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Major Lancaster Road redevelopment approved

Sefton Council has approved a major redevelopment of the former Birkdale School for Hearing Impaired Children in Southport.

In April 2017, Octopus Healthcare submitted a £35m investment proposal to redevelop 40, Lancaster Road, Birkdale. The application was given the green light last night (October 17) at Sefton Council’s Planning Committee meeting held at Bootle Town Hall.

The proposal includes the conversion and remodelling of the listed school building, with extensive repair and restoration of lost features.

Construction of communal facilities, extra care accommodation and improvements to the grounds will also take place, with the aim of creating 113 extra care apartments and associated facilities including a bistro, residents’ lounge, library and hair and beauty salon, as well as providing on-site care.

Cllr Daren Veidman, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Building Control, said: “We have worked extremely hard to secure a sustainable and sensitive use for the former school and this application will safeguard such an iconic building in our wonderful borough.

“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.”

The site was originally opened in 1901 as Terra Nova, a private boarding school, 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.

Richard Dooley, Development Director at Octopus Healthcare, added: “The Octopus Healthcare development team have had a busy eighteen months working with Sefton Council to get this approval over the line.

“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.”

Octopus Healthcare is part of the Octopus Group and a leading investor in healthcare facilities throughout the UK and Ireland.