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Thread: Ed Vulliamy: How dare they do this to my Liverpool | Comment is free | The Observer

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    Unhappy Ed Vulliamy: How dare they do this to my Liverpool | Comment is free | The Observer

    How dare they do this to my Liverpool
    The threat to some of the city's most beautiful buildings is typical of our disregard for history


    Ed Vulliamy
    The Observer, Sunday 22 March 2009

    Back in Liverpool last Saturday night - after quite a game at Old Trafford (Man Utd 1, Liverpool 4) - I decided to take a walk around some of the buildings precious to years living on Merseyside. I thought it might be tough, having seen the "regeneration" of Liverpool 1, the once Victorian city centre, into a construction site and shopping centre.

    It was a shock to find my favourite greasy spoon and a fine second-hand bookshop clinging to Lime Street station demolished to make way for the sanitised "Gateway", while the glorious view along the tracks under the great arch of Victorian iron is about to be wrecked by a protruding, big, bent-finger thing. But one can retreat from this folly to various places - including Hope Street.


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    "Hope Street is," says Hilary Burrage who chairs the Hope Street Association, "either the Left Bank or the Acropolis, depending on how we feel - bohemia, but with more institutions of learning, culture and medicine than any street in Europe." Until now.

    How to describe a lifetime of memories on Hope Street, one of Europe's great boulevards connecting the eccentrically massive gothic Anglican cathedral with the 1960s Catholic one? Hope Street was an elegant bridge preceding and spanning the century it took to build the former edifice and the five years it took to build the modern cathedral. There were nights in a dive called Casablanca, adapted to become the "Casa", fixed up and managed by sacked dockers after the strike of 1995-8.

    There were Liverpool Philharmonic nights with Charles Groves and at the Everyman Theatre with its famous bistro. The monumental Philharmonic Rooms have the most ornate marble urinals in Europe and down an alley called Rice Street, you'll find Ye Cracke, one of the best little pubs in the world.

    But the main thing was the street itself, rich with history, but edgy, funny and fun, tatty and splendid, to which tourists flock, not least to see the finest of its great buildings between the cathedrals: Liverpool College of Art, constructed between 1892 and 1910, where my mother (Shirley Hughes, the doyenne of children's book illustration) learnt her craft and John Lennon studied. I loved seeing students on the steps, chatting with a fag between painty fingers. My mother remembers especially the singular, diffuse light in the life-drawing room.

    So I went to pay my usual homage. The art college was empty. Through the windows of so much past diligence, exuberance and colour, just a deep, hollow nothing. "Acquired by the Maghull Group," said the board on the railing. "Invest. Develop. Construct."

    I had been to Turin the previous weekend. There is history between these cities, after the death of 39 Italian fans before the European Cup Final between Liverpool and Juventus at Heysel stadium in 1985. I was at Heysel and love both great teams as deeply as I do the cities they come from.

    Yet how differently each city's history is regarded by those holding purse and power. To say that visiting Turin is like going back to 1910 is to appreciate that the city has not lost its strength of aesthetic identity to postmodern mediocrity. Venerable buildings retain their usage, renovated when necessary, so that the centre is robustly fin-de-si?cle and the peeling but lovely arcades and apartments around Piazza dell'Indipendenza are being restored for affordable housing. The Verdi music conservatory looks like the day it opened in 1866.

    Unlike the shell of Liverpool art college, listed Grade II by English Heritage. It has been sold in a package of four buildings by their owner, John Moores University, to the Maghull Group. Maghull's proposal reads: "The former art college, attended by John Lennon, will be converted into a 48-bed, 5-star boutique hotel. Alternative proposals for the building are for a high-quality residential refurbishment to provide 19 two- and three-bedroom apartments." Similar plans are posted for the also listed Hahnemann Building.

    Maghull's "Hope Street Portfolio" has been mired in controversy because the Josephine Butler building is to be demolished to create underground parking plus overground retail and office space and luxury residential apartments. Maghull sparked outrage by hacking off the building's stone facade.

