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The Laz Word - on the North Docks, Peel and the big city vote

Larry Neild is in the Town Hall as council says 'I do'

Written by . Published on March 6th 2012.

The Laz Word - on the North Docks, Peel and the big city vote

THEY applauded and there was a round of high fives as Liverpool City Council's Planning Committee gave a unanimous thumbs up to Peel's ambitious £5.5bn plans for Liverpool Waters. 

A group of Chinese business people listened to the debate at Liverpool Town Hall as details of the scheme unfolded today (Tuesday). 

Each supporter of the plan was warmly applauded by the visitors. 

Wayne ColquounWayne ColquounPeel's number one critic, heritage campaigner Wayne Colquhoun, threw in his twopennethworth, and one of the Chinese contingent even applauded him, until he realised he was clapping the “enemy”, or maybe somebody gave him a gentle dig to restrain his politeness. 

“How many objectors are listed to speak?” somebody asked, generating the response from a committee clerk – “four or five.”

One Town Hall regular quipped: “They've had more objectors than they'd get for a house extension.” 

Yet here, before some Liverpudlian city councillors, was Britain's biggest planning application of the century, and one that could lead to the first ever British World Heritage Site being chucked off the list. 

Still, Lindsey Ashworth, Peel's development director, set out his stall, aided by a slick Powerpoint presentation. Over 14 million square feet – that is Liverpool One 14 times over – over 16,000 jobs, thousands of new homes. Years in the making from start to this day, with millions already spent on preparing the scheme.

Although Ashworth spoke for around 45 minutes, it was unthinkable that the planning committee would turn its nose up on such a massive regeneration scheme. 

Which council would, and certainly not one nursing some of the UK's most deprived communities? 

Lindsey Ashworth - But Not TodayLindsey Ashworth He repeated his mantra: a thumbs down, or a public inquiry, would mean Peel walking away - leaving the 150-acre site derelict. 

If anybody had any dreamy idea of using the docks for shipping – forget it, more or less indicating those days died with the death of the Onedin Line.

Yet Peel's development would trigger a renaissance, he said – where Peel develop others follow, often piggy-backing on its enterprise. 

Then came the unmentionable - World Heritage Status. Every listed element is being saved, Ashworth said. No docks are being filled in. In any case, the badge of Liverpool is greater than the WHS badge (try selling that one to Unesco). 

He went on: Peel has made compromise after compromise in response to English Heritage, who hadn't made a single one.. they don't like tall buildings, he said. 

He introduced Chinese businesswoman Stella Shiu, who brought the Far Eastern delegation to Liverpool to witness this political spectacle. Chinese people are eager to invest their Hong Kong dollars and Chinese RMB in Liverpool.

Wayne Colquhoun, of the one-man Liverpool Preservation Trust, was joined by culture-battler Florence Gersten. Both warned Liverpool would lose its status as a World Heritage Site if the proposals proceeded. 

Joe AndersonJoe AndersonLosing the title would create terrible worldwide publicity for Liverpool she warned. 

“In sixty years, since the end of the War we have seen many mistakes made in Liverpool and many of those mistakes are now regretted,” she said, wondering whether we are about to add to that list. 

Colquhoun said WHS was a badge of honour, but Peel is not interested in it, as planning permission for Liverpool Waters would double the value of its dockland site. 

Fearing the worst, he pointed out Peel's developments around Media City in Salford had won one architectural award …. Carbuncle of the Year. 

He urged the committee to respond to Peel's threats by calling their bluff while both critics insisted they wanted the dockland developed, but not with these plans. 

Planning Officer Peter Jones, responding to the fears over WHS, said the planning team were confident the scheme did not conflict with the special planning guidelines set for the WHS. 

That, though, remains to be seen. The plans have to be referred to the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, owing to the size of the development and because of objections from English Heritage. 

Pickles will, later this year, decided whether to call in the plans, possibly for a public inquiry. 

Liverpool WatersThe Peel planThe problem for Peel and Liverpool City Council is that Unesco gifted the title of World Heritage Site via a state party - ie the UK Government. If the Government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport is sucked into the debate, it could spell trouble. 

Correspondence is already flying between the CMS's head of world heritage, Paul Blaker, and Kishore Rao, Unesco's World Heritage Centre director, based in Paris. Blaker is already noting the UK Government's serious concerns about Liverpool Waters. 

At the end of the day, Liverpool will have to decide whether its regeneration and its future prospects are more important than world heritage status. If Unesco gives Liverpool the boot we would become the first World Heritage Site in the UK to be de-listed, and only the second in Europe. 

