A Liverpool Waters statement. Project Started Mid-2010

Lindsey Ashworth, Development director, Peel Holdings Liverpool Waters statement Lindsey Ashworth.

“When Peel Holdings purchased the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company a few years ago I stood on the waterfronts of both Liverpool and Wirral with the company Chairman and the view in many ways created a feeling of sadness because these docks that had been the lifeblood of the region about a century ago had fallen into such dereliction. They had been abandoned and forgotten, the City had turned its back on something that had helped make Liverpool the great place that it is.

The post-Panamax ships and containerisation that the world has adopted to distribute its goods are so big that the River Mersey is simply not deep enough in the estuary for them so the shipping trade has had to move to deeper water. Thus, some parts of Birkenhead Docks and Liverpool Docks will never come back into effective port uses because of this and it’s these areas of land that we are working up schemes for to bring them back into use for the needs of this century and to make them once again contribute towards the local economy like they used to.

The forefathers of Liverpool Docks were pioneers of their time and they had the will and enthusiasm to drive things forward against so many others who saw fit to put their efforts into undermining and criticising most of their ideas that involved change. Thankfully, the forefathers had the determination to turn their visions into reality and delivered something that we are all very grateful for. What would they think if they saw the land now in its abandoned state?

We are now well over a century later and Peel has come along with its own ideas and we are to share these with the people of Liverpool this Friday and Saturday at our exhibition being held at a local shop 9 Whitechapel in the city centre located between the Met Quarter and Lord Street and we look for support from the majority rather than resistance from the minority.

When the Three Graces where proposed which involved the filling in of three docks, the newspaper reports show that there was an outcry about this. If we took the preservation of Liverpool’s wonderful heritage back to its origins, we would have to demolish the Three Graces and re-open these three old docks the remains of which are probably still there underneath. Of course this would be ridiculous because we all love the Three Graces. Time and needs had moved on for these three docks and the Three Graces were built and time has moved on now for us to consider redevelopment of the many acres of disused land.

We have a drawing that is over one hundred years old prepared by one of the famous engineers at the time, probably Jesse Hartley, that shows an increase in the height of buildings moving north alongside the Three Graces. The Liver Building was the tallest building in Europe at the time it was built and had it not been on the limits of technology, it would certainly have been built higher.

Our vision that we call Liverpool Waters is to create a new living and working environment on this redundant dockland with beautiful high rise and high quality buildings and make this part of the waterfront spectacular again and bring back into use, but this time creating local jobs for all ages and making the waterfront accessible to the public.

Finding and agreeing a way of moving Liverpool Waters positively through the planning system has not been without its challenges.

From Peel’s point of view we obviously want a workable planning consent but given this will be the largest planning application in the UK, it’s not been easy to find a way through and there are no similar precedents to learn from. This project has genuinely been Heritage led given that the site is either in the World Heritage Site or in what is called its buffer zone, so that has been an added challenge.

However it’s in everybody’s best interests that we get this right and given that it’s a £5.5 billion investment in Liverpool over the next few decades providing tens of thousands of new jobs we have had lots of well thought through advice from Liverpool Council, Liverpool Vision, Government Office, English Heritage, CABE, this list goes on. This advice and guidance has been so helpful in finding a way forward and Peel really appreciates the time, effort and expertise all have put into this. The will to move this great city forward is still there.

Our proposed planning application route is to submit an ‘outline’ planning application for the redevelopment of the whole of the site which will provide significant detail in terms of scale, height, mass, etc in the form of what we call ‘parameter plans’. This will provide sufficient detail to enable key issues to be considered and determined such as the impact on the setting of listed buildings, impact on the World Heritage Site and Conservation Areas, strategic views, views into and out of the site, impact on the skyline, etc.

Peel has a strong track record in delivering major high quality and award winning developments around the UK within the confines of the existing planning system. Schemes include MediaCityUk in Salford which has just been given Breeam Community Status, Gloucester Quays, the Trafford Centre and Liverpool John Lennon Airport. These schemes have not only provided genuine benefits to the areas around them by employing local people and bringing high quality development, but they have also attracted investment.

For a city to reach international status and compete on a world platform it needs a good airport and a good port to support it.

We have made great inroads into achieving this to support our Liverpool Waters proposals.