    The sum Maghull paid John Moores is secret. Vice-chancellor Professor Michael Brown has referred to "the hysteria that has been generated" over Maghull's plan. But the most hysterical outburst came from Michael Hanlon, Maghull's founding director, after he received an email from Philip Coppell, a Beatles tour guide, which read: "Please leave Liverpool alone, as you are only in it for the money and I hope that the present credit crunch bankrupts your company and this obscene development never sees the light of day." Mr Hanlon recalled meeting "a whole raft of local consultation groups, many of which consist of time-wasting w*nkers like you who seem to think they are experts in heritage ... if you don't like our proposals then that's hard lines for you so why don't you f*ck off".

    Mr Hanlon does not specify who the other time-wasters were, but one may have been councillor Steve Mumby who said: "Sometimes it is better to do nothing than to mess these places up for ever." Or he could have been thinking of Save Our City, whose director, Florence Gerston, says: "Liverpool is losing its soul, its architecture systematically eroded by people with no sense of history."

    With the recession, the development is now on hold. The university says it is leasing the art college back. A conversation with Mr Hanlon reveals that John Moores is also renting back two more buildings it owned, so that John Moores will pay Maghull for three buildings it sold them. Mr Hanlon resents his company being "a political football" over Hope Street and has a fair point.

    For this is not about Maghull: Hope Street is an allegory for Liverpool. And Liverpool is an allegory for Britain. There is something singularly British about the attitude of local authorities and the developers they favour to our once-great industrial cities. The hopelessness on Hope Street signifies a relinquishing of a civic sense of history and long-term future in pursuit of what Mumby calls "the quick buck now".

    Source: The Observer

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    Keeping It Real !!!!!!!!! ItsaZappathing's Avatar
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    At last, someone who can see the destruction/vandalism and someone who talks sense

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    As Howie will know, there is a decent debate on another forum regarding this article. Whilst it's abhorrent what Maghull developments have done to some of the addresses they've taken over, some of the blame lies with the vendors who sell out to them at what's best for them.

    As for losing architecture and citing Liverpool 1. No worthy architecture was lost there unless you include a multi storey car park and bland looking bus station and in fact many run down facades and buildings were brought back into good use by Grosvenor as we know, not least Hanover Street, the old Eagle - Paradise Street and some School Lane buildings.

    The guy writing it also did what the Beatles are (in their case wrongfully) accused of doing - Got off to london to line his own pockets when 'my' Liverpool didn't mean too much to him then.
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    Senior Member Howie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    Whilst it's abhorrent what Maghull developments have done to some of the addresses they've taken over, some of the blame lies with the vendors who sell out to them at what's best for them.
    As an employee of LJMU I think I'll leave it to others to comment on that.

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    While not condoning maghull developments,( that in itself seems a contradiction in terms,you should see how they've left Crosby village,indefinitely!)) who the bloody 'ell is mr.Vulliamy? Errr, sorry Wack,you can stick your greasy spoon, and take it home with you,wherever that might be! The new frontage of Lime street station will now look the way it was meant to be,fantastic, though I miss the "ordinary to Chelsea" graffiti, that was scrawled in the dirty white tiles,for 20 yrs,or more!( So some cockney footie fans must have been slightly jealous,at the time )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    As for losing architecture and citing Liverpool 1. No worthy architecture was lost there unless you include a multi storey car park and bland looking bus station and in fact many run down facades and buildings were brought back into good use by Grosvenor as we know, not least Hanover Street, the old Eagle - Paradise Street and some School Lane buildings.
    Liverpool 1 is a great disappointment. It is just another forgetful shopping mall.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways View Post
    Liverpool 1 is a great disappointment. It is just another forgetful shopping mall.
    Liverpool 1 is a joke. That was the answer to the cities fine historic buildings being overshadowed

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    A shopping mall is what it's designed to be though, the old Customs house has gone now, maybe a mock frontage of it could have been created and a better viewing platform into the old dock they saved but apart from that, all most women want is to shop in another forgetful looking shopping mall but some delapidated buildings which otherwise might have went the way of previous ones were saved and brought back into use. I've read it's actually in line for an award, it's certainly rejuvenated South John Street/South Castle Street which after being destroyed by the planners in the 60s/70s was left to rot as a nonentity.
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    Got to agree Ged,
    there was little worth saving on the Liverpool 1 site, it had already been demolished in the 60's,and was just an unvisited wasteground, bar for the "Dolphin", and the benefits office,oh, and the seaman's dispensary I think L1's quite good,the way they've kept some of the older buildings,and it's really opened up that part of the city centre!

