Thursday, 17 March 2011

Liverpools Great Land Sell Off-At The Wrong Time, For Some.

  It was several years ago that I attended the World Heritage Inscription Ceremony at the Liverpool Town Hall. I was uninvited.
I met Rex Makin there who asked me to call into his office to assist with advice on how to campaign against the then proposed Museum of Liverpool, which I did shortly after. He did not appear to like Dr David Fleming one bit.
George Downing was there I approached him and asked him if he would put up a fight against the Mann Island Developments. “I am sitting on the fence at the moment” he said. “Yes and you are going to get a sore arse” I said

He would later go on to receive a £750,000 pay out for a breach of covenant that Liverpool Museums made by blocking views of the Port of Liverpool Building that he owned. That’s what you call nicely cushioned.

Sir Neil Cossons the then Chair of English Heritage said, I remember this because I wrote it down.

“Liverpool has a wealth of great architecture and now has the opportunity to build on the strength of its world heritage site”. I shouted out “That’s what they’re doing” and several people turned to me, some aware of the impending doom that would descend on the Pier Head.

When Cossons said build on the nucleus of the World Heritage Site, there was some already taking him literally.
I spoke to a quite trendy and Tough looking bloke who said he owned or leased a large warehouse on the waterfront that he wanted to develop.

He was a big out of town developer with a standing for making things happen, creating International tourist destination, that people came from all over the world to visit, or so he persuaded me. He then went on to allege some very worrying claims.
He told me how he wanted to develop his site into a rival to his London Base.
“Well why don’t you get a planning application it needs doing up” I said.
“Councillors, he replied, I was told that if I coughed up some money it would have a clear run”
I was not amazed in fact quite the opposite it was just more confirmation of how the stranglehold on the city was being tightened by those in power.
“How much”
“60 grand” he replied. “I just cant do it, I am so annoyed”
If he was to be believed and I have no evidence to doubt his claims it just shows how the city has been run.
He is no longer around Liverpool, so his investment has gone elsewhere.
I put this forward to several local reporters who I knew quite well and it was subsequently ignored.
I have been speaking to a researcher for the BBC called Alex Ritson and this and quite a lot more information has been made available. It seems I have quite a file.
He said he is putting a FOI request in to determine the lease details for Grosvenor-pool.

Lets hope he digs a bit deeper than the local press.
I telephoned the Echo in 1985, I recall speaking to Rob Rohrer and I told him of the involvement of a then little known and up and coming councillor with a local businessman. "I cant just take your word for it" he said. "You need to dig a bit" I told him.
I later found out he was part of the Liverpool Free Press and covered a Trevor Jones expose entitled The Undeclared Interest of 'Jones The Vote' for the New Statesman.
That declaration was taken close to court by Trevors solicitor, Rex Makin, Rob told me.

Everyone in the city had a theory of what was allegedly going on.
Some of the senior journalists were in fact card-carrying members of the party.
It was 5 years later that the Sunday Times by-passed the local press and did a massive expose, that led to the councillor in question being taken to court, with his friend as co-defendant.
I recall how the defendant offered no defence and was cleared.
It was national news and brought Liverpool down to a basket case image.
This court case was over a piece of land that was claimed by the defendants had little interest to anyone.
It was claimed, in court that the only person who had taken an interest in this plot of land, alleged to have been sold on the cheap by the council, was Hitler who dropped a bomb on it.
This land is now part o the Liverpool One Grosvenor-pool Development and is worth a fortune.

And what checks will be made of the great Council Land "errr umm" Sell Off happening today under a new Labour administration.

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