A consultation into a proposed redevelopment of the former Birkdale School for Hearing Impaired Children in Southport is to launch following discussions between Sefton Council and Octopus Healthcare Group.
Octopus Healthcare Group will run the consultation in the coming months regarding their multi-million pound investment proposal to redevelop 40 Lancaster Road, Birkdale into an Extra Care accommodation site.
Their proposals includes the conversion and remodelling of the listed school building, construction of communal facilities, extra care accommodation and improvements to the grounds.
The proposal is now subject to a community consultation before applications for planning and Listed Building Consent are submitted to Sefton Council’s Planning department.
A document from Octopus Healthcare Group about their proposed plans can be viewed here
Cllr Daren Veidman, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Building Control, said: “It has long been the Council’s aspiration to work to secure a sustainable and sensitive use for the former Deaf School.
“Over the last seven years the Council has directed significant resource trying to secure the site and to prevent the further deterioration of the building.
“The beneficial future use of the building will secure its 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 have had intensive and detailed discussions with Octopus Healthcare over the last year and I would encourage the community to engage with their consultation, so that there is a strong local input into the proposals before formal applications are submitted to the Council.”
A spokesperson for Octopus Healthcare added: “We are delighted to present our exciting proposals to the community at which will include an exhibition of the scheme at Southport Town Hall on March 15, 2018.
“We would welcome the opportunity to introduce our concept to conserve, restore and develop this fantastic site.”
Andy Baddeley, who leads the project for Octopus Healthcare said “This scheme presents a wonderful opportunity to safeguard this iconic building for future generations, yet provides a much needed retirement and extra care facility for people to really enjoy this unique place.”
“Through these types of schemes we will be better placed to cater for the ageing population ensuring that there are suitable homes which will help downsizers retain their independence in later years.”
The proposal is to create up to 120 extra care apartments and associated facilities to include a bistro, residents lounge, library and hair and beauty salon as well as providing on site care.
The site at 40, Lancaster Road was originally opened as Terra Nova, a private boarding school in 1901 before it became the school for the partially hearing in 1948.
It remained as such until 2003 when it was sold to developers and has remained vacant ever since. The building was made a grade II listed building in 1999.