Apartment boss and councillor clash over Liverpool city centre ‘party pad’ venue

Row over new Aparthotel on Castle Street escalates on social media.

Planning officials have been asked to look again at permission handed out to a luxury apartment firm in Liverpool city centre.

It was revealed last week that iStay Liverpool is to begin work on its new site at the five-storey, grade II-listed 17-21 Castle Street building, with a view to opening next year. The company, which has locations across the city, has invested in the historic site to provide 33 new apartments.

However, city centre councillors have moved against the proposals and asked Liverpool Council to revisit planning permission handed out to the business two years ago. In a letter circulated on social media, Cllrs Nick Small and Christine Banks said they had been in touch with planning officers asking for the planning permission and operational management plan to be revisited “to ensure that this aparthotel does not operate as party flats.”

The city centre members said they had been in touch with the company’s owners to meet with them and residents to discuss concerns. The letter comes after Cllr Small and iStay owner Ann Chambers clashed on social media.

A general view of the building on Castle Street, Liverpool. Image: Google

Responding to a tweet from Cllr Small branding the apartments as party pads, Ms Chambers denied they would be used in such a way. She added: “It is going to be a high end aparthotel that caters for families, business and those with accessibility needs.”

Cllr Small called on the business to “think again” and tweeted: “I’m asking for a business to operate responsibly and recognise that the City Centre is a mixed use area, with significant numbers of residents.”

iStay already has locations in Temple Court, Water Street, Duke Street, Bold Street, Rodney Street and the recently launched Harrisons Aparthotel in Victoria Street.

In the announcement surrounding the acquisition of the property on Castle Street, Ms Chambers said the apartments would be specially designed “for those who require accessibility – it has been a conversation that has been ongoing, and is vital for us at iStay to make provision for guests who require ground floor accommodation.”

Planning permission was granted for the site in January 2020, with no comments received by ward councillors according to documents submitted to the planning committee. It had been recommended for approval on the basis the apartments were “aimed at both people visiting Liverpool for leisure and business for short and long term stays with a requirement for high quality, serviced accommodation in a central location.”