Go-ahead for care vil­lage plans on for­mer school site

Southport Visiter - - Front Page - BY KATE LALLY kate.lally@reach­plc.com @kate­lal­lyx

AFORMER school will be de­mol­ished to make way for a £35m care vil­lage.

The site of Birk­dale School for Hear­ing Im­paired Chil­dren has been plagued by ar­son and van­dal­ism, and at­tracted squat­ters and trav­ellers since the school closed in 2003.

Sefton Coun­cil has given the go-ahead for a de­vel­op­ment on the site, which will pro­vide ac­com­mo­da­tion for more than 100 peo­ple and will fea­ture a 74-bed vil­lage, di­vided into six house­holds, pro­vid­ing 24-hour care and nurs­ing sup­port.

The vil­lage, which will be de­vel­oped by Oc­to­pus Health­care, will also of­fer 30 one and two-bed­room in­de­pen­dent liv­ing apart­ments, to­gether with a range of fa­cil­i­ties open to the pub­lic, in­clud­ing a bistro, hair sa­lon, ex­er­cise stu­dio and func­tion rooms.

The fate of the site on Lan­caster Road – a stone’s throw from Royal Birk­dale golf course – has long been a hot topic among res­i­dents and coun­cil­lors.

Footage cap­tured by an ur­ban ex­plorer in 2016 showed ex­ten­sive fire dam­age, as well as smashed win­dows, torn­down rail­ings and fenc­ing, and pulled-down ceil­ings, with the ma­jor­ity of walls cov­ered in of­fen­sive graf­fiti.

Cabi­net mem­ber for plan­ning and build­ing con­trol, Cllr Daren Vei­d­man, said: “We have worked ex­tremely hard to se­cure a sus­tain­able and sen­si­tive use for the for­mer school.

“The suc­cess­ful ap­pli­ca­tion will seek to se­cure the build­ing’s re­moval from the coun­cil’s listed build­ings ‘at risk’ reg­is­ter, while also con­tribut­ing to the re­moval of West Birk­dale con­ser­va­tion area from the na­tional ‘at risk’ reg­is­ter.

“We look for­ward to work­ing closely with Oc­to­pus Health­care as they con­serve, re­store and de­velop this fan­tas­tic site.”

De­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor at Oc­to­pus Richard Doo­ley added: “Be­ing able to breathe new life into this iconic build­ing and re­ally giv­ing it a pur­pose for the next

100 years is a great achieve­ment.

“The en­vi­ron­ment we are try­ing to cre­ate will be a real tes­ta­ment to the fu­ture of el­derly care.”

The new care vil­lage will in­clude a bistro, hair sa­lon, ex­er­cise stu­dio and func­tion rooms, which will be open to the pub­lic

The for­mer deaf school in Birk­dale has been plagued by van­dals and ar­son­ists

Coun­cil­lors hope the de­vel­op­ment will help re­move the West Birk­dale con­ser­va­tion area from the ‘at risk’ reg­is­ter

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