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Two-year delay for new Hope Street hotel; Building to be used for offices.

Byline: DAVID BARTLETT

PROPERTY bosses last night admitted they will not be in a position to start work for a couple of years on a boutique hotel in Liverpool's Hope Street.

Maghull Developments looks set to be given planning permission to create the pounds 10m 50-bedroom hotel in Hanhemann House at the city's planning committee tomorrow.

It for ms part of the company's pounds 100m mothballed scheme to redevelop a number of sites in the historic street.

But while saying it was still committed to the overall scheme, the company said it planned to continue letting Hahnemann House as offices for the "short-tomedium term". Maghull plans to eventually convert the Grade IIlisted building at 58 Hope Street into a four star 50-bedroom boutique hotel with a bar, restaurant and day-spa.

The firm was forced back to the drawing board with its original plans for a 62-bedroom hotel in the Hahnemann Building after the building was listed last year.

Local ward councillor Steve Munby is opposed to the plans and wants the committee to turn them down.

He said: "Maghull are continuing their campaign to destroy what's left of Hope Street and are now proposing to make a hotel ably supported by the planners.

"Quite rightly it was not acceptable for Hope Place to be used as a load bay for the Hope Street Hotel, but now it seems to be acceptable for Maghull.

"It's quite unbelievable and quite unacceptable."

Maghull was heavily criticised for "hacking off" the front of Josephine Butler House last year ahead of the committee meeting to decide whether the company should be given permission to demolish it as part of the scheme.

The plans were eventually approved, but now due to the credit crunch, the firm is to build a car park on the site.

Mike Hanlon, from Maghull Developments, said: "We are currently letting the Hahnemann Building as shortterm office space and this will remain our focus in the short-to-medium term if the hotel scheme is granted approval.

"This strategy will give us time for the wider UK economy and local property market to pick up and for the city's hotel industry to level, before we progress with our redevelopment plans.

"It's less than 12 months since we finished our first hotel development and this affords us the time to ensure our hotel business model is robust.

"It would be foolish to rush to bring this to the market at this time, given current economic uncertainty.

"We're being deliberately prudent and expect the short term office space in the Hahnemann Building to be particularly well received with a high level of demand from small businesses seeking both lease and rental flexibility at one of Liver pool's best addresses.

"We r emain committed to our various schemes along Hope Street."

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Mike Hanlon Artist impression of Maghull Developments'' plans for Hahnemann Building in Hope Street
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 31, 2009
Words:480
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