Plans laid out for Garven Place regeneration

Bank House Published: Tuesday, 3rd September 2019

Warrington Borough Council’s Cabinet is being asked to give the go-ahead for plans to bring an important town centre site back into economic use.

Approval is being sought from the cabinet, on Monday 9 September, for the appointment of a preferred developer of land and buildings at Garven Place.

The council is proposing to dispose of the Grade 2 Listed buildings Bank House (88) and 86 Sankey Street - which have been empty for a number of years - paving the way to a major residential-led/mixed use scheme at the site.

A proposed redevelopment scheme has been brought forward, which will be considered by the Cabinet. It seeks to convert the existing buildings into a boutique hotel, restaurant, spa and swimming pool, along with the development of residential apartments and public car park.   

The plans aim to bring two landmark, town centre buildings back into use, and provide a high quality development on a strategic corner site, adjacent to the Town Hall and opposite the cultural quarter.  It will also provide a capital receipt for the council.  

The residential element of the proposal is being supported due to the site’s inclusion in the Council’s Strategic Housing Availability Assessment (SHLAA). 

Warrington Borough Council Leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “We have strong aspirations for Warrington town centre, and these plans aim to support our ongoing economic regeneration and growth.  

“Bringing forward the development of the Garven Place site has been a long held ambition, and the current market and wider town centre developments mean we now have a fantastic opportunity to do this.

“This is a strategically important, high profile site, and if these proposals are given the go-ahead, it would enable us to regenerate an area of unused vacant land and deliver an aspirational and quality scheme for the town centre.”

The Garven Place site comprises the former clinic site and adjoining public car park together with the listed buildings, Bank House (no 88) and No 86 Sankey Street. The site comprises approximately 1.38 acres (0.56 ha).

Bank House (No 88) has been vacant since 2014 when it ceased to be used by Golden Gates Housing Trust as an operational office. 86 Sankey Street is partly leased. However, it is proposed the buildings will be offered with vacant possession, and with discussions now taking place with the current tenant.  

Land to the rear of Bank House is currently an operational council-operated public car park, and a condition of the sale is that this provision remains somewhere within the redevelopment scheme.

More information

•          The site of the former NHS clinic was acquired by the Council as part of the land swap with the NHS in 2009 for the former public swimming baths on Bath Street.

•          The site is now cleared, levelled and fenced with direct access from Sankey Street.

•          Following a marketing exercise, where freehold expressions of interest were invited, it is proposed to appoint a preferred developer to progress a scheme at their risk.

•          There will be a report back to Cabinet in 2020 for final terms for a disposal of the property, once details of the project and planning consent are confirmed.