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Pickles won't stand in way of Liverpool Waters

Jubilation all round as city is told: it's up to you to decide

Published on March 4th 2013.

Pickles won't stand in way of Liverpool Waters

ERIC Pickles has said the Government will stay out of the Liverpool Waters wrangle by not calling a public inquiry - effectively opening the doors for Peel Holdings' 30-year outline plan to go ahead.

The Communities Secretary said it was “content” to leave all decisions regarding the plans up to Liverpool City Council - which gave the £5.5bn scheme its blessing last year.

The announcement was hailed by the Isle of Man developer as “our Government wishing a Happy New Year to Peel and Liverpool”.  Mayor Joe Anderson said it was “fantastic news” for the city.

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And Peel hit back at the scheme's main detractors, UNESCO and English Heritage, saying: “Their studies and arguments have all collapsed and rightly so.”

The construction giant, which owns The Trafford Centre, Media City, the Port of Salford, John Lennon Airport and the Port of Liverpool, claims that Liverpool Waters will create 20,000 jobs, thousands of apartments, hotels, skyscrapers and a cruise terminal. Liverpool City Council has promised commercial tenants five years business rate relief and superfast broadband.

No starting date has, so far, been slated.

The proposals have been beset with controversy.

Last year, Peel threatened to walk away altogether if the Government called its plans in for public scrutiny.

UNESCO had said Liverpool's status as a World Heritage Site – which it shares with the likes of the Pyramids in Egypt and the Taj Mahal - would be under threat if the development, surrounding the city's Central Docks, went ahead. A visiting UNESCO team of inspectors subsequently put the city on its “at risk” register.

Liverpool Central DocksLiverpool Central Docks

Liverpool’s planning committee initially granted planning permission for the scheme in March 2012, with a number of conditions - including those relating to timescales, the heights of buildings and phasing of works.

The city council and Peel worked together to address these conditions, before officially submitting the plans to the Government in October.

Owing to the size and controversy surrounding the scheme, there was high expectation that it Pickles would call them in for a public inquiry, particularly when its own watchdog, English Heritage, chipped in.

In a scathing attack revealed by Liverpool Confidential, Henry Owen-John, English Heritage Planning and Conservation Director for the North West, claimed its own technical and legal advice had been ignored. It called the council's planning conditions “muddled, badly drafted and insufficiently precise”, adding that it doubted they were “legally sustainable”.

Nevertheless, today's letter from from the Department for Communities and Local Government stated: The secretary of state’s general approach is not to interfere with the jurisdiction of the local planning authority unless it is necessary to do so.”

PicklesPicklesIt went on: "Ministers have carefully considered all the relevant planning issues raise by the application and have concluded that they are content to leave the decision to the local planning authority who are best placed to determine the application."

Individual buildings will still have to go through the the planning process as and when the time comes, but today Peel's Development Director Lindsey Ashworth was buoyant:“This is a well-deserved reward and justice for all those who never gave up supporting this scheme. It’s our Government wishing a Happy New Year to Peel and Liverpool.”

AndersonAndersonHe added: “English Heritage together with the World Heritage Body UNESCO put up massive obstacles to prevent this development proposal getting permission. Their studies and arguments have all collapsed and rightly so as it’s simply not right to expect derelict parts of cities with such a rich history to stand still and be fossilised.

This consent will open up opportunities and new prospects to link our UK businesses with other international businesses such as Asia.

“All cities in the UK have to compete with each other and each has to compete with rival European cities. Liverpool is now well placed to be alongside the best of the best”.

Mayor Anderson added: “This is fantastic news for Liverpool. I’m absolutely delighted that the Secretary of State shares the confidence we have in our ability to deliver this vitally important regeneration scheme, while protecting our architectural heritage.

“Today’s announcement marks the start of a new era for Liverpool.

“Liverpool Waters will create thousands of jobs and opportunities for local people, as well as providing new housing and attracting new businesses and visitors.

Lindsey AshworthLindsey Ashworth“It’s a huge boost for our city and yet more evidence that despite the recession, regeneration is forging ahead here. We can now look forward to the plans moving forward on this once-in-a-lifetime scheme which will bring huge, lasting benefits to future generations in this city.

“It’s vital that Peel delivers these plans in a way which meets the conditions set out by the planning committee and we’ll be working closely with them to make sure this is achieved.”

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44 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

I'll believe it when I see it.March 4th 2013.

"Liverpool Waters will create thousands of jobs and opportunities for local people" - minimum wage security guards and caretakers for all the empty buildings.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AkhenatonMarch 5th 2013.

The only definite thing is that if it ever built, Liverpool Waters will generate mountains of taxpayers' cash for Peel.

Who pays to maintain their high-rise ghost town afterwards will almost certainly be the taxpayer. This is like one of those fantasy capital cities built by dictators in the middle of nowhere out of vanity which have to be propped up artificially because no-one willingly goes to them. Derelict within a generation or two.

Mickeydrippin'March 4th 2013.

