Reinstatement of derelict former social club through enabling development

Conserving an important heritage site
This complex and sensitive project sought to conserve an important heritage site which had fallen into dereliction: the former family home of the mountaineer Andrew ‘Sandy’ Irvine, who together with George Mallory became well known for their ill-fated ascent of Everest in 1924.

The large three-storey Victorian house lay within a conservation area and overlooked Birkenhead Park, itself a Grade 1 listed park and garden. The building had last been used as a co-operative sports and social club, but had lain empty for several years and suffered fire damage in 2013.

Despite the building not being listed, it was an important designated heritage asset and so JWPC worked closely with the local council and its conservation officer to secure its restoration. A project team was assembled to demonstrate that conversion to 11 apartments was the best way to secure the building’s future, although doing so would create a financial deficit.

Planning committee lobbying
To address this shortfall, it was proposed to use the rear garden and former bowling green of the social club for a development of seven townhouses and two blocks containing a total of 21 apartments. Considerable negotiations took place with both officers of the council and Historic England to agree a suitable design for the new-build elements, which needed to respect not only the existing building but also Birkenhead Park.

Following these discussions, council officers and Historic England recommended approval of the scheme, and after extensive lobbying of the Planning Committee and a site visit, JWPC was successful in securing planning permission subject to a Section 106 agreement. Regeneration of this important building is now under way.

Photo courtesy of User Rept0n1x at Wikimedia Commons

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