Plans to build 200 American-inspired apartments at Baltic Triangle rejected

The ‘co-living’ flats - a concept that originated in the USA - would be the first of their kind in Liverpool but councillors said they would be a “student development by stealth”.

Proposals to create more than 200 co-living apartments in the Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool have been unanimously rejected.

An application to build an accommodation block on the site of the former Bogans Carpets unit in New Bird Street has been knocked back by members of Liverpool City Council’s planning committee.

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Councillors raised concerns about the affordability of the proposed housing scheme, the lack of policy around developments of its type and the construction representing a “student development by stealth.”

CGI image of the proposed New Bird Street development. Image: planning documents

Council urged to ‘rethink’

David Wilson, development manager at applicant Crossland Ltd, urged councillors to rethink planning officers’ recommendations to refuse the plan, claiming that more than 200 jobs would be created by the scheme.

It was suggested that more than £1 million would be generated for the local economy as a result of the development.

Under the plans put forward, Crossland Ltd sought to provide 236 single occupancy co-living studios with associated communal space.

What is co-living?

Co-living is a concept that originated in America with schemes granted planning permission in other UK cities, including London, Manchester and Bristol.

Mr Wilson sought to calm fears that while the apartment block would resemble a halls of residence in style, it would not be construction of a “student development by stealth.”

CGI image of the proposed New Bird Street development. Image: planning documents

Objections to the plans

Cllr Helen Thompson said she felt the development appeared to represent an-HMO (houses in multiple occupation) like property, while committee chair Cllr Tony Concepcion raised concerns around the affordability of the studio apartments and it being the first application of its nature in Liverpool.

Mr Wilson said Crossland’s proposal of £900-£1,100 per month represented an affordable rate.

Further issues around accessibility of the apartments were also put forward.

Council officer Fergal McEvoy told councillors that there was no existing policy in relation to co-living properties and Cllr Concepcion said officers had also highlighted the lack of provision for accessible housing and a majority of apartments failing to comply with the Nationally Described Space Standards as reasons to reject the proposals.

Members voted unanimously to deny the plan.