Plans to bring Liverpool’s Wellington Rooms – the former Irish Centre – back into use have taken a step forward.
The partners involved in the scheme – Liverpool City Council, Merseyside Building Preservation Trust, the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University – have commissioned a detailed architectural study into the condition of the building which will provide options and costings for its refurbishment.
It is expected that its recommendations will form the basis for a bid to Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF),Historic England and other funders to help pay for the cost of refurbishment.
Bill Maynard from Merseyside Building Preservation Trust said: “OMI Architects have been appointed following the first meeting of the Steering Group. The group brings together representatives from the Universities, Merseyside Building Preservation Trust and the City Council. The first stages of work will be a detailed survey of the building and an initial analysis of the various alternatives.”
Andy James, Director of OMI Architects said: “We are delighted to have been selected to work on this prestigious project at a key moment in the history of the building. The opportunity of carrying out a series of design studies which will contribute to securing the future of the Wellington Rooms is one that we are very proud of”.
OMI Architects’ winning team includes the following consultants: Alan Gardner Associates: Historic Building Surveyor; Cost Consultant: Poole Dick Associates;Hoare Lea: MEP Services; Keppie Massie: Valuation Surveyors; DP Squared: Structural and Civil Engineering.
The Grade II* listed building – originally used for high society dance balls and latterly as the city’s Irish Centre – is situated on Mount Pleasant in the city centre. It closed in 1997 and subsequent regeneration proposals have failed to get off the ground.
Plans were approved for the Wellington Rooms to become a function suite in 2002 but never implemented, while an application for it to become a hotel in 2006 and 2007 was rejected because of the detrimental impact of a three storey extension.
The University of Liverpool began working with Merseyside Building Preservation Trust and Liverpool City Council last year on plans for a feasibility study which could see it brought back into use as an innovation hub to give students enterprise and entrepreneurship training, and provide office or function space to help new businesses develop and network
Mark Kitts, Liverpool City Council ‘s assistant director for regeneration, said: “The Wellington Rooms is right at the top of our priority list for action. It has an amazing history and is hugely important to the people of the city. We are only at the start of what will be a long journey to return it back to its former glory, but we are now starting to make progress in working with partners to identify a deliverable a sustainable end use.”