Peel has committed significant resources to Liverpool Waters project and other projects along the Mersey corridor and Atlantic Gateway. The scale of investment in transport, energy and waste, and development projects is huge – it demonstrates a long term commitment by Peel to the future growth of the region and this commitment is now reflected in the North West Regional Strategy which Peel believes will become the blueprint for sustainable economic growth in the northwest.

This investment is a demonstration of Peel’s confidence in the deliverability of the scale and ambition of the proposals. Put simply, Peel would not be spending significant sums of money at this time unless it was fully intending to bring the project forward as soon as possible. It would have been easy for Peel to ‘mothball’ Liverpool Waters, as many developers have done to their projects elsewhere, and come back to them when the economy improves. Instead, Peel has maintained its commitment.

We are always asked the question, when will works start on site if planning permission is granted. Well, the chairman has a saying that applies here – DPP – Determination, Perseverance and Patience.

It has taken Peel a long time to establish an effective presence in the Northwest and it’s taken a lot of effort and risk to get where we are. I have worked for Peel for over 20 years now and I genuinely believe that we have made a large contribution to the prosperity of the region and we have lots more fuel in the tank to do much more if we are allowed to.

Every decade the economy seems to crash in some way and we have to suffer a recession and it takes some difficult decisions and strategies to find a way through and survive and no lifelines are thrown out to us like the banks have been given.

We are not immune from the effects of this recession but will continue to soldier on as we have always done to find a way through and start works on site with our projects.

The public will begin to notice immediate improvements around the site towards the middle of this year when proposed works to repair the Bascule Bridge and reopen the road link between Waterloo Road and Regent Road will be completed. A series of works are also proposed to seek to repair a number of historic buildings and structures on the site, particularly towards the north of the site.

One thing is for sure without planning permission we can’t do anything meaningful within the boundary of Liverpool Waters so getting public support this Friday and Saturday who ultimately get behind the Councillors is vital.

The final decision of course rests in the hands of Government Office and they are more likely to reach an early positive decision if we get it right and Liverpool Council see fit to recommend Liverpool Waters be approved.

Time will tell!” Shanghai Tower will reach 67 stories into the sky. By comparison, Liverpool's current tallest building, (Beetham west), reaches 40 stories, but houses Britain's tallest restaurant.


Master Plan The whole of Liverpool Docks will be considered for improvements, but only part for redevelopment. "Liverpool Waters" is the new title for the area selected for this redevelopment; the name reflecting the new and unique place it will strive to be. Once completed, people of Liverpool will benefit from this spectacular development which will be a place for all age groups to work, socialise, rest and play. Liverpool Waters will be a recognized name around the world; tourists will identify with its location and want to visit.

The overall vision for the 60 hectare, 150 acres, Liverpool Waters site is to create a new sector of the central city area in a prime waterfront location within walking distance of the commercial core. In regenerating this part of the City a key part of this vision will be to build upon the strong character of Liverpool and the heritage assets of its World Heritage Site. The development will also have strong connections with the existing commercial, retail and leisure cores.

In seeking to achieve this vision, Peel have subdivided the formerly named Central Docks part of Liverpool Docks now named Liverpool Waters into four sectors for redevelopment as follows:

  1. Bramley Moore Dock & Nelson Dock - Located at the northern end of Liverpool Waters.

  2. Salisbury Dock & Collingwood Dock - Located at the confluence of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal with the Liverpool docks and River Mersey.

  3. Canal Link/Mid-Section - Located between the Clarence Graving Docks and Trafalgar Docks.

  4. Princes Half Tide Dock & Princes Dock - Located at the Southern end of Liverpool Waters adjacent to the Three Graces.

The plan shows West Waterloo filled in. The local residents successfully stopped this philistine act in 2007, however it may be back on the agenda as this is clearly land by stealth. A supplementary planning document required by UNESCO to guide the management of the World Heritage Site and neighbouring buffer zones – taking in virtually the whole city centre – will be released shortly, albeit five years too late. However, the draft of the supplementary planning document ruled out losing any more water – the Pier Head was itself built on a reclaimed dock. Hopefully this will put to rest any land by stealth moves in Liverpool Docks. The document should have stated that water spaces be re-introduced - the volume of in-filled water space was as much as what many ports have. However the documents is only a guide.