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    The site was the original Old Dock, the world's first enclosed dock. It is historic. It is still there - have look down the glass tile on the pavement.

    The Old Dock should have been partially excavated and the shopping centre built around the dock, complete with boats and the dock gate to Canning Dock re-instated. What an attraction for a shopping area!!! It would be an amazing success and giving a historical link to the past.

    Too easy is isn't it. Too much common sense for many. The missed opportunities in the the city are abundantly clear for all to see.

    One of the reasons spouted on the L1 masterplan is that it could be used to link up the waterfront and the city centre. Some hope.

    The Dock Rd was a part of the appalling, misplaced Shankland plan of the 1960s to create an inner motorway - the only part to have been built, demolishing the Goree warehouses for this ridiculous road. The Dock Rd from Herculaneum to Bramley Moor Dock can be largely done away with. It is a motorway through a city - even the NY Times critcised the road when doing a piece on Liverpool. It splits the docks areas from the city. The city should pay more attention to quality public transport than glorified, misplaced divisive motorways.

    The Old Dock need not have been fully excavated and the link from centre to dock areas would have been more complete eliminating the Dock Rd at this point.

    Another missed opportunity.
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    Yes,Waterways, I've seen the dock,and yes,what a great idea, but.......it's the people with the cash that make the decisions, (understandably) so from a desolate looking wasteland, we've now got L1! Not everyones cup of tea, but you've got to see it as an improvement,I mean it's been busy enough up till now,so there's an obvious benefit to Liverpool!

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    Quote Originally Posted by wsteve55 View Post
    Yes,Waterways, I've seen the dock,and yes,what a great idea, but.......it's the people with the cash that make the decisions,
    The people with the cash do not make the decisions, that is for the city to do.

    (understandably) so from a desolate looking wasteland, we've now got L1! Not everyones cup of tea, but you've got to see it as an improvement,I mean it's been busy enough up till now,so there's an obvious benefit to Liverpool!
    I would not say it was an improvement - forgetful is the word for it. I liked the park. I wish the Dock Rd was removed in the centre, no Mann Island developments, and the park run to thee quays and around to the Dock Office with the odd two floor building strategically placed. What an place it would be then!!!

    Lots of lost opportunities. A shopping mall can go just about anywhere. How about the Baltic Triangle facing the Salthouse Dock? Perfect. The centre is moving onto the water space and a perfect opportunity to attract investors. The centre now ends behind Lime St Station, which is now besoming out on limb - unless the city expands further.
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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    Well, no cash, no need, to make decisions! Liverpool has had precious little of the latter,over the last 30/40 yrs,and I, for one, am grateful for all the recent investment in the city,but you can't please everyone

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    Quote Originally Posted by wsteve55 View Post
    Well, no cash, no need, to make decisions! Liverpool has had precious little of the latter,over the last 30/40 yrs,and I, for one, am grateful for all the recent investment in the city,but you can't please everyone
    The city must not prostitute itself.
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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    no ..... just fade away, as it was,losing half it's population, industry,shipping,buildings, etc,etc,!

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    Quote Originally Posted by wsteve55 View Post
    no ..... just fade away, as it was,losing half it's population, industry,shipping,buildings, etc,etc,!
    The population mainly moved to the abutting towns, which were rejected by the city to be incorporated. Merseyside is 1.5 million.

    The city has been ruined over 60 years by allowing the cheap fast-buck merchants get their way.
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways View Post
    The centre now ends behind Lime St Station.
    It does seem that every new development has to be on the waterfront or in the city centre. Once past Lime St. you do see a very different picture. Surely some of these projects such as the arena could have been located outside the centre/waterfront to help regenerate other areas of our city.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways View Post
    The population mainly moved to the abutting towns, which were rejected by the city to be incorporated. Merseyside is 1.5 million.

