March 5th, 2012
Dear Secretary of State,
Tomorrow, Tuesday March 6th, the Planning Committee of Liverpool City Council will consider whether to grant planning permission to the huge Liverpool Waters scheme in the city's northern docklands.
Council officers are recommending that permission is given for site owners, Peel Holdings, to develop the first phase of the project to be built between now and 2016.
You will be aware that the scheme is highly controversial both because of its scale ( described by council officers as "unprecedented" and "beyond living experience") and its proximity to the Liverpool Waterfront World Heritage Site (WHS.)
Putting arguments about the possible threat to WHS status to one side, it is clear that the scheme proposed by Peel is indeed of international significance and could change the face of Liverpool for generations.
It is our civic leaders' duty not to be dazzled by developer "hype" or tempted to ignore the scheme's shortcomings in order to approve something - anything - on such a derelict site.
I believe that Liverpool Waters - and its sister scheme in Wirral - represent an out-dated model of global property development that was discredited once the credit crunch began to bite. Notions of building not just a “Dubai” but an “Abu Dhabi” on either side of the River Mersey are surely fanciful.
And the architectural quality of what is being proposed is, to put it mildly, debatable. English Heritage, CABE and Civic Voice have been highly critical of what's being proposed.
For my part, I believe that Peel's plans for Liverpool Waters are mediocre and soulless.
Liverpool is proud of its heritage of outstanding architecture. With Liverpool Waters we shouldn't be afraid to insist on the highest standards of design and sustainability, even if our Council won't.
If, as expected, Peel's application is approved then I would urge you to call in the scheme and subject it to a public enquiry.
Prospective Independent Candidate
Liverpool Mayoral Election 2012
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