The Planners say 'No' in Halewood Road

As mentioned in our last Newsletter, the new owner of 8 Halewood Road (Mark Legros) has drawn up plans to change its appearance from a shop to a house. Planning permission was, however, refused by Liverpool City Council on 31st January. We were surprised by this decision and, if Mr Legros lodges an appeal, we shall be sending the following comments to the Planning Inspectorate:

1. We have no objection to the removal of the existing shopfront. It was only added, we understand, in the 1960s and we do not regard it as an essential part of the character of the Gateacre Village Conservation Area.

2. We have no objection to the bricking-up of the ground-floor front elevation and the insertion of a 'cottage-style' window. This would restore the building to its pre-1960s appearance. If this is to be done, however, it is essential that matching bricks (reclaimed) are used.

3. We have no objection in principle to the use of UPVC as a window-frame material. However, we consider it essential that the three-dimensional profile of the glazing bars of any new windows should be similar to the timber originals, i.e. not 'plastic strips sandwiched between the panes'.

4. We have no objection in principle to the erection of a fence and sandstone pillars - such as originally existed - in front of the building, provided the railings are of an appropriate nineteenth-century design. However, in order not to hinder or endanger pedestrians on the adjacent footway, we consider that any such railings should be in line with the front wall of the Brown Cow public-house rather than along the boundary of the original curtilage.

5. While the application envisages the creation of a retail unit on the ground floor, we would have no objection to its use as a solicitor's office (i.e. the building's last use) or for some other professional purpose. Nor, indeed, the conversion of the whole building to residential use. The building has been vacant and decaying for several years and the priority, we feel, is to bring it back into use and a good state of repair while retaining its historic character.

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