A new “landmark residential development” providing 12 luxury flats could be built overlooking the River Dee.
Plans put forward by Prospect Capital UK look to develop The Grange on Grange Road in West Kirby by knocking down the existing Victoria Era building on Grange Road and “create a pleasant and sustainable environment in which to live” in its place.
The building was built in 1897 by a shipowner before temporarily becoming Combermere School in the 1950s and 60s.
The development is up for approval at a Wirral Council planning committee on February 8 after the plans had been called in by West Kirby councillor Jeff Green concerned about its size and scale as well as a petition of 40 people.
According to planning application documents, “the key emphasis is to create luxury apartments in a very desirable location” with large windows to “enhance the views down the hill and across the Estuary.” The document said the development would be “sensitively designed” to suit the local area and provide high-quality accomodation.
No affordable homes will be provided on the site but £240,200 will be set aside for Wirral Council to spend on affordable housing elsewhere in the borough. 23 car parking spaces are being proposed as part of the development including two disabled parking bays and only one small tree is planned to be removed. New trees will be planted in its place.
Despite concerns about the new building’s size, the two-and-a-half-storey sections will be 2m lower than the current building while the taller central portion will only be 16cm higher.
The 40 people objecting to the application argued residential developments locally were exceeding the capacity of local services, the building was “overbearing,” and criticised a lack of parking. Light and noise pollution concerns were also raised as well as there being “no need” for more flats in the area.
However, no objections have been received from the relevant authorities such as United Utilities, Highways, Environmental Health, Historic England, various council teams, and Natural England.
Council officers in their recommendation to councillors said the modest increase in the homes was “not considered to undermine the provision of local services,” the development was in line with its draft Local Plan, and the design of the building “will be beneficial to West Kirby”.
According to their conclusions, the scheme is “well-considered, in keeping with the character of West Kirby and the locality and would, subject to conditions, provide for a positive townscape contribution.”
It has been recommended for approval subject to the council’s Director of Regeneration and Place David Hughes approving an agreement between the council and Prospect Capital UK for the £240,000 contribution for affordable housing. However, if this isn’t agreed in six months, the application would be refused.
Images: How the new 12 flats on Grange Road could look. Credit: Ainsley Gommon Architects