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News Report Page 13 of 18
Publication Date:- 2018-24-03
News reports located on this page = 2.

Public to have say on future of historic building

THE public are being invited to:- 'Have their Say' this week on proposals for the future of 1 of Liverpool's historic treasures. The Wellington Rooms, which sits within the City Centre's Knowledge Quarter on Mount Pleasant, have lain empty for more than 20 years but plans have now been drafted to resurrect the Grade II* listed building.

The public will get to see the ideas for the 1st time at a consultation event on Wednesday, 21 March at the Piazza Café and Bar, by the steps of the Metropolitan Cathedral between 10am and 6pm.

Merseyside Building Preservation Trust (MBPT) is hosting the consultation based on results of an options appraisal of the 202-year-old building, which is currently undergoing urgent repairs.

The neo-classical venue, which was originally used for high society dance balls and latterly as the City's Irish Centre, lies within the buffer zone of Liverpool's World Heritage site and is recognised by the City Council and Historic England as Liverpool's top heritage priority.

Following the consultation the MBPT, in partnership with Liverpool City Council Historic England and URBACT, is hoping to secure a development partner by the summer and will look to make a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to secure its full restoration.

Bill Maynard, Chair of the Wellington Rooms Steering Group and MBPT, said:- "With the works now underway to stop the Wellington Rooms deteriorating we now want to hear from people as to its future uses. There are a number of options on the table and we want to make sure that we realise the full potential of this remarkable building and secure its use for future generations."

Councillor Alice Bennett, Liverpool's Mayoral Lead for Heritage and Design, said:- "The Wellington Rooms is 1 of Liverpool's oldest and most important buildings. The Council continues to invest in its assets to create a fantastic City with heritage at its heart. I'm delighted that we can share initial ideas with such experienced partners to support us on how we bring this great building back into use and importantly, make it available again to the public."

Charles Smith, North West Assistant Planning Director and Heritage at Risk Principal Adviser for Historic England, added:- "The Wellington Rooms is a Grade II* listed building and is our number 1 Building at Risk priority in Liverpool. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the City Council and the Merseyside Buildings Preservation Trust to explore how best to secure the building's future."

Liverpool City Council's "Buildings at Risk" programme is the most successful project of its type in England. Since 2008 there has been a 75% reduction in:- 'at risk' buildings with St Luke's; aka the bombed out Church; the most recent to be refurbished.

A recent survey has also shown that almost ₤750m has been invested into historic assets within the City's World Heritage Site including the upgrade of 37 listed buildings since 2012, 18 with Council financial assistance.

Saved from the streets

LIVERPOOL City Council and The Whitechapel Centre prevented more than 160 people from sleeping on the streets in January. The latest figures from the Council-backed Urban Outreach Response Service, show that during 1 of the coldest months of the year, 163 people at risk of sleeping rough were supported by the team and spared from spending a night outdoors.

They were offered a range of support, including access to accommodation, help in returning to family or friends, access to health and support services and education and training opportunities.

In terms of those already sleeping rough, outreach workers saw 46 different people bedded down at various locations across the City, thoughtout January 2018. Of these, 20 were successfully encouraged to access the Labre House night hub, return to their existing accommodation and other solutions.

By the end of the month, the Council and its partners had cut the number of rough sleepers to 26; all of these were offered further support.

Figures collated over the past 2 years show that there is an average of 30 people sleeping rough in the City each month. Anyone who continues to sleep rough is offered ongoing help, but there will be a range of complex reasons why they may not accept support.

The Urban Outreach Response Service is provided by The Whitechapel Centre with funding from the Council. It forms part of the Council's Always Room Inside campaign, which pledges that no-one in Liverpool needs to sleep on the streets.

In November, the Council and its partners opened Labre House on Camden Street, as a night shelter. As well as offering sleeping space and hot food, the centre provides users with access to facilities such as phone and internet to inform family members they are safe. It is also seen as a route away from the streets into settled accommodation.

During January, the centre saw an increase in demand for places, rising from 43 at the beginning of the month to 70 at the end.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said:- "In Liverpool the vast majority of people who become homeless never spend a night sleeping rough. Each year we try and support 7,000 people into the right solution on the 1st day we come into contact with them. If this isn't possible we can support people in Labre House. Labre House is the only facility of its kind in the Country that accepts everyone through the door, regardless of their background or circumstances. We have recently expanded the capacity of this venue to make sure we have enough room. There are a small number of people rough sleeping on our streets every night, but these aren't the same people each month. At the same time as helping people off our streets and into accommodation, we are working to break the cycle of new rough sleepers taking their place, using Labre House as a starting point."

Mayor Anderson added:- "1 person sleeping on our streets is too many, but thanks to joint working between the Council, its partners and the community we are helping more people off the streets and on the journey to turn their lives around than ever before."

If you have concerns about someone sleeping rough in Liverpool, you can call the Always Room Inside helpline on:- 0300 123 2014.

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