To make matters worse, if Liverpool lost its accolade, it remains categorised by the word “De-list” for all to see. Placed forever on the cultural naughty step. 

See more of Lindsey Ashworth and Peel on the city council's Liverpool Brand site 

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

AnonymousMarch 7th 2012.

Why does Liverpool always get itself embroiled in so much controversy. It's as though it wouldn't be us unless there's a fight involved. All of this fighting talk from Peel, from the council. Birmingham has the Bul Ring, maybe Liverpool's centreopiece should be a Boxing ring. Will be interesting to see what the cultural big wigs think of all this,

Prof ChucklebuttyMarch 7th 2012.

All those getting excited about this and thinking we are about to suddenly create a new wonderland should listen to Lindsay Ashworth's comments when asked about when the first spade will hit the ground. He say's something may start in the summer, but when is the recession going to end, I am not building anything in a recession and I'm not building anything we cannot fill. So nothing happening anytime soon and still no idea who they are building all of these offices and flats for. This adds to the argument that getting planning permission through is as much about greatly increasing the value of their land bank rather than any proposals to start early regeneration. Well on the good side, maybe the fact that the recession showing no sign of ending soon, will allow for some review of the dire model currently proposed. I want to see this area developed and thriving and creating jobs but there is no sustainability or hard evidence or even the most basic research about exactly how they will achieve this, what the demand is from business or tennant who would wish to move or set up there. What there is, is a depseration for development and regeneration. Unfortunately these have become nothing more than buzz words in this case as all we really have is an animated graphic with lovely tree lined waterways surrounded by mediocre uninspired glass boxes and the inevitable phallic enticement of pie in the skyscrapers.

I don't fully buy the argument that the development will destroy the environment that is part of WHS. The whole area is currently derelict and the proposed cartoon seems to be not as encroaching towards the main water front as I thought it would be. Besides, that has already been wrecked by the misplaced x museum and the disgraceful cackhanded deal that allowed the despised black granite monstrosities to be built on Man Island.

My main objection is partly in line with the view of the Liverpool Preservation Trust. That there is no sympathetic development within these proposals, as with the Amsterdam model but also where is the wow factor in utilitarian glass and concrete boxes? Why should we settle for such mediocre building design? Where are our Gherkin, where is our exciting eyecatching buildings like those you would get in London or other major cities? This would have been the ideal place for the x museum, in landscaped grounds, not crammed into the Pier head looking totally out of place.

If they are not going to build anything sympathetic to the history of the docks then at least give us something a little more imaginative. I would even suggest that Peel give Will Alsop a ring. His cloud was wrong for the Pier Head but could sit comfortably as a central piece rather than some boring skyscraper that has no other quality about it other than it's height. Yes that's how excited I am about what is in the Peel cartoon. I would even have the Cloud back.

Come on you can do better than this, even if none of it will ever be built, at least give us some thing to look forward to while you sort out exactly what and who you are doing this for.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Prof ChucklebuttyMarch 7th 2012.

Unfortunately I am unable to re-type parts the above in English. But you get the gist.

Fantasy IslandMarch 7th 2012.

Boss, boss....the plan, the plan is coming.

Olly GhostMarch 7th 2012.

The Cloud was perfect for the Pier Head. Unfortunately the Daily Ghost whipped up a controversy when there was none and the silly city got scared.

Prof ChucklebuttyMarch 7th 2012.

Well in comparison to the black coffins that went up instead, I would have preferred The Cloud. Remember also a few years ago, there was a proposal to build the world's biggest aquarium in the docklands on a scale similar to the Eden project. Arch numbskull Sir Diddy Henshaw threw it out and suggested other places they should try in different cities. That would have been fantastic, an international attraction, a base for other surrounding developments and tourism a centre for study and marine biologists, who might actually need housing in the area and in keeping with the maritime link. There is simply no imagination and no coherent strategy. One wonders how many Tesco stores they can fit into the site.

Olly GhostMarch 7th 2012.

I can't imagine this will ever happen

Ellie Hall shared this on Facebook on March 7th 2012.
Prof ChucklebuttyMarch 7th 2012.

And here's my laz word for now, the nurse comes in if I post too many rants. But here is a challenge to Peel. Give us one business demographic and one population demographic about what companies or people are likely to occupy just one skyscraper and one housing block.

