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Historic Bushell’s building set for demolition to save loss of 6 parking spaces

Bushell’s Building in Liverpool has been earmarked for demolition for the Mersey Fire & Rescue Service to erect a new steel training tower.

Bushell's Building, Liverpool - taken from Google Maps

The C19 former cork warehouse lies on a large site with ample space for the training tower to be erected alongside; however the proposed alternative space was considered unsuitable in that a maximum of 6 parking spaces would be lost. The Victorian Society considers Liverpool Council’s prioritisation of parking spaces over a treasured heritage asset deeply concerning and stand fast against the demolition plans.

The Bushell’s Building on the corner of Springfield and Harker Street was erected in the 1890s and served as a cork warehouse, no doubt with links to Liverpool docks, the source of 19th century Liverpool’s extraordinary prosperity and ultimately the reason for its inscription as a World Heritage Site. The building is constructed of high quality red brick and has a particularly attractive façade, providing a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the area.

It is the only original building left in Springfield and is an important surviving example of a late 19th century port-related cork warehouse. It is also associated with the Clare group, the oldest surviving company in Liverpool. All of these aspects deem it an important part of Liverpool’s heritage and industrial history and certainly constitute it as a heritage asset worth protecting.

A drawing of the site which was included in the original planning documents clearly locates the new tower on vacant land which would both provide the MFRS with their new training tower and protect the historic building. However it seems this drawing was never brought to officer’s attention, an unreasonable decision which suggests the MFRS would prefer the demolition of the Bushell’s Building than for it to remain in their care.

This suggestion is further supported by the fact that part of the roof was removed three months prior to the planning application. There can be no obvious reason as to why this occurred, other than to worsen the derelict state of the building to further support the demolition application, which is exactly how it is used in the officer’s report.

This proposed demolition, which has been approved by the council with conditions, is entirely unnecessary and would destroy a historically significant building which contributes to Liverpool’s World Heritage status. The Victorian Society urges the council and MFRS to rethink their decision and for those members of the public who oppose the demolition to voice their opposition.  

Thursday 26 January, 2017

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