Property

What next for Heswall Police Station now it’s for sale?

By Mark Gorton at

Heswall Police Station has been placed on the market by the Merseyside Police Crime and Commissioner’s Office, leaving people to speculate as to what will become of this distinctive building on Telegraph Road.

A Planning Appraisal carried out by Nexus Planning in Manchester states that the following uses are the ‘most logical’.

  • A convenience retail store – the report says: “In this case [Wirral Council’s Retail and Leisure Study of 2016] confirmed there is a perceived capacity to accommodate new convenience retail floorspace of around 2,000 square metres, some of which could be accommodated at the site. A small format convenience store is therefore considered an appropriate use in planning terms, subject to detailed access and design issues.”
  • Apartments – says the report: “The conversion of the existing building into apartments is clearly a possibility, subject to viability considerations. If, however, demolition is the preferred option then given the attractive design and overall appearance of the existing building, a replacement scheme would need to make a positive contribution to the street scene in design terms. Policy SH6 (Wirral Council’s strategy for development within primarily commercial areas) does not specifically preclude a 100% residential scheme. Also, the current use as a Police Station does not make a contribution towards the vitality of the high street and so no detriment would exist in this regard, i.e. a traditional town centre use will not be lost and replaced with a non-town centre use.” (It’s not clear if the writer of the report is aware that the building’s life as a police station ended in 2015.)
  • Other town centre uses – These might be “offices, restaurants, gymnasiums and health centres. It is considered that a hotel use would also be acceptable in this location.”

The Planning Appraisal then goes on to consider the implications of development of the site, which include:

  • The residential properties that back onto the site are the key consideration in respect of layout and scale, especially when considering the change in land levels that occurs. Any proposed site layout and building heights would need to respect this relationship to ensure that the amenity of these residents is protected and that the scheme would not overshadow or dominate these properties.
  • If commercial uses are considered then any noise generating elements of the scheme should be located or mitigated in a way that minimises any impact upon these properties. Aside from this relationship, the site layout would need to ensure that the required level of car parking can be achieved for the intended use and that adequate servicing and circulation arrangements are also provided. The main bulk of the building should be sited towards the front to address Telegraph Road, which is consistent with the established street scene.
  • In terms of height, there is a 4 storey nursing home opposite the site, and Heswall Methodist Church also sets the tone for the character of the street scene in this locality. Existing buildings will act as cues for appropriate building heights, but as described above, an additional consideration in this case is the residential properties to the rear on Oban Drive.

The report also points out that “although the existing building is not listed or in a conservation area, it is of architectural merit and makes a positive contribution to the street scene. Demolition of the building would form part of the application proposals for redevelopment of the site and so, from a design perspective, the impact of the loss of this building would be weighed against the benefits that the proposals deliver, one of which would be whether a high standard of design quality is achieved in respect of the replacement scheme.

“Whilst we do not consider the loss of the building to be determinative, there could be some local opposition to its loss and so again, an appropriate architectural solution will help to alleviate any concerns that may be raised during the application process.”

Heswall Today would be interested to hear from readers over on our Facebook page.

What are your views about the future of the police station? What should it become? Or should attempts be made to save it in its present and familiar form?

Incidentally, if you’re thinking of buying the old cop shop, you can click or tap here to see the property details.