Sector A - Bramley Moore & Nelson Dock

Magnificent buildings will reach for the sky. Beautiful buildings will rise out of these Docks to form marinas where leisure boats will once again activate the waters.

Sector B - Salisbury & Collingwood Dock

There is a keen demand for residential associated with marina development. Collingwood and Salisbury Docks will be transformed into a sequence of waterborne squares, creating a comfortable scale while recalling the close association of building to water characteristic of the enclosure of former warehouse buildings. The ground floor will be punctuated by small shops, restaurants and public houses.

The listed buildings of the Jesse Hartley 6 sided clock tower and Dockmaster's office will remain, and continue to mark the entrance to Salisbury Dock from the river and the start of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

The two Clarence Graving Docks will be retained for ship repair and maintenance and be overlooked by a mixture of uses including retail, leisure and residential. Like Gun Wharf Quays in Portsmouth, the shops, restaurants and leisure will be necessary to support the new population without challenging the facilities in the city core. Beyond will lie the marina and new feature towers of over 50 storeys high.

Sector C - Canal Link/Mid-Section

Magnificent world class buildings will be on display, each with its own amazing individual style and character. People will visit Liverpool because it will have been restored to its once former position as a place of great character, activity and enviable prosperity.

At last, the people of Liverpool will be able to enjoy their waterfront. Perhaps take a stroll along the promenade or have a drink or meal with friends in one of the many high quality bars and restaurants or simply relax and watch the many ships and boats sail by.

The canal as the central feature of a Linear Park will be a particularly attractive feature, allowing canal boats and people to pass through a landscaped waterway, with activity and along the towpath will be bars, cafes and restaurants - a total contrast to today's derelict, empty and low-lying industrial wasteland.

Sector D - Princes Half Tide & Princes Dock

The completion of the redevelopment of Princes Dock is the beginning of the creation of a waterfront that will be the envy of the world. The new canal link will be surrounded by such a buzzing, thriving environment that boats from all around the United Kingdom will come to visit.

Rapid Transit Rail Access

Waterloo Tunnel to the left - Wapping Tunnel to the right There has been no formal plan to run rapid transit rail into the Liverpool Waters complex. Peel, the developers were talking about reusing the Waterloo Tunnel which emerges at West Waterloo Dock, to run a monorail to Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

The Waterloo Tunnel runs from Edge Hill and emerges at West Waterloo Dock adjacent to the Merseyrail Northern Line. The Merseyrail Northern Line runs parallel to the River Mersey inland from the dock complex, however Sandhills station is too far from Liverpool Waters. It would be possible to branch from the Northern Line into the Liverpool Waters complex running at ground and elevated levels. However light rail carriages, similar to used in the London Docklands Light Railway, would almost certainly be necessary rather than the large Merseyrail heavy rail carriages - both types of carriage can use the same tracks. A station could be built at the Waterloo Tunnel portal, giving access to the Northern Line. A more ambitious plan to create a Liverpool city centre Circle Line using disused tunnels and stations merging Liverpool Waters into the system would be of great benefit to the complex and the city as whole Extending Rapid Transit Merseyrail.

A disused tunnel exists from Sandhills, on the Northern Line, to Wellington Dock very near to the proposed Liverpool Waters. There are prospects to reuse the tunnel to give access to the complex.

Liverpool Waters to be a success requires a rapid transit rail system to link to all of Merseyside and direct to:

Rapid-transit rail was considered essential for the success of London's Docklands. The same would apply to this project.

Liverpool waters news UPDATED 4th October 2010

Liverpool Waters downscaled over World Heritage Site status fears Jul 28 2010 by David Bartlett, Liverpool Daily Post

THE developer of the multi-billion pound Liverpool Waters project has been forced to scale it back over concerns it could threaten the city’s World Heritage Site status.

Peel Holdings wants to regenerate the city’s northern docklands with a series of skyscrapers creating more than 25,000 jobs and 14,000 apartments in a £5.5bn development.

Peel has now agreed no building on the Mersey waterfront will be higher than 15 storeys and eight skyscrapers have been removed from one of two clusters of tall buildings, after conservation watchdog English Heritage raised concerns.

But a leaked document shows that despite the changes English Heritage still believes the project could be harmful to the “outstanding universal value” of the WHS.

Top officials from English Heritage’s Advisory Committee will meet today to discuss how serious the threat is and what should be done.

