Monday, 26 April 2010

Mann Island-Is The Penny Finally Dropping?.

Ben Schofield has a go today in the Daily Ghost. (Dead man walking will someone put it out of our misery).  He tries to give reasons why the Fib-Dems should be booted out of Liverpool. How they destroyed the World Heritage Site. He (Oldham) echoes the opinion of Paul Brant of the Labour Party whose head Honcho in Liverpool Louise Ellman, The Dame of Dereliction knew more than enough to stop this and actually ignored and promoted the schemes. In fact she is a major part of the problem to the World Heritage Blight.   Warren Bradley could have stopped it only he doesn't know his arse from his elbow. As for the Dame of Disaster Doreen Jones.
 Ben says VIEWS of Liverpool’s Three Graces, which have been blocked by a landmark new development, should have been preserved under its original planning brief, the Daily Post can reveal.

It is now impossible to see the ornate roofscape of the Port of Liverpool Building, in the heart of the waterfront World Heritage site, from key points in the city centre.
But the original Mann Island planning brief – seen by the Daily Post – sets out six “key views” in the city centre, as well as two others, which were to be protected.
He can reveal, hey!, is this an exclusive. He goes on; “These views inform the location, scale and massing of development on the site.”
But that brief appears to have been abandoned as the development – currently being built by Countryside Neptune – gathered momentum.
The two “key views” were both looking from the south of the Three Graces. The first was of the buildings from the road between Salthouse and Canning Docks, from where, the development brief says, “the principal roofscape features of the Pier Head group of buildings will be visible”.
The other is from the arch of the former Transit Shed, farther along The Strand.

And On he goes.
In a recently-published book called Liverpool: Shaping The City, which was published by the Royal Institute of British Architects and Liverpool city council, the authors admit what is now left are “glimpses” of Liverpool’s famed buildings.
It says: “The view of the Pier Head group of buildings from the south has been changed as the Mann Island scheme takes shape, and the composition of the buildings across the site provides for glimpses of the towers and domes rather than unobstructed views.
He then writes.

But Cllr Paul Brant, the deputy leader of Liverpool’s Labour group and who represents the city ward covering Mann Island, lamented the loss of the views.
Cllr Brant, who said he had no idea the planning brief existed, lobbied against the buildings when they were being considered by planners.
He told the Daily Post: “I like the buildings. I think they’re great buildings, but I think they’re in the wrong place or on the wrong scale or massing.

Funny That I didn’t see him or hear him objecting he then continues.
It seemed to me to be madness to be downgrading views of some of our architectural heritage in a way that might make it less attractive to visit, especially as these areas were deemed to be so exemplar that they were given World Heritage status.
“It’s a major piece of investment and what was there before – the Mann Island car place – was hardly exemplar.”
He added that the building’s impact on the views has not taken him by surprise because he had looked at models of the area before they were built.
But he said: “I’m deeply disappointed that those views are now being lost. It’s bizarre that Liverpool residents now have to go to Birkenhead to see that best view of the Three Graces.”

A Liverpool city council spokesman added: “The development brief set the framework for schemes on this site. It was intended as guidance and was not prescriptive.
“Planning applications are considered in the light of this guidance and when this scheme was determined it was considered that it followed the principles of the brief in that developments should provide ‘glimpse’ views of the Three Graces.
“This view was endorsed by ICOMOS, who visited the site on behalf of the World Heritage Committee.”

Well that is not correct it was never endorsed by Icomos….The Council just went ahead and did it leaving UNESCO and ICOMOS to either put up or shut up.
In the Comments section
Tourman wrote:
It is nothing less than criminal that these three monstrosities have ruined one of the finest views in Liverpool. The people involved and in particular Doreen Jones, who should never have been on the planning committee, must be held responsible and questions must be asked as to their motives when there are so many other available sites. It must also be asked as to why the land was sold so cheaply and the to what extent those involved benefited. I would demolish these eye sores I feel that strongly and if it can be proved that the construction of these buildings was done illegally those people involved should be prosecuted for corruption in a public office.