Give us an idea of what service areas they will be in, why they would relocate and what happens to their previous premises if they are somehwere else in the city, or will they be from outside or a new business?

What actual research have you carried out to see what the likely interest is given that you state you will build nothing you cannot fill?

What will be the average market price for the flats and housing, who are the target occupants, what social demographic group?

Will there be any low cost housing or social housing to replace existing worn out stock? Has any work been carried out with local RSLs to see if they would sign up for new build?

If this is about regeneration, is there no land set aside for industrial purposes, such as a car manufacturing plant for example? That could be of interest to any number industrial organisations or does the creation of real jobs and business opportunities not fit in with ideas of gentrification?

Manufacture is the key to sustainable development to improve the prospects of local people. Production and manufacture from which other services spring up and gravitate towards.

These are the organisations you should be seeking out to develop and regenerate the area not relying upon people who are attracted by trees and a few boats bobbing up and down in a pretty enclosure.

And finally, Cyril, look at China, who are the main investors you speak about. They have more money than sense in some cases. Look at how many lunatic schemes they have built in China, virtually whole cities standing empty and derelict because all they really had was a plan and a video to build. They are left with ultra modern ghost towns approximate to the size of Liverpool city centre.

Or closer to home, nip across the Irish sea and see what build and be dammned did there. Whole executive housing estates with hundreds of modern homes occupied by two families with no shops, no services and no future.

And this is why despite desperately wanting to see the area brough to life, i think you are kidding us, Peel, helped by the local mouthpiece Echo who simply reprint your spin form their business premises, no longer near the North Docks but up in Oldham. So much for their support.

Kabo TamMarch 8th 2012.

I base in Liverpool, when I read the delegation brought by Chinese Lady Stella Shiu, when I google her, I found that she was bankrupt in 2008. The following is the link. Peel holding told the media that Stella Shiu will sponsor over £200 million for the construction. How?
The media also reported that she is the chairman of the multi-billiondollars company, I found that her company is only 3 million HK dollars capital, I think it is totally telling lies. She also claimed that she is the senior government official, when I checked with the Chinese government embasy office in UK, there is no Stella Shiu name. For such a huge project, why Peel holding has not done any checking before annoucing the totally wrong information. Lindsy Asworth totally telling lies to the public.

Kabo TamMarch 8th 2012.

Stella Shiu bankrupt info link: legalref.judiciary.gov.hk/…/search_result_detail_fra…

AnonymousMarch 8th 2012.

Looks like your link has been removed Kabo, but thanks for the info!

Kabo TamMarch 8th 2012.

pls browser http://legalref.judiciary.gov.hk/, type "HBC 4234/2008" in "Quick Search for Case Number: " column and click "GO", then you can see the case details.

Kabo TamMarch 8th 2012.

Sorry, type "HCB 4324/2008" is correct.

Paul WardMarch 9th 2012.

So Anderson and his lightweights have kowtowed to the forces of darkness - not too much of a surprise but still another nail being readied to bang in the coffin of what could have been a beautiful city. I'm sure the proponents of St John's Precinct assured Sixties objectors that it would revitalise the city - now it's the country's largest site for old people to shop.

Mind you, at least it sells things. Looking at the traffic through Liverpool 1 and the paucity of purchase (more Primark and M&S than L1 shop carrier bags) I do wonder if the window shoppers of tomorrow will be able to cram in Peel's pustulence. At least they won't be falling over students and admirers of great architecture.

As noted above, this sort of development has been inflicted on other cities and done little but pad out estate agents' caseloads. Yes, attract money and development, but don't do it by lubing up and admiring the size of Peel's willy.

One other thing to think about, for those who recall the conditions placed on Mann Island and subsequently ignored without penalty by the developers (bravo, councillors). It's a long road from a pretty model to a huge development - and changes will occur for many reasons - do we have any confidence that these changes will be managed in any sort of way that isn't detrimental to our city? No. I fear that the best we can hope for is that the ragtag of anonymous Chinese investors behind this scheme lose their nerve or their liberty and we're left with the world's biggest building site.

Lapsang SouchongMarch 9th 2012.

Hear hear Paul. If we are being nice we can say they are naive?

Reader XxxMarch 9th 2012.

Peel are going to ruin us, I heard we are now being called Liverpeel. Anderson must fancy this Lyndsey one, he has well got his lube out ready for Peel

SaladDazeMarch 9th 2012.

I bet they've never read The Rescue Man www.thisislondon.co.uk/…/ony-quinn-6867362.html…

SaladDazeMarch 9th 2012.

