary means of accommodating cars should be reconsidered.
- We believe that the regeneration strategy in Sefton should embrace not just the renewal of parts of the fabric but a broader approach to reviving the perception of the place. How can the programme of renewal build on the special qualities already evident in the place, celebrating its richness and making it a place of character and distinction? In this regard we are not convinced that the perception of Sefton will be transformed by this new housing.
- Revised elevations for the house types have been submitted as an amendment to the current planning application, and we think these are an improvement, although ultimately, much will depend on the quality of detailing and materials. One new house type has been introduced, responding to a corner location. However there continues to be poor enclosure by houses along streets, for example on Exeter Road, and the house types proposed have very small space standards.