Then Mark Thomas, Grey Man of Trinity “Smoking” Mirrors hardly able to have an opinion EDITS the papers view in the opinions page.

Tide of change on the waterfront

Apr 26 2010 Liverpool Daily Post
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PEOPLE go down to stroll by the Mersey at the Pier Head not simply because it’s there, à la Mount Everest, but rather because the whole setting and ambience make the waterside such a great place to be.

So the transformation currently taking place around the Mann Island site, where the previous Voss Motors showroom has been obliterated, and replaced by three jet-black blocks, has hardly met with universal acclaim.

Now it has emerged that the original planning brief for the development called for six “key views” in the area to be protected, so important were they to the riverfront environment – but at least two have vanished for ever, and another can be seen from only the narrowest of perspectives, on a tiny stretch of pavement.

It has to be said, though, that the buildings which have ousted Voss Motors are not without architectural merit. It is not difficult to imagine Prince Charles resurrecting his favourite “carbuncles”, if he were to drop by, but less reactionary visitors would surely be impressed by the new arrivals’ impact on the site.

Some may complain about the downside of that impact, and the views which are no longer with us, but if Liverpool is to be seen as the progressive city which it aspires to be, then it will not be possible to pickle every square metre in some type of heritage-branded aspic. That way lies stagnation and fossilisation.

But there is a balance to be considered, however difficult that might be, and the compromise between preserving history and developing for the future must be maintained.

But the level of controversy surrounding these buildings raises serious questions about whether the balance has tilted just a little too far in favour of commercial interests.

One possible saving grace is, however, that for every view that has disappeared, other stunning perspectives are lying there down by the river, just waiting to be discovered. Nothing will deter those crowds of visitors.




    Further reading.


    Paul Brants argument against the Mann Island development. We could have done withy his help at the planning committee though.


  3. Mark Thomas' pathetic piece is Trinity "Smoking" Mirror's own way of admitting that they've been hoodwinking their dwindling readers all along. It's also hypocrisy of the highest order for Thomas to declare that Liverpool is a "progressive city" which should avoid "stagnation & fossilisation" when the city council & their cheerleaders on Oldham Hall Street shamelessly exhume the skeleton of the Beatles with depressing regularity.

  4. Once again, the "pickled-in-aspic" explanation is rolled out, rephrased from Warren Bradley's "wrapped-in-aspic" quote from many moons ago. Maybe someone else is pickled if they are trying to con us into believing this is progress. Everyone, just STOP AND LOOK at the mess that is Mann Island. The view that we cherished has been ruined, and for what - the benefit of Neptune's profit and to pay for the egos who run NML.
    Was this meant to be something us Liverpudlians could be proud of? Count me out, it makes me feel ashamed.

  5. To have a Daily Post Business paper representing the views of vested interest here in Liverpool is a sad indication as to why their readership has continued to dwindle. They have been told they have till the end of the year y the aptly named SLY Baily but its like watching an old dog with arthritis when will it be best to put it out of its misery......or ours in fact.

  6. Grace disgrace

    LABOUR party councillor Paul Brant has highlighted the loss of views of the Three Graces across Mann Island (Daily Post, April 26).

    I know that he objected to the Neptune development at the time, and fought against it.

    Maybe he didn’t fight hard enough, or maybe there were just too many forces ranged against him.

    Appeals by conservationists to central government, the Prime Minister, Secretary of State, etc, all fell on deaf ears.

    Finally, Unesco washed their hands of this and simply left it up to Liverpool, having decided that the “overall universal value” of the waterfront would not be affected.

    What a terrible decision as time has told and the disaster unfolded at our World Heritage site.

    There was nothing wrong with keeping the elegant Voss Motors buildings and developing the rest of the site with low-rise buildings to enhance the Canning Dock area.

    Now our iconic view has gone forever – I hope all magazines and publications issued by the council reflect this, as they are still allowing pictures from 2006 to be used in their “heritage” pamphlets.

    Visitors to the city must be appalled at what our planners have allowed.

    David Swift, Litherland

    Well said David.