Blimey! Some bugger's photo has appeared next to old Salad's moniker.

Sex Up A PeelMarch 9th 2012.

After reading the comments above from Kabo Tam, they are correct that Stella Shiu was made bankrupt by the Hong Kong courts in 2008 as a result of bad debts. The proceedings in her absence, having failed to present in court. Now clearly it's a good few years to have gone from bankrupt to become chair of this major multi billion pound company, although I cannot find her listed in the company. There is an overseas investor named Michael Chung, I think, based in Birmingham but I haven't seen any mention, nor can I find any link to the government, as claimed in a our local media and by Peel.

The company is listed in various reports as Sam Wa and Sam Na investments. All I can find in the company records is mineral rights and export contracts. I can find no example of anything to do with regeneration or development similar to the Liverpool Waters and Wirral Waters schemes.

If we are to have confidence in what Peel say, which is all repeated verbatum in the Post and Echo, it would be nice to be given some further details about exactly who the investors are and clarify Ms Shiu's position. And it would be good to know exactly what her high rank position is in the Chinese government.

I am sure Ms Shiu is exactly who Peel say she is but like the comment above, they claimed that they contacted the Chinese Embassy in London and they could not confirm any connection with the Chinese Government, high rank or otherwise and I cannot find any link or evidence of these connections.

I only ask as I have a group of Texan Oil Billionaires who want to invest $50 Trillion in the scheme and they all have stetsons and say howdy, as proof of their credentials.

Paul WardMarch 9th 2012.

Texans, eh. If they're named Tom or George they're probably already involved.

Ken ChanMarch 18th 2012.

kabo tam,have u got nothing better to do?
i bet u any money if u google my name KEN CHAN, maybe u can see 100's or 1000's pop up?peoples trying to impove our city,i doesn't really care it's that the same person or not,anyone who comes and invest in the uk are more then welcome!

1 Response: Reply To This...
Mafia Investment CorpsMarch 19th 2012.

Yeah you tell 'im.
We is willing to make a thoity billion investment on da waterfront. Of course der may be a few overheads or even a few horse's heads.

Oh catch on Ken Chan.
Peel still silent.

Kabo TamMarch 19th 2012.

I only tell the truth, what wrong with it?? and I have confidence that she is the same person.

AnonymousMarch 19th 2012.

That's good enough for us then

Prof Chucklebutts Gardening CorrespondentMarch 20th 2012.

For anyone who thinks the PR puff is not worth a carrot and who is doubting Peels confidence their joint venture partners and Stella Shiu. Let me assure you that according to one of their other recent big investment interests, as this Daily mail article demonstrates she certainly knows her onions.


Christos AntoniMarch 21st 2012.


AnonymousMarch 22nd 2012.

I didn't realise Joe Anderson had a Greek uncle

Lars MemarblesMarch 22nd 2012.

Christos is quite right. It's the same with the Museums. Wasting money on keeping a load of old stuff. Flog it all, shut them down and demolish the lot. That land on William Brown Street is worth a fortune, same with St George's Hall. Nobody knows what to do with it and yet we keep paying out good money to preserve it. So what if it's got a fancy tiled floor, so has my bathroom. I don't expect the public to pay for the bleach. Knock them all down, sell the land and buy chips for everyone..

William Brown StreetMarch 22nd 2012.


R. A. MateMarch 24th 2012.

Hear hear!

Follow "Lord" Storey's example - he got rid of the boring old music library in William Brown Street, said to be the best in the country outside London. All those rare and expensive books and sheet music were virtually given away to the dealers who swooped in from across the world!

We don't want any of that there culcher in OUR city!!!!!

Kris P. Kreme, Kulturkampf SupremoMarch 24th 2012.

All in Liverpool, European Capital of Culture 2008 too!

Still Storey kept all the footie and Beatles stuff which is all this city is worth, according to all these incomers.

AnonymousMarch 27th 2012.

Peel an onion and see what layer lies underneath. Wonder whether any media organisation will tell the real Stella Shui story. Like onion peeling, one can only hope this little enterprise doesn't end in tears. This is one for a proper paper, not the Trafford Centre Echo or the Liverpool Weekly Peel.

AnonymousMarch 27th 2012.

Hmm... some most interesting comments and information in recent posts. Makes you wonder whether somebody should be for the chop chop.

AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

Liverpeel!! well we may as well change the name dont ya think. Wake up people of Liverpool Joe Anderson is having you off....BIG TIME!

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