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St Helens Star: Beecham building conversion given formal consent

PROPOSALS for the conversion of the iconic Beecham building in St Helens town centre have been granted planning permission.

Proposals submitted by The Nicholson Group for the Grade II listed building in Westfield Street in the town centre were sent to St Helens Council.

The plans sought permission to turn the existing building into a mixed use development of 18 residential apartments (seven one-bedroom and 11 two-bedroom), a ground floor beauty salon and a partial retention of offices. 

Plans also included an alteration to the site's vehicle access and external alterations to facilitate the conversion.

The Star reported in 2019 as St Helens College sold the Grade II listed, Beechams Clock Tower building to the private developer, who sought to create a mixed-used development of apartments and commercial space.

A design and access statement in the application said: "The development will comprise a total of 18 new apartments with an internal area of 5,950sqft per floor for first and second floor levels with 1,880sqft at ground floor level".

It added "the existing parking regime to the rear of the building allowed for college staff and visitor parking for up to 20 cars.

"The scheme incorporates a number a new parking area to the rear of the building that can accommodate up to 17 cars along with cycle (18) and motorcycle spaces".

It was added that "materials which have been chosen for the development have been done so as to help the development blend seamlessly with its surroundings whilst still creating a refreshing and contemporary appearance".

It said the "units will be created to replicate the look and appearance existing, adjacent rendered office buildings with a more modern twists within the feature stairwells".

The document added: "Overall, the development would be highly sustainable using modern environmentally friendly methods of construction to assist achieve levels of insulation that would exceed current building regulation standards where possible given the listed building nature of the building.

"Where possible local building materials and labour will be sourced to reduce the environmental impact created throughout unnecessary vehicle movements, which also assist with the site safety during the construction period".

It concluded: "The application details in conjunction with this design statement demonstrate that the proposal is to create residential properties that will rejuvenate this section of the neighbourhood with the use commensurate with the immediate surrounding area".

The application has received approval from St Helens Council's planning department.

The Beechams factory and office building, built between 1884 and 1887, was famous for producing the well-known Beechams pills.

It remains one of St Helens' most iconic buildings.

Beechams was a major employer in the town, and the factory continued to produce pharmaceutical products even after the merger with SmithKline Beckman in 1989.

In 1994 the factory finally closed its doors, with the Beechams estate becoming a part of the St Helens College campus.

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