This gross and unsympathetic development for Liverpool’s historic North Docks will not now proceed and a new master plan for the whole area will be drawn up by Peel Holdings
My Liberal Democrat colleagues and I have welcomed a report being sent to next week’s Cabinet meeting (23rd February) which acknowledges that the development proposals from Peel Holdings which threatened the World Heritage Site status will not be built in that form and that a major review of the master plan will take place which will recognise the cultural heritage of the North Docks and develop the area in sympathy with its physical form and history.
We were encouraged last autumn when the Mayor of Liverpool executed a U-turn on his frequently expressed view that the World Heritage Status from UNESCO is just a “a plaque on the wall in the Town Hall.” We were particularly pleased because since 2013 when the Lib Dems opposed the outline planning application for the North Docks we have been attacked by Mayor Anderson for doing something which reduced the possibility of employment in the City.
Now Peel Holdings have also done a U- turn and admitted that the outline planning permission for Liverpool Waters will not be proceeded with and that a new master planning exercise will be undertaken which recognises the history of the area and its potential for using that physical past as the foundations for a strong future.
This is a last gasp attempt to save the World Heritage Status. UNESCO have given the UK Government until 28th February to respond to their report of last summer threatening to withdraw the Status.
However, the fight to save our heritage is not yet over. As the report acknowledges there are huge implications for the development of the Bramley Moore Dock as a stadium for EFC. I am sure that sympathetic designs and strategies can be introduced but I do know that such considerations cost money. It is not only the dock itself that will see a massive change but much of the land around it which will, at some stage, be developed for hotels, shops and residential purposes and the new roads, transport links and car parking that will also be required.
We hope that these U-turns are sincere and that UNESCO will allow the Council and Peel Holdings time to develop new and better proposals. In the meantime, we must watch the Bramley Moore proposals with eagle eyes and eagerly await the report from the Commission chaired by Sir David Henshaw which was established 6 months ago.
Common sense has, at last prevailed. Daft proposals, which common sense said could not be implemented, have now been dropped and a more pragmatic approach has been introduced which builds on our past. Liverpool will not become a strong city by slavishly looking and behaving like every other city. It will become a strong city by creating a Unique Selling Point which takes us away from the crowds of Cities seeking internal and external investment.
Liverpool is Liverpool and our 900+ listed buildings and our 48 conservation areas provide the backdrop for a magnificent future.
The relevant section is attached here:
LIVERPOOL MARITIME MERCANTILE CITY (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) Desired State of Conservation Report for the Removal of the Property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) and a set of Corrective Measures.
Planning consent for Liverpool Waters legally lasts until 2042. However, it should be emphasized that the masterplan, which illustrated the quantum of development for which approval has been granted, is not one of the ten parameter plans that, together with the development schedule, govern the consent. As such, it carries little weight in planning terms. More importantly, Peel Holdings (the property owner that proposes the Liverpool Waters Regeneration Project) has recently confirmed to Liverpool City Council that there is no likelihood of the scheme coming forward in this form. Instead, Peel Holdings is undertaking a comprehensive review of the scheme and drawing up new masterplans taking full account of heritage considerations including all recorded commentary by the World Heritage Committee.