    The city has been ruined over 60 years by allowing the cheap fast-buck merchants get their way.
    Surely the tourists see how bad things are when they come here imaging it's like what the Beatles use to sing about though too. Maybe they make sure they get the tourists who say the right things.

    The city must not prostitute itself.
    Totally agree.

    I can't help but feeling hate for Liverpool sometimes though, not just because of this though, the social problems here are sickening. Even the working class are crap people
    Gididi Gididi Goo.

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Howie View Post
    It does seem that every new development has to be on the waterfront or in the city centre. Once past Lime St. you do see a very different picture. Surely some of these projects such as the arena could have been located outside the centre/waterfront to help regenerate other areas of our city.
    The arena requires excellent transport links, which Kings Dock does not give. The Wapping Tunnel is near enough but right into the complex. Having it at the bottom of Parliament St is on the edge of the centre & good for transport links. This exhibition hall is best around the Loop where EFC anti-Kirkbyists want a stadium. If Byrom St Stn is opened up it is well served and near the tunnel for the M53.

    The focus must be on the centre as all radiate out from that. Hopefully the centre will stretch from Parliament St to Stanley Dock , to an apex at the Met Cathedral.
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways View Post
    The population mainly moved to the abutting towns, which were rejected by the city to be incorporated. Merseyside is 1.5 million.

    The city has been ruined over 60 years by allowing the cheap fast-buck merchants get their way.
    Back to xmas 1982,Victoria bus station in London." eh mate, where's the Liverpool coach?" "There all going to f***** Liverpool",I was told!! I counted 13 coaches! Not an abutting town I think, and worse was to come! As for fast-buck merchants, realistically,would you expect them to be nice,and look after everyone? Love them ,or hate them, they made Liverpool,and as soon as they thought it was finished,they left quick enough! and since, we've paid the price,until the recent revival! It's a double -edged sword!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsaZappathing View Post
    At last, someone who can see the destruction/vandalism and someone who talks sense
    With you John

    Yes the changes will bring money into the area, but I dont like what is being built. I may be in the minoraty but its my feeling. I hate the Lego land buildings on the waterfront, I think it has ruined the view. Others like it so fair play.
    Last edited by Spike; 03-27-2009 at 12:35 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Howie View Post
    It does seem that every new development has to be on the waterfront or in the city centre. Once past Lime St. you do see a very different picture. Surely some of these projects such as the arena could have been located outside the centre/waterfront to help regenerate other areas of our city.
    I think Lindylou posted stuff about the development in Great Homer st,( the crashed aircraft?) which looks pretty good,with a t.v.radio studio included,and Speke seems to be on the up(at last!) but you do have a point!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spike View Post
    With you John

    Yes the changes will bring money into the area, but I dont like what is being built. I may be in the minoraty but its my feeling. I hate the Lego land buildings on the waterfront, I think it has ruined the view. Others like it so fair play.
    Let's see what they do with Old Swan Tech'! And dont forget, the Liver buildings came in for some stick,when it was built!
    Last edited by wsteve55; 03-27-2009 at 12:48 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wsteve55 View Post
    Back to xmas 1982,Victoria bus station in London." eh mate, where's the Liverpool coach?" "There all going to f***** Liverpool",I was told!! I counted 13 coaches! Not an abutting town I think, and worse was to come! As for fast-buck merchants, realistically,would you expect them to be nice,and look after everyone? Love them ,or hate them, they made Liverpool,and as soon as they thought it was finished,they left quick enough! and since, we've paid the price,until the recent revival! It's a double -edged sword!
    You missed it. Liverpool's population is calculated with in the city limits. Halewood, Knowsley, Kirkby, Bottle, All the Wirral do not count. These places took a a massive overspill from Liverpool in the 1960s. To most of them the centre is Liverpool centre.

    Fast buck merchants ruined the city - well the city did for allowing them to get their way. The city can lay a tight framework in which they can operate and not destroy the city.

