THE £5.5bn Liverpool Waters scheme would cause “significant damage” to the city’s World Heritage Site – according to a scathing new report.
Peel Holdings wants to regenerate the city’s northern docklands with a series of skyscrapers claiming it will create more than 25,000 jobs and 14,000 apartments in a £5.5bn development.
But Government advisers English Heritage commissioned an independent report into the project after revealing it had concerns about the scheme.
The Daily Post can exclusively reveal that report found the outstanding universal value of Liverpool’s World Heritage Site (WHS) would be compromised in a number of ways – and that the huge scheme breached a number of policies.
EH said it now wants further concessions from Peel including removing a cluster of skyscrapers from the central area around Clarence Dock – leaving only one group of tall buildings around Princes Dock in the development instead.
Regional head of EH Henry Owen-John said: “We believe that it is possible to come up with a creative and imaginative scheme of regeneration for the area without necessarily having these tall buildings (at Clarence Dock) that is still economically viable and diminishes the impact on the World Heritage Site.”
Peel said the report was flawed and has refused to agree to EH’s demands to remove any skyscrapers.
Lindsey Ashworth, director of investment for Peel Holdings, said: “It is not about making a profit. If you take the tall buildings out it is an opportunity that will be lost for 150 years. The opportunity is now. I think it is a shame that we cannot reach agreement. But we are right and they are completely wrong.”
The scheme is due to go before Liverpool council’s planning committee later this year.
And it now seems a matter of time before EH lodge an official objection to the scheme.
If English Heritage does lodge an objection and the city grants planning permission the scheme would automatically be referred to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles – dramatically increasing the chances of a lengthy and costly public inquiry.
The government has already confirmed the site will fall into one of its new enterprise zones that are eligible for tax concessions.
Mr Ashworth said he hoped because the government had identified its potential it would not be called in for a public inquiry.
Last July the Daily Post revealed how English Heritage had forced Peel to massively scale back their plans. There will now be no tall buildings on the line of the frontage of the Mersey.