Council plan for new Chinatown site

Liverpool City Council may seek to use a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) on the stalled ‘New Chinatown’ development site in Liverpool city centre.

A report to the council’s Cabinet next Friday, July 21 is requesting CPO powers be used – if current developer Chinatown Development Company Ltd cannot sell the prominent site to another developer.

In June 2015, Chinatown Development Company Ltd acquired the site, at that time called Tribeca, from Urban Splash and the city council, to create a housing and leisure scheme called New Chinatown.

To be delivered over three phases, the scheme was to create a new urban quarter with 790 new homes, 11,246 sqm of commercial and retail floor-space and a 140 bed hotel.

In December 2015, phase 1 of the scheme was granted detailed planning consent and outline planning consent was given for phase 2 and 3. A 250 year lease on phase 1 was granted in April 2016.

Since then the sales agent for the company has been accused of fraud on the Hong Kong market which had such a massive impact on sales that works on site stalled and the building contractor went into administration.

Failure to deliver the scheme has led the city council to take action.

Following negotiations it has now been agreed the site be independently marketed over the summer for a new developer to deliver either the consented scheme or an amended scheme.

If a commercial sale does not materialise the report recommends the city council use its CPO powers to assemble the site at Great George Street for redevelopment under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

The CPO for New Chinatown will be conditional on identifying a new developer which is prepared to agree to underwrite the city council’s costs in preparing, submitting and processing the order and funding the acquisitions, including the £950k debt that is owed to the city council in relation to the phase 2 site.

Councillor Ann O’Byrne, Deputy Mayor of Liverpool, said: “Liverpool City Council has been deeply concerned with how events have unravelled with the funding of Chinatown Development Company Ltd’s scheme.

“This report illustrates how hard we have been working to rectify the situation and the lengths we will go to, if necessary, to ensure the site is developed.

“It is vital that a new developer is found to get this scheme – or an amended one – back on track for the good of the Chinatown area, the city and those who have invested in it.”