THE developer behind the multi-billion pound Liverpool Waters project last night said it will not bow to any more pressure from heritage groups.
Peel Holdings wants to regenerate the city’s northern docklands with a series of skyscrapers creating more than 25,000 jobs and 14,000 apartments in a £5.5bn development.
Lindsey Ashworth, director of investment for Peel Holdings, said he was not prepared to make any more changes after already substantially reducing the size of the development.
He said he thought the scheme now looked fantastic and hoped to submit a planning application at the end of the month or early October.
“If you started to take more buildings off the site, it would become a nondescript scheme – that’s not what this is about,” said Mr Ashworth.
“I want people to remember it for the new architectural features, as well as the heritage.”
But conservation watchdog English Heritage said the plans still have the potential to harm the city’s World Heritage site.
Peel and English Heritage are currently locked in a dispute over how the 50-plus heritage buildings in the huge north Liverpool docklands site should be classified, for conservation purposes.
Last night, Mr Ashworth said: “We met with them [English Heritage] and the council last week, and it was a pretty positive meeting. We are currently debating with them whether you do a five, seven, or nine point assessment of heritage assets.
“There are at least 50 heritage assets. We consider that a five point assessment is enough, but English Heritage want a nine point assessment, that would be like making an encyclopedia.
“What I am saying to English Heritage is that it would be very nice to spend the next 12 months debating this, but we need to reach a conclusion before the end of the month because we want to submit a planning application.”
He said he expected English Heritage to take a neutral approach once a planning application is submitted: “I don’t think we will get a letter of support, and I don’t think they will object.”
He said he was hoping to get the application submitted by the time the next big Liverpool delegation travels to the World Expo in Shanghai on October 11.
“I am not making any more major changes, I have done what I think is reasonable,” said Mr Ashworth.
“There will be no tall buildings on the line of the frontage of the Mersey, but they are still 15 storeys high. I think we have the right balance now. It looks fantastic, but not over the top.”
In July, the Daily Post revealed how Peel had been forced by English Heritage to massively scale back their plans.
Last night, an English Heritage spokesman said: “Liverpool Waters has the potential to improve access to and understanding of the city's World Heritage site, but it also has the potential to harm the setting of internationally important historic buildings on the waterfront.
“As a statutory advisor to Liverpool City Council, English Heritage is working closely with the council and Peel Holdings to assist in the development of a scheme which delivers major regeneration benefits while safeguarding the outstanding heritage of Liverpool's waterfront and docks. We are working with both parties to assess the potential impact of the proposals and will continue to inform the discussions prior to the submission of the formal planning application and while it is being considered.”
City must strike delicate balance
Sep 13 2010 Liverpool Daily Post
THE conflict between the progressives in our society, and the conservatives who want to cling on to all they hold dear for all time, will never, ever cease.
The two sides are too diametrically opposed for there ever to be a permanent truce – and, to be honest, we really wouldn’t want it any other way.
Who would really want ambitious developers to be given absolute carte blanche to build wherever they want, razing our heritage to the ground in the cause of progress? And an inability to change anything, just because it was old, as reactionary conservationists might demand, would stagnate and fossilise any society, to the detriment of all who lived in it.
Liverpool has long been a battleground for this particular squabble. We have more listed buildings than anywhere in Britain outside London, and are in the midst of a mammoth regeneration programme – is it any wonder the heritage dilemma has exercised many leading city figures?
The Liverpool Waters development, in the northern docklands, is a massive plan by any standards, with 14,000 apartments planned in the £5.5bn scheme. Yet heritage campaigners complain it “has the potential to harm the setting of internationally important historic buildings on the waterfront”.
We undermine our heritage at our peril. There are many people around the world who come to Liverpool to marvel at it. But the key to mega- projects like Liverpool Waters is compromise.
Developers Peel Holdings, to be fair, have already modified the plans with the aim of addressing conservation concerns – but insist now that the time for tinkering is past, as they want to move on to the next stage of the planning process.
It would be difficult to argue against that point of view, when they have demonstrated their commitment to a major Liverpool project and have now actually reduced the size of the scheme because of heritage issues.
The balance between progress and conservation is a delicate one to maintain. But the generations yet to come would not thank us, were we to get it wrong.
Tell the arrogant bastards to bugger off back to the the tax exile haunts of Isle of Man with this deplorable arrogant bastard attitude of Peel Holdings with Liverpools heritage.
Unesco have been informed.
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