• Martins Bank

Reworked Martins Bank hotel plans recommended for approval

The conversion of Liverpool’s Grade II*-listed Martins Bank building into a luxury hotel could move a step closer next week.

Reworked plans for the Water Street landmark include bar and dining facilities within the ground floor banking hall and a rooftop spa.

It was revealed in 2016 that investment firm Starwood Capital Group, under its Principal brand, was to convert the neo-classical building into a 227-bedroom hotel.

However in May 2018, after French property group Foncière des Régions purchased a 14-hotel portfolio from Starwood which included Martins Bank, the building’s future looked unclear.

And in August 2018 when the original planning consent lapsed, it appeared to place the project in further doubt.

But in March 2019 a fresh application emerged from Principal Hayley Group seeking permission to convert Martins Bank into a 215-bedroom hotel.

Principal says the new proposals have been developed in line with previous permissions but “revised and adapted to better reflect the arrangement and guest facilities needed for such a development, its commercial viability and operational functionality”.

The ground floor is now proposed to be set up for visitor and guest activities with bars and lounges; the banking hall screens retained to enclose a restaurant and the cheque signing tables kept as bar furniture.

Liverpool City Council’s planning committee has been recommended to approve the reworked plans at a meeting on 18 June.

During World War Two much of the country’s gold reserve was secretly transferred to Martins Bank in an attempt to hide the resources in fear of a German invasion.

The gold arrived via three heavily guarded trains at Lime Street station in May 1940 before being transported to the bank’s vaults.

About Author: Lawrence Saunders

Lawrence is a journalist at Move Publishing. He can be contacted via email at lawrence@movepublishing.co.uk or by phone on 0151 709 3871.