Great news, now Liverpool can move ahead and have a waterfront equal to New York, Shanghai etc. What does the heritage lobby think will happen to the Liver and Cunard Buildings etc if UNESCO withdraws the World Heritage Site title? Will the Council then arrange to demolish them and replace them with ugly skyscrapers? Of course not, the Pier Head will remain exactly the same and residents and visitors alike will continue to marvel at the magnificence of the Three Graces. Therefore, am waiting for Wayne Colquohoun and all the regular anti-Peel contributors to this forum to reply and sound off against this scheme but it will get them nowhere.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 4th 2013.

Hallelujah! Don't worry, all the teeth sucking stuck in the past grumps will be along soon.
UNESCO brought no-one and nothing to the city, but investment in top class commercial buildings, hotels and leisure facilities DID.
Some of the people on here would love to cling to all the junk architecture from the 50's and the wastelands that were everywhere until a few years ago. Time to move on

AnonymousMarch 4th 2013.

Why do you confuse a healthy dose of scepticism and objective criticism with being anti-progress? I want the best for this city, but I am not convinced that people like Peel do.

I'll believe it when I see it.March 5th 2013.

"now Liverpool can move ahead and have a waterfront equal to New York, Shanghai etc."

What rubbish! There's a lot more to New York and Shanghai than a skyline. Their big buildings were demanded by their great wealth and booming economies.

They weren't just built empty and attracted money to the area! You are putting the cart before the horse!

AnonymousMarch 6th 2013.

Actualy lots of buildings are built by entrapenurial developers who have vision and anticipate the need. Rest assured that Peel are not stupid and wont build a thing unless they can rent it and make money on it.

Conversly though if empty offices are put up then they will push down rents across the city - making it cheaper to start a business here, or cheeper to re-locate a business here.

Investment is a good thing!

Penny LaneMarch 7th 2013.

No they build it, collect a lot of British and E.U. taxpayers money for 'regenerating' the area and leave before bits start falling off, just like the black coffins and other recent neo-brutalist erections.

AnonymousMarch 5th 2013.

Pickles and Anderson are evidently the same person, glasses being the difference. Would love to watch them both fight to the death after not having eaten for three days. Imagine the ferocity as these two portly, starving gladiators go for the eyes. The stakes being thrown down in the bookies for that bout alone would cover the cost of this project. Factor in TV rights, merch, ticketing, worldwide interest...BAM! Easy money. Make ME mayor and my first act will be to arrange it.

AnonymousMarch 5th 2013.

What a rather silly comment from Peel when they hit back at the scheme's main detractors, UNESCO and English Heritage, saying: “Their studies and arguments have all collapsed and rightly so.” No, Peel, you are wrong, so stop being smart-arsy. All Wilfred Pickles has said is he won't call a public inquiry on the outline plan. Wait till you start submitting individual planning applications. Of course if Mayor Joe sticks around for another decade or so he'll support the plans. But English Heritage and Unesco and maybe the Department of Culture will have things to say. It ain't over till the tall building sings.

Duke StreetMarch 5th 2013.

Peel should built a huge, beautiful, elaborate and stupendously expensive palace instead of these dreary tower blocks.
Then some rich king or emperor would move in and give us 20,000 jobs.

Judith PattersonMarch 6th 2013.

Why cant you just leave Liverpool alone and let it be unique in every way.

10 Responses: Reply To This...
Paul WardMarch 6th 2013.

Because there are rich pickings to be had for a few and because a city leader with too much power is lying on his back getting his tummy tickled by businessmen who probably laugh at him in private.

John BradleyMarch 6th 2013.

but you not offering an alternative or any money to fund one. What you cannot stand is change no matter what the plan you would object.

PeelogradMarch 7th 2013.

A development for advanced manufacturing would be a better idea. The site is adjacent to a huge container port and indeed the Super Port, so profitable export enterprises could thrive.

Office buildings are so last-century!

Charlotte StreetMarch 7th 2013.

That would at least provide proper, full-time, well-paid skilled jobs rather than a lot of worthless part-time Mcjobs in services and shit-shovelling as promised by the current Liverpool Waters scheme.

John BradleyMarch 7th 2013.

and who and what are they going to Manufacture?

peelogradMarch 7th 2013.

What do you fancy? It will have to be high quality goods in demand for export, i.e., not John Lennon dolls or tins of scouse as you might suggest.

Scientific instruments, drugs, specialised electronics, new technology, even luxury cars - whatever is in demand around the world. Where is your entrepreneurial spirit?
Did you know that the huge two-metre Liverpool Telescope in the Canary Islands was built by a company in Birkenhead docks and it sold a few others around the world? Or that Liverpool is already a big centre for pharmaceutical manufacture? Or that Jaguar Land Rover is exporting all over the world despite the recession?

Liverpool has many assets including areas of expertise that could contribute to profitable enterprises exporting high-quality manufactures to discerning customers around the world.

It does Germany no harm.

John BradleyMarch 8th 2013.

