Campaign group SAVE Britain’s Heritage has slammed Liverpool City Council’s approval of demolition within a buffer zone for the city’s World Heritage site and the buildings’ replacement by a mixed use scheme
Earlier this week, the council’s planning committee approved a mixed use scheme on Lime Street by Broadway Malyan on behalf of developer Neptune for student flats, a hotel, shops, restaurants and bars.
The proposals include the demolition of a row of buildings including the former Futurist Cinema, which opened in 1912.
SAVE Director Clem Cecil said: ‘Lime Street is quintessentially Liverpudlian in it’s great variety and charm. Liverpool is a truly great city: these new plans are not worthy of it.
‘As stipulated in the World Heritage Site guidelines, it is a matter of working with the historic grain of the street rather than against it.
She added that the council’s approval of the cinema’s demolition contradicted both local and national policy guidance.
The cinema opened early last century as the City Picture House by architects C.C. Chadwick & Wm. Watson, of Albion Street, Leeds, resident architects for New Century Pictures.
However, a report considered by councillors said that the council’s head of planning ‘is satisfied that the loss of the buildings will have no adverse impact on the setting of designated assets, including listed buildings, adjoining conservation areas or the World Heritage Site’.
A heritage assessment submitted to the council by the developer also concluded that the cinema is of ‘low heritage value and significance’.
It added that the building had suffered irreversible damage from water, and that it would be difficult to save the façade.
It said: ‘Firstly, the outer skin of the facade has been found to be very brittle, and it is likely therefore that any vibration caused by construction would crack the tiling, and in addition, the bond between the inner and outer masonry has deteriorated, and works would be likely to cause if to fail.’
SAVE called on communities secretary Greg Clark to call in the application for a public inquiry.
Last month, UNESCO called for a moratorium on developer Peel’s Liverpool Waters development due to the potential damage it said could be caused to the city’s World Heritage Site.
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