Sandfield Tower (Gwalia), Queen's Drive, Liverpool
*Update* May 2021 - Despite previous attempts by the council to force the owners to make sufficient repairs to this handsome house to keep it standing, as well as the determined efforts of a persistent local campaigner, the owners have so far failed to take adequate action. The house still stands with land around it and, although essentially now a shell, it retains tantilising vestiges of its interior decoration. About five years ago there was talk of a sale or even a CPO, but this came to nothing. To see more photographs and read about the history of the house compiled by the local campaigner, click here. The house continues to attract wide interest and dismay at its state as reported in the Liverpool Echo this month here.
*Update* May 2020 - In disappointing news, it appears that Gwalia is beginning to deteriorate significantly. There are reports that the roof and floors have collapsed. Click here for a news report with photographs showing the condition of this landmark and much-loved building. Urgent action is needed.
*Update* October 2018 - Gwalia is still standing derelict.
Photo (from 2016): PeterMLiverpoolLad5 under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International Licence via wikimedia
*Update January 2016* - It was reported at the end of January that the owners of Gwalia have been in talks with a developer wishing to acquire and develop the building. Liverpool City Council has stated that it would be willing to issue a Compulsory Purchase Order and that it also has a developer willing to take the property on. It is hoped that this signals the beginning of a solution for this striking building which has been empty for decades.
This is a mid-19th century red sandstone Victorian villa, previously occupied as the First Church of Christ the Scientist. The Church was given permission to erect a new building on the corner of this buildings site, and subsequently moved into this new building. Gwalia has since deteriorated, despite the fact that it borders an affluent and desirable part of the City.
The immediate needs of the building have been taken care of by the council, who carried out urgent works to secure the property in 2005. Following further action taken by the City Council to recover the cost of these, the freehold company went into liquidation but have subsequently repaid the amount in full. Urgent Repairs remain outstanding for the purpose of weather-proofing the building. The building is now being marketed as a prime development opportunity for a sympathetic new owner. The building would lend itself extremely well to conversion into a small hotel / guesthouse or residential use with the potential for some additional development within the grounds of the listed building to help enable a future restoration scheme.
Gwalia is in a very desirable part of the city and should be allowed a new owner and a new use.