A controversial plan to build on existing properties in south Liverpool rejected by the city council has been overturned on appeal.
In July last year, following a four-month campaign, Liverpool Council’s planning department confirmed it would not allow an application to go ahead for the building of another level on the existing building at Beech Court, Allerton.
Members of the action group made up of concerned residents, who dubbed themselves Extension Rebellion, said they were pleased with the decision.
Now it has been confirmed after an appeal by applicant Rachmarc Properties, the scheme will be allowed to go ahead.
Rachmarc had sought to add nine flats on a new floor above the current three storey building that consists of 30 two-bed properties. According to the application submitted to Liverpool Council by peter Hamilton planning consultancy (correct) on behalf of RachMarc, the proposed development would have included one two bed and eight further one bed apartments on top of the existing block of flats.
Originally, the city council planning department knocked back the proposals, claiming the development “would fail to provide adequate off-street car parking spaces to meet the demands of the increased number of residents.”
However, planning inspector Ann Veevers said in her decision report she saw “nothing to suggest” the current situation was problematic or the surrounding area does not have the capacity to “reasonably accommodate the demand for parking from the proposal.” The inspector added how she felt Liverpool Council had not provided “any substantive evidence of existing parking pressure that would be harmfully exacerbated by the proposal or to support their assertion that on-street parking is detrimental to pedestrian or highway safety.”
A supporting statement submitted as part of the original application outlined that the one bed flats were “designed with a study/office space to provide accommodation for occupiers to work from home.”
The decision has been met with disappointment around Beech Court. Paula Barker, Labour MP for Wavertree, said, “I am bitterly disappointed that the Planning Inspectorate have decided to uphold the developer’s appeal and give them the green light to disrupt the lives of my constituents.
“This is an absolutely devastating decision for the residents at Beech Court who have campaigned in such a dignified way against the developer’s plans, which are driven by nothing but profit. This decision is not only heartbreaking for the residents of Beech Court, but could also have wider implications across the city as developers seek to continue to capitalise on the housing crisis for their own benefit.
“I have spoken to many of the residents and have asked Liverpool Council to join me in a meeting with them in the coming weeks to discuss the outcome of the appeal and any potential next steps.”
Allerton ward councillor Andrew Makinson said, “I’m shocked and saddened by this decision. The Planning Inspector agreed that the site would not have enough parking spaces, with only 24 spaces for 39 flats.
“The inspector also accepted that constructing new flats above the heads of the existing residents would harm their quality of life. Despite this, the inspector has allowed the land owner to build these extensions.
“This decision will horrify tenants and leaseholders living in similar blocks of flats. It will open the floodgates across our city for greedy landowners seeking to make a quick profit.”