City planners pave the way for Peel?s Liverpool Waters
Oct 5 2009-Liverpool Daily Post
A NEW city blueprint has paved the way for Liverpool?s biggest ever development project ? while crucially protecting its World Heritage status. Peel Holdings wants to build dozens of skyscrapers in the city?s Central Docks area in North Liverpool in a multi-billion pound scheme known as Liverpool Waters.
It had been feared its location in the World Heritage Site buffer zone could prove problematic but city planners have agreed to allow tall buildings in Central Docks. Last night Peel welcomed the news and said it could be in a position to submit a planning application as early as December.
The principle of allowing skyscrapers in the Central Docks area is set out in the city council?s blueprint aimed at protecting the World Heritage Site. The report was ordered by Unesco after it raised concerns the historic waterfront was not being properly safeguarded. After spending six months consulting on the blueprint, the council is now set to approve it, with a number of changes to the original proposal. It is part of an action plan aimed at involving the wider public in schemes earmarked for sensitive sites around the historic waterfront.
Originally it suggested allowing high-rise buildings in two clusters: the commercial district around Old Hall Street and the ?southern gateway? around Parliament Street. Following consultation the city says high-rise buildings will also be allowed in Central Docks, and mid-rise buildings of between seven and 15 storeys will be allowed in the quayside area north of Salisbury Dock, which also forms part of the Liverpool Waters scheme.
City officials said the new Supplementary Planning Document will:
Protect key views of landmark buildings; Help conserve historic buildings while positively encouraging new developments; Encourage the demolition of existing buildings that have a negative impact on the urban environment.
Hundreds of people took part in the consultation that started in March and the council said there was unanimous support for the overriding aim of protecting the World Heritage Site. There was also a broad consensus that regeneration opportunities should be encouraged. It is now recommended that the blueprint should incorporate additional key views of landmark buildings.
Regeneration leader Cllr Peter Millea said: ?We were very pleased with the level of response ? both in terms of the numbers of responses and the constructive nature of the suggestions made. ?It shows the high level of interest and pride there is locally in the World Heritage Site. ?The whole purpose of the consultation was to get people?s views and suggestions and wherever possible we have tried to incorporate them into the final document.
?In some cases this has not proved possible as some were contrary to national and local policies and others conflicted with other suggestions.
?One of the major issues we have had to consider has been the Liverpool Waters project. ?We have had discussions with Peel Holdings and now have a clearer understanding of what their plans are and will try to accommodate their proposal in a more flexible way. ?Overall this is a very positive document which balances the need to preserve Liverpool?s unique architectural heritage with the encouragement of high- quality developments.?
Peel Holdings development director Lindsey Ashworth said he was pleased with the outcome. ?We are about to enter into discussions with Cabe (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) over our plans.
?A planning application will probably go in at the earliest in December or latest January or February. ?We do not have a tallest building as such, but the tallest will probably be about 60 storeys.?
The firm already has planning permission for part of its Wirral Waters scheme, and intends to submit another one around the same time as the application for Liverpool. ?By and large I am quite pleased with the progress that has been made,? said Mr Ashworth. He said he hoped the company would have planning permissions for both sides of the River Mersey by the summer of 2010.