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The one to watch: Mann Island

Well you can't watch the Three Graces any more....

Published on April 30th 2010.

The one to watch: Mann Island

Once upon a time, long before three ominous black blobs appeared at Liverpool's Mann Island, a planning brief for the site was adamant that the development should not interfere with the best views of the cherished Three Graces. Whoops.

BeforeBeforeSo, what's the problem?
Well, it turns out the views of ordinary people in Liverpool have not been taken into account.


And what's new about that, exactly?
These aren't any old views – we're talking about prized views of our “world-famous” Three Graces on our “world-famous” waterfront.

What about them?
They're not there any more, that's what. Instead, they have been obscured by the ever-expanding Neptune development work. And, it has emerged, the loss of two out of three “key views” of the famous Pier Head buildings was contrary to the demands of the original planning brief for Mann Island.

AfterAfterAh, but that brief was never set in stone; it didn't say 'you've got to keep the views', just, 'it might be nice if you could keep them, but we quite understand that people might prefer to look at some giant black blocks instead.
Right, so it wasn't an order, more an opinion? What you might call a, erm, view?

Indeed! It was somebody taking a view.
And then Neptune took our view?

Neptune? You mean the Roman god that rules the waves.
No, I mean the one that waives the . . .

Now, steady on, I've already explained that planning brief was a guide, not a set of rules. All above board. Besides, you can't stand in the way of progress, mate. And, let's face it, the stunning, jet-black blocks being constructed by Neptune at Mann Island are far more suited to a vibrant, 21st Century waterfront than a bunch of old relics which, frankly, are grubby, and all getting on a bit – if they were fridge freezers, we'd have scrapped them and got new ones long ago.
You're not suggesting we replace the Graces?

Great idea! Neptune's three new soon-to-be-”iconic” structures would be the ideal replacements. And, unlike the old ones, they won't show the dirt.

But how is all this going to play with the people who granted World Heritage Status to the waterfront?

Well and truly forkedWell and truly forkedWorld Heritage Status? Blimey, was that before or after they built the multi-storey car park at Princes Dock?
What do you think?

Stop whingeing, will you? Standing here in Birkenhead and looking at our fantastic waterfront, I'd say it was in great shape.
Oh, yeh, the same shape as Neptune's famous trident.

What shape's that, then?
Forked, mate. Well and truly forked.

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

silver tiaraApril 28th 2010.

OMG!! get them to knock it down immediatley! who the heck do they think they are!

gonzopicksApril 28th 2010.

the three disgraces. what pliable, ineffectual planners let the Mammonites trash the waterfront aesthetic? how were they induced to allow brutalist black Lego obscure one of Liverpool's finest views?

Sold down the riverApril 28th 2010.

This is about right too.

Brian Bomber BusbridgeApril 28th 2010.

What's up with you all? It looks much better the way it is.

Scouse KevApril 28th 2010.

Apologies in advance to all those who Do actually get of there backsides, and actually take a walk/wheel round the pier head! They would have noticed that we have lost 2/3 of a view from the South aspect looking north from the Albert dock/strand area! However we have gained at least 4 new view points (even more if you count the reflections, whether you agree or not it is a fact) and we are all entitled to our views!I love history and architecture as much as most people but if we think that we have the right to say, "I like this view so no one build anything that partly obscures it or i will get upset!" is silly! I don't know if those people have ever been to Hamburg, Barcelona, New York, Vancouver and other Port cities, if so that they will realise that it is what is needed for a healthy forward looking city to move on! those cities have new and old next to each other and it works because because they have accepted that a city cant survive as a museum! We still keep are historic buildings and even new views have been created by the living reflective surface of mann island. A lot more people will now actually walk around the pier head area due to the public spaces and new museum that would have without the development remained as a bus stop/toilet! They are built of Black granite not alloys and plastic so you cant say that its cheap! embrace our historic vibrant forward thinking city for your children instead of maybe in some cases grasp at unfounded nostalgia! You may not agree but at least we are relatively free!! No rain No rainbow, Kev.

Dr David BowmanApril 28th 2010.

It's beautiful.

scousekevApril 28th 2010.

Hola Miss/Mrs Wag, you as am i are right! 20% is black glass, and 80% is black granite! Im not the builder but wager a night out on the town on the granite!! As long as your other half is OK with that!!Spent 12 years in the marines, no bullshit 45 cdo and when i get back to liverpool am made up with how the city is going, save the blacked out smack head's cars! Ive even now learnt what compromise means!! :) Kev

Voss of reasonApril 28th 2010.

is this going to be knocked down then because it goes against the planning brief?

The UsualApril 28th 2010.

I'm all for mixing futuristic with classical but to hide the graces from the city is a joke. I suppose the libs will get in again regardless. More bike lanes and aluminium bars to lock them to. What about the the new salt receptacles at the bottom of the hills around Mossley Hill, talk about shutting the gate after the horse has bolted. Oh forgot election coming up !

Helen McGrathApril 28th 2010.

OH LORD I AM FUMING!!!!!!Why do we even bother having a council tell me that!

'Chopper' RaleighApril 28th 2010.

Some motorists think that cyclists are restricted to the thin "cycle lane" and get aggressive when they cycle properly on the carriageway.

PrincessprimroseApril 28th 2010.

info@neptunedevelopments.co.ukis this them!??

Leonard Oz OsborneApril 28th 2010.

I got paid up front Brian so I hope Neptune goes bust and the work has to stop so I can move onto to my next job.

Liverpool WagApril 28th 2010.

first, they aren't granite, they are black glass, like the windows of a drug dealer's car; second, nobody objects to old and new sitting alongside each other, of course cities have to evolve. The proposed Cloud, on that same site, would have been brilliant because it was so radical. So of course, our leaders bottled it. What we have now is cheap shoddy compromise. Bad architecture blocking out the view of good.

Phil McCrackenApril 28th 2010.

Another dreadful blunder by our hopeless planners. They fuss and delay over things that don't matter and then let howlers happen. It is ironic that the council with great self congratulatory pomp have pulled down the 1960's shops and Concourse House to unveil the hidden splendour that is Lime Street Station but are now obscuring the crown jewels in the city's architecture with this.One day our great grandchildren will have it pulled down and ask the question 'Why'?

PevsnerApril 28th 2010.

Liverpool City Council again

Cy ClystApril 28th 2010.

Bike lanes are rubbish and a waste of money. They are only advisory to remind motorists to consider cyclists, but the pink tarmac in the gutter just makes many drivers drive like selfish, inconsiderate chumps.

AnonymousApril 28th 2010.

The best way to deal with this problem would be to let them complete the building before making them knock the bloody thing down! Only when these people are having to foot the entire bill and get nothing back will they start to treat Liverpool with respect.Why should the people of Liverpool have to foot the mental cost of living with this ugly and soul destroying crap while the ones responsible for it slip off to check their Cayman Island bank accounts!

Carl BuncleApril 28th 2010.

"Our great grandchildren"? What makes you think these eyesores will last that long?

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