Hull city centre mixed-use regeneration plan approved

Plans have been approved for the regeneration of a Hull city centre site into a mixed-use development with an ice rink, 278 homes, and up to 16,752 square metres of retail space, after officers advised that planning conditions could ensure the preservation of three 1960s-era murals on the site's existing buildings.

The Three Ships mural (pic Diamond Geezer via Flickr)
The Three Ships mural (pic Diamond Geezer via Flickr)

Hull City Council yesterday approved outline planning consent for the redevelopment of the city’s Albion Square.

According to a planning report, the 2.4-hectare site currently includes a car park and two former department stores built in the post-war era, one of which features a "monumental, concave, mosaic mural" known as "Three Ships".

The redevelopment would see these existing buildings knocked down and replaced with an indoor ice arena, 278 homes, and up to 16,752 square metres of retail space.

Planners advised that the potential loss of the Three Ships mural had provoked "many impassioned, and many erudite" representations on the application.

Consultation responses referenced "this grand and unique, iconic and evocative piece of public art, its evident and seemingly burgeoning communal heritage value, its symbolism for the city’s post-blitz recovery and regeneration … and through its subject matter, illustrious maritime history", the report said.

The report recognised that the plans would see the mural, and two other murals in the buildings to be demolished, removed from their current position.

However, the report advised that suitable planning conditions could ensure that the Three Ships mural was removed prior to demolition and restored as part of the new development.

It is "considered appropriate to recommend that a condition be imposed on any grant of permission, requiring the submission of a method statement for the retention of the ‘Three Ships’ mural, including structural assessment, in situ recording, means of support and protection during demolition and construction phases, methods of dismantling, storage, and reconstruction if proposed, including method of supported integration into any redevelopment, be submitted prior to the commencement of demolition of the Cooperative Society building", the report said.

Similar conditions were also recommended to be put in place with regards to the other two murals.

Overall, planners advised that any harm to the murals could "to a degree be mitigated by restoring and retaining the works on site, in publicly accessible locations, preserving their fabric and enhancing opportunities to appreciate their historic and artistic significance, for the lifespan of the scheme as a minimum".

The plans were approved.

Last month, outline plans for 2,500 homes and 87,700 square metres of office space in the centre of York were approved after planning officers advised that the benefits of the scheme "demonstrably outweigh" its adverse impacts, including on the city's heritage.

In February, councillors in Northamptonshire approved plans for a town centre cinema and restaurant development despite the local authority's own conservation officer raising concerns about the demolition of a library building to make way for it.

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