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A RUN-DOWN former hotel should be forcibly bought out to regenerate it for the benefit of Liverpool's Chinese community, Stop the Rot delegates have heard.

Cllr Joe Anderson called for Compulsory Purchase Order procedures to be started when the forum met yesterday.

Leaseholder Jimmy Wong wants to develop a 750-seat restaurant in the old Scandinavian Hotel in Duke Street.

But he does not have the cash to make his vision a reality.

Now Downing Developments, which has plans for a luxury 80-bed hotel on the site, is approaching Mr Wong with a buy-out proposal.

Speaking after the meeting,Mr Wong said he would consider selling ``if the price is right''. But he did not agree with an independent valuation which put his interest at pounds 875,000.

He said: ``If they put a CPO on,I will fight them.''

Cllr Anderson told the meeting the lack of action was ``frustrating''.

But Jenny Douglas,of Liverpool Vision, said a CPO was not appropriate while negotiations were continuing. Mr Wong has been given three weeks to make a decision.

The former hotel was one of 10 buildings - including a new entry, the old White House pub in Duke Street, to be investigated.

City council leader Mike Storey praised the ``tremendous progress'' made since the beginning of the campaign. He said: ``If we look back at when this project was initiated by the ECHO, there was a lot of blame, saying why was the city council not doing anything?

``We're now making sure what various owners and developers are doing.''

ECHO editor Mark Dickinson said: ``The spotlight shone on some of these buildings is beginning to pay off.

``If nothing else, we want to preserve these fantastic buildings.''

The Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev Dr James Jones, chaired the meeting.

He warned: ``The regeneration of the city has got to be both physical and social. You can have wonderful facades, but if the community behind them is dead, that's not the solution.''

MEETINGS have been held between Liverpool Vision and both Downing Developments, which has a proposal in place for the building, and leaseholder Jimmy Wong who wants to turn it into a restaurant.

An independent valuation has been sent to freeholders Frenson and Mr Wong. Downing is to make him an offer for the building based on the valuation.

A FEASIBILITY study examining the building, what uses it could be put to and how much it would cost to renovate,has been completed. The conclusion is it is better to repair than demolish the building.

IVORY Coast's army and rebel forces clashed again,just as insurgent representatives took their posts in a new ``unity government'' meant to end six months of conflict.

A PLANNING application and listed building consent application are before the council and will be decided by June.

Owners New Dimension Properties Ltd have spent around pounds 200,000 making it weather and water-tight.

FREEHOLD is to formally transfer from Frenson to Grosvenor Henderson. The buildings form part of the Grosvenor Henderson master plan and are expected to be refurbished, hopefully as part of an early phase of the development.

SCAFFOLDING has been erected around the Grade II* listed building and masons are expected on site this week.

Meanwhile a planning application has been submitted to the council to put a metal frame inside the church's Grade II listed Sunday school building tore-roof it with possible use as offices or a doctor's surgery.

THE buildings are structurally sound. Frenson has given money to the Liverpool Architecture and Design Trust (LADT) to pay for hoardings on this and other buildings it owns to tidy them up.

HEADS of term were agreed between the Walton Group and Milligan Developments in February and are before lawyers. It is expected they will be signed by the end of May. The development contract is now likely now to start at the end of September.

THE building has been scaffolded and emergency works are expected to be completed in three weeks' time.

The next step is for Frenson to apply for grants and see what can be done for the long-term use of the building.

KITGROVE have received three serious bids for the listed warehouses and are still analysing them.

The North West Development Agency is working with them. If all the bids are rejected, Kitgrove could still apply for permission to tear down the warehouses. If that happened, there would be ``99%'' chance of a public inquiry.

THE two buildings which make up the site are owned by Frenson and the estate of the late Jackie Mass. A draft inspection has been carried out and a survey report given to the council. What happens next depends on what the estate of Ms Mass opts to do.


TALKS: Stop the Rot forum with,foreground from left,Cllr Storey,Bishop Jones and Mark Dickinson.Right: The Scandinavian Hotel; Florence Institute:PROGRESS; Wellington Rooms:PROGRESS; Stanley Buildings:NO PROGRESS; Duke Street Terraces:NO PROGRESS; St Andrew's Church:PROGRESS; Former PO Building:PROGRESS; 60 Seel Street/30 Slater Street:PROGRESS; Tobacco Warehouse: PROGRESS; Former White House pub: PROGRESS
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 15, 2003
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