LIVERPOOL City Council has scrapped its controversial tall buildings policy.
The decision to do away with the policy will be welcome news to the city's major property developers who have been highly critical of the way it has been implemented.
News about the decision to scrap the policy emerged in a podcast interview given by council leader Warren Bradley to the Liverpool Daily Post's new website, Thebusinessweek.co.uk, which launches today.
In it, Cllr Bradley describes the tall buildings policy, which sought to restrict the construction of skyscrapers to certain parts of the city, as "a mistake".
It was introduced in December, 2004, and was meant to promote tall buildings in only three clusters around the city.
A number of tall building plans have been rejected since, much to the anger of developers.
Cllr Bradley said: "Nowhere has a tall buildings policy. What we have is guidance. If a planning application is received, it is dealt with on its merits.
"It's not about somebody who doesn't like tall buildings so you're not going to get it.
"I think it was a mistake. If you want to be a progressive, proactive city you can't have a ridiculous policy that says you can't have this and you can't have that."
Cllr Bradley also pledged to reform the city's complex array of inward investment and business support agencies. There are about 30 such agencies operating on Merseyside and Cllr Bradley said he had started discussions to streamline that number down to just two agencies within 12 months.
Cllr Bradley's full interview on the subject of whether Liverpool is really business friendly can be heard and downloaded at www.thebusinessweek.co.uk
Cllr Bradley said some council officials had in the past become dictatorial and he also promised to pursue a policy of turning Liverpool into one of the most business-friendly cities in Britain.
The scrapping of the tall buildings policy has been welcomed by business lobby group Downtown Liverpool in Business, which has campaigned against it for 18 months.
DLIB chairman Frank McKenna said: "We always said it was a daft idea and unworkable. It makes me wonder why these policies are ever dreamed up in the first place. Having a tall buildings policy is possibly even against the law.
"Let's not forget that we had two rounds of consultations on this and then planning officers had to spend a lot of time trying to make it work. So how much has this cost us?"
Plans for skyscrapers never got off the ground
DEVELOPERS have tried to build a number of skyscrapers in Liverpool over recent years but without much success.
One of the most contentious has been Maro's plans for a 500ft tower at Brunswick Quay, which would have been the tallest in the city.
The 51-storey building, with two smaller 10 storey blocks, has been rejected twice by the city's planning committee on advice from officials.
Developers are also still hoping to build a glass skyscraper behind Lime Street station but the signs are not looking good.
Chieftain Construction wants to build a 32-storey tower containing a 160-bedroom hotel and about 150 apartments.
But councillors rejected the application last summer, saying it would clash with a tower planned as part of a redevelopment of the outside of the station.
In March, the firm tried to have the Lime Street development quashed but failed in London's High Court. It will still try to get the go-ahead for its own proposal, at a car park site in Skelhorne Street.
The 1,000ft Otterspool Tower, dubbed "The Scousescraper", was to be the tallest building in Europe when the project was launched a decade ago.
Construction company Wiggins, claimed it would create 6,000 jobs, with the knock-on effect leading to as many as 30,000 more around the city but later dropped the plans.
Wayne Colquhoun, from Liverpool Preservation Trust, has called for the council to come up with a new comprehensive set of rules of skyscrapers to protect the city's skyline.
He said: "I'm not against modern buildings but it is vital that they are built in the right place.
"We need a strategy that very clearly sets out where developments can be built.
"We cannot let our landscape be ruined by glass and steel buildings which have no architectural merit."