    You confuse fast buck merchants and investors. Fast buck merchants take the money and run and care nothing after.
    Last edited by Waterways; 03-27-2009 at 10:08 AM.
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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    Quote Originally Posted by wsteve55 View Post
    Let's see what they do with Old Swan Tech'! And dont forget, the Liver buildings came in for some stick,when it was built!
    We need to take a lesson from the French who are excellent at planning. The French would have firm idea of what to do with the water spaces. A part of the in-filled Kings Dock (the French would not in-fill) was to be apartments, and approval given. The developer pulls out so they consider another IKEA like shed. From residential to commercial usage. Anything that someone proposes gets the nod. No idea at all.
    Last edited by Waterways; 03-27-2009 at 01:27 PM.
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


    Giving Liverpool a full Metro - CLICK
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    At the end of the day Grosvenor was outside private investment money. The application was put in for what was built. Had it been refused, we would still have had the moat house, paradise st multi storey car park and a bit of grass with two park benches on it and a tarmac path running diagonally through it going under the name Chavasse park but was really a blitzed bomb site grassed over. Another investor would have walked away to elsewhere, shaking their heads, like the proposed Brunswick Tower scheme that was kb'd. If anyone thinks what's there now is any worse than before and yet costed no public money, then heaven help us. Georgian buildings lying rotting in Hanover street and School Lane have been brought back into use.

    Bringing London Road and Lime street and any premises vacated for L1 is a totally seperate matter and indeed should be and I think will be addressed. M&S is being done out right now and expanded at the rear replacing small outlets fronting Williamson Square. The Woolworth/Top Shop building is now a through arcade but not yet finished. St John's precinct is getting a face lift. The Met Quarter and the new city centre pubs/restaurants are only relatively recent, the City centre is thriving like never before.
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    Senior Member kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    The guy writing it also did what the Beatles are (in their case wrongfully) accused of doing - Got off to london to line his own pockets when 'my' Liverpool didn't mean too much to him then.
    A bit harsh, Ged. Circumstances led to me having to move out of Liverpool in 1978 but I still consider it 'home' and therefore also 'my' city.

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    Ha ha, I thought you'd put that. Don't worry it was a wind up for John Zappa who doesn't let anyone forget the Beatles left. I also left the city when work took me elsewhere AND it is still all our city.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin View Post
    A bit harsh, Ged. Circumstances led to me having to move out of Liverpool in 1978 but I still consider it 'home' and therefore also 'my' city.
    The Beatles could not record in Liverpool as there were no facilities. Many people wanting to expanding their professions have to leave their home towns and cities. Nothing new in that.

    If you are an ambitious journo you have to go to to where the nationals are based - London.
    Last edited by Waterways; 03-27-2009 at 01:47 PM.
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    At the end of the day Grosvenor was outside private investment money. The application was put in for what was built. Had it been refused, we would still have had the moat house, paradise st multi storey car park and a bit of grass with two park benches on it
    Ged, that is nonsense. No one would propose building on Sefton Park, because they know their envelope would not be opened by the planners. The city did not have a cast-iron framework in place for developers to be guided by - they still do not have, otherwise Peel would not propose Liverpool Waters on a World Heritage Site.

    The framework dictates much of a developers outcome - the tighter the constraints the more the city gets what it wants. If it was stated the park is permanent then Westminster would not have proposed that scheme obliterating the park - he would have proposed another keeping the park. Maybe a scheme running around the park into the Baltic triangle.

    Many make out the city had no option but to accept that shopping mall they way Westminster proposed. It would have been built, however different to what we ended up with.

    Here is what naked lilac said when revising from the USA:
    I just wish they still had Chevis Park and the green area in the City to enjoy still.. It used to be lovely just to sit on the grass .

    The element of open-air, and views of the Mersey are being blocked, was sad to me..


    http://www.yoliverpool.com/forum/sho...72&postcount=7
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


    Giving Liverpool a full Metro - CLICK
    Rapid-transit rail: Everton, Liverpool & Arena - CLICK

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