The former Royal Insurance Building, one of several formerly derelict buildings the council has helped bring back into viable use

Liverpool praised for preserving heritage

English Heritage has praised Liverpool for its approach to preserving its historic buildings.

The comments come as English Heritage publishes its annual report into the city’s and the wider North West region’s buildings which have been rescued or have been deemed ‘at risk’.

English Heritage is the nation’s leading organisation for protecting England’s character and history. Their report, published today (23 October 2014), highlights recent efforts that have been made in the city to bring four buildings off the ‘at risk’ register.

The North Warehouse at Stanley Dock, the Royal Insurance building on North John Street, the Laundry and Laundry Cottage at Croxteth Park and St Andrew’s Church on Rodney Street, have all been rescued and brought back into use.

The preservation of two of these architectural gems has received special mention.

Stanley Dock opened in 1848 as one of five inter-connected docks that helped to make Liverpool one of the greatest ports in the world but the site fell vacant after closing in 1980 and later became at risk.

Thanks to the vision of the developer, Harcourt Developments and investment and advice from Liverpool City Council, the Grade II* listed North Warehouse has been converted into a hotel, with a conference centre in the former Rum Warehouse.

The Grade II* listed Royal Insurance Building was built from 1896 -1903 but has stood vacant since the building was sold in 1996. It had suffered water penetration and theft. Developers Ashall Property Ltd received advice and funding from English Heritage and advice and financial support from Liverpool City Council, to turn it into an Aloft hotel, due to open soon.

English Heritage says the Edwardian building has been returned to “its original splendour, sitting on one of the finest streets in Liverpool’s commercial district.”

Trevor Mitchell, English Heritage Planning and Conservation Director for the North West said: “As we emerge from recession it is no surprise that it is our distinctive historic buildings which are providing construction jobs and new businesses.

“Now is the time to tackle our neglected heritage, turning eyesores back into landmarks. Buildings like the Royal Insurance and Stanley Dock Warehouse not only give quality and distinctiveness to their surroundings, but can deliver economic growth, supporting the tourism and business visitor economy of the city.

“We want to spend at least one million pounds on Heritage at Risk next year and are looking for partners and projects.”

Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool said: “We need to celebrate our successes and this is a welcome endorsement of the efforts that Liverpool City Council makes with various partners in preserving our heritage. It comes as a new lease of life is proposed for Heaps Rice Mill, another landmark building in the city.

“Ten years ago 12 per cent of our listed buildings were at risk and this is now down to less than four per cent, far better than other core cities. Since 2012, 20 buildings have been removed from the register in Liverpool, with work on another two expected to be finished in January next year.

“It’s a highly significant turnaround for a city the size of Liverpool and reflects the importance we take not only in our architectural heritage but our developing built environment.”

English Heritage reports that across the North West, 57 sites and areas have been added to their register because of concerns about their condition, while 50 have been repaired and removed, their future having been secured.

In Liverpool, two Liverpool churches have been added to the Places of Worship section in the register: St Bride’s Church, Liverpool 8 and All Saints Church, Liverpool 7.

Others currently on the list are: Church of St James, Liverpool 8; Greenbank Drive Synagogue, Liverpool 17; Welsh Presbyterian Church, Liverpool 8; Holy Trinity Church, Liverpool 5. Buildings at risk are former church, St Luke’s, Liverpool 1 and the Wellington Rooms, Liverpool 1.

In addition, Anfield Cemetery is listed in the Parks and Gardens section of the register and seven of Liverpool’s 36 conservation areas are also listed.

Liverpool City Council is working in partnership with English Heritage on rescuing each.

Charles Smith, English Heritage Principal Advisor on Heritage At Risk, said: “We have a strong partnership with Liverpool and are really pleased with how seriously the city council takes it heritage at risk and we want to build on that in years to come.”

Liverpool City Council has been working closely with English Heritage on a regeneration scheme for the recently listed Heaps Rice Mill. The proposal for the restoration of the mill as residential accommodation as part of a larger development project in the Baltic Triangle will ensure the building’s future and is to be discussed at Planning Committee on October 28.

Further, a new bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for Townscape Heritage Funding has been prepared for the Ropewalks and Chinatown area of the city and, if successful, will provide funding for the Nelson Street area, as well as other key sites in Ropewalks, part of which are in the World Heritage Site.

Liverpool Waterfront