It has done Germany no harm whatsoevere but that has been built up over many years. No German city would put it production facilities on the river sites are have great views which tall buildings make the most off. Anything other then the lightest manufacturing is not suited to tall buildings. I was on Atlantic Business Park the other day, which is also Peel and they seem to be going in that direction. Then there is Wavertree Technology Park, Stonebridge Park plus any number of other places. Plus The Science park. What we really need is a tram system to link them all together.

John BradleyMarch 8th 2013.

On the subject of Germany. www.spacedaily.com/…/strial_revolution_999.html…

peelogradMarch 9th 2013.

That's more like it!

But we don't need tall buildings. They only make sense when land values are astronomically high as in Manhattan or Shanghai. High-rise buildings cost a lot to run just keeping them heated and ventilated. They are not only environmentally unsustainable, they are economically unsustainable.

John BradleyMarch 9th 2013.

In terms of environmentally friendliness High Rises are ace, they use very little ground and are material efficient. So you have got plenty of other parks to do something on, but lets face it you will not be having making meaningful contribution to making these things happen on the Tech Park or other business parks. You obsession is to stop Liverpool Waters not to make anything else happen.

Paul WardMarch 6th 2013.

“Their studies and arguments have all collapsed and rightly so.”

No they haven't, they've been ignored or glossed over.

AnonymousMarch 6th 2013.

There is an attitude in this city that you are either with the council or against them. No room for an intelligent debate, just (mostly) arselicking media and bloggers. People will say everyone on here is a naysayer, but it is a godsend. This and the North West Tonight are the only two media who have remotely suggested that Pickles has not approved the scheme, but merely said "Yeah, whatever"!

3 Responses: Reply To This...
John BradleyMarch 6th 2013.

Some people thing that everything that happens in the city is down to the council. What people mean by the council is also unclear. I'll happily argue on the subject but you are right most will not. The problem with the people criticising is they do not present any practicable alternative. They will never be satisfied with any plan.
You often here the refrain that "if it was decent modern architecture we would be happy but this is just cheap", in the end they would be appalled by some decent modern architecture they are just change phobic, scared to make a decision. You have to take opportunities when they arise if you wait for mister perfect you die a virgin spinster.

AnonymousMarch 6th 2013.

How are all the cats John?

John BradleyMarch 6th 2013.

they have gone home to their mother.

Mickeydrippin'March 6th 2013.

There seems to be a intense dislike of Peel Holdings by certain people in these columns but nobody has yet satisfactory explained why?

Charlotte StreetMarch 7th 2013.

Their poor record.

Peel Holdings charms simple, provincial politicians into selling them land cheap with promises of tens of thousands of jobs. The politicians give Peel planning permission to develop what they like. Even to the point of losing World Heritage Site status.

Then Peel just sits on its hands for years, doing nothing while the property they own crumbles to dust. Apart from the occasional small-scale PR stunt, like restoring a bridge or an old shed.

Also being a Manx company they probably pay little tax.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
John BradleyMarch 7th 2013.

Name a scheme which has gone through quicker somewhere else. Do you expect them to invest in final designs with no guarantee that they will get permission? They will have invested the minimum money to get to this stage because it could all fall down. That means that now final design and engineering can start. Which will take several years. During which time the only thing you will see are surveys.

Mickeydrippin'March 7th 2013.

@Charlotte Street. I think the only Manx connection is through the chairman John Whittaker, who was born in Bury but now lives on the Isle of Man. Peel Holdings' headquarters is at The Trafford Centre.

AnonymousMarch 7th 2013.

You know a lot about Peel Holdings all of a sudden.

John BradleyMarch 8th 2013.

Shock Horror man not completely reliant on bigotry. Perhaps he had a look at the Web Site. http://www.peel.co.uk/aboutus/history-and-vision

Mickeydrippin'March 8th 2013.

Thanks John, I was going to say that.

Shock Horror ManMarch 8th 2013.

Do you know who I am?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
John BradleyMarch 8th 2013.

That takes me back the last person to say that to me or more accurately scream it multiple times into my face was a bloke on coke at a party.

Mickeydrippin'March 8th 2013.

Shock Horror Man. If you don't know who you are, you had better see your doctor.

Judith PattersonMarch 9th 2013.

Hey Anonymous, why can tou say your real name like the rest of us including mickeydrippin, who are you.People from Liverpool should have more of a say, they know whats best for Liverpool.They dont want skysrapers, go to New york.Its going to make life tough for getting from John lennon airport like some one said.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 9th 2013.

Let this post serve as a warning of the perils of sleep deprivation and going on the internet when you have nothing to say. Be aware people!

AnonymousMarch 9th 2013.

Well I look forward to Judith's comments and welcome her to the LivConf rants. She is unique - like Liverpool and John Lennon Airport. No other city has a John lennon Airport so why can't you leave it alone and go to Manchester. And to the sarcastic Anonymous above, I will thank you to stop using my name.

John BradleyMarch 9th 2013.

Who the hell is Judith Patterson? Who elected you to speak for the people of Liverpool, do you even come from Liverpool?

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