Last night Peel Holdings said it was confident it could reach a compromise with English Heritage ahead of submitting a planning application in the autumn.

Peel are keen to avoid a formal objection from English Heritage as it would increase the chances of a public inquiry being called in to the scheme.

The company’s Wirral Waters scheme on the other side of the Mersey will be considered by planners in the borough next week.

Lindsey Ashworth, Peel’s development director, said English Heritage had initially raised concerns with the Wirral element but eventually a compromise had been found.

“I think we will find a solution and some common ground, but that does not mean removing all the tall buildings,” he said. He said the company did not mind having had to reduce the number of tall buildings.

“Over the years you fine tune these things. I think what we have got is a really nicely balanced scheme. We are 75% there with English Heritage.”

A secret report to today’s meeting reveals English Heritage’s concerns about the Liverpool scheme.

“The assessment outlined in this report concludes that the impact would be harmful to the significance of the WHS.

“The developer will need to make further significant amendments to mitigate the harmful impacts of the current scheme and it is far from certain Peel will be prepared to do so,” it reads.

When Peel announced its plans in 2007 the drawings featured dozens of skyscrapers including two landmark towers seen in the forefront of the picture above right.

The new plans, seen by the Daily Post, no longer feature the towers or many other of the taller buildings.

Instead the tall buildings have been located in two clusters. One cluster starts at Princes Dock with a scaled down Shanghai Tower – named as such in the hope it will attract Chinese investment.

The Shanghai Tower has been reduced to 55 storeys from between 60 and 65.

The other cluster at Clarence Dock will feature seven skyscrapers instead of 15.

The leaked English Heritage report shows how the national watchdog has had serious reservations for some time: “Committee agreed in January that the masterplan would cause significant harm to the outstanding universal value (OUV) of the WHS, the setting of listed buildings and the character and appearance of Stanley Dock conservation area. The proposals have been amended in response to our advice and a series of CABE (Commission for Architecture and Built Environment) design reviews.”

The report states that in October 2009 English Heritage said: “The proposals for Clarence Dock and Central Docks will need to be carefully assessed to ensure that they do not compromise the OUV, authenticity and integrity to the WHS.”

The committee said development should only be permitted if it could be clearly shown the universal value would not be compromised.

“The case for tall buildings at Clarence Dock has not been made and impact on the OUV of the WHS and setting of a range of designated heritage assets would be harmful.

“Serious consideration should be given to advising the removal of the proposed cluster from the masterplan.”

Last night an English Heritage spokesman said: “We are in pre-application discussions with the developer and Liverpool City Council, as these papers are not in the public domain we are unable to comment further until a planning application has been lodged.”

Chinese firm want major role in Peel’s Liverpool Waters May 12 2010 by David Bartlett, Liverpool Echo

A CHINESE company is in talks to take a "substantial stake" in part of the multi-billion pound Liverpool Waters development.

Peel Holdings said a Chinese firm of architects was interested in investing in one of the first buildings in its £5.5bn scheme.

But the news comes as the ECHO can reveal the submission of a planning application has been delayed – after English Heritage said it was minded to object to the scheme.

Development director Lindsay Ashworth said the company was hopeful of finding a solution to the concerns so a planning submission could go in in June.

Mr Ashworth is currently in Shanghai at the World Expo to help secure investment in the project.

He said that in China, unlike the UK, it is customary for architects to bring their own finance to projects and retain a share in a building thereafter.

The waterfront scheme is proposed to transform derelict dockland to the north of the city into a vibrant commercial and residential hub.

Peel plans to construct one building at a time in a project that would take decades to complete, so securing early investment is a crucial step.

Wirral Waters, a similar development by Peel in the Birkenhead and Wallasey docklands, is currently being assessed for planning permission by Wirral Council. The projects are being exhibited at the World Expo in Liverpool’s dedicated pavilion.

As the main sponsor Peel has contributed £100,000 towards the £3.5m it is costing to build and staff the pavilion for six months.

Mr Ashworth said: "The firm of architects [is talking about] a substantial share in a building they would design.

"China is like England, you are friends first and then do business. We have to keep coming here and showing face.

"This particular architects (firm) are coming across to England to have talks with us.”

He said the recession had come at a bad time for Liverpool and Wirral Waters but that he was confident the economy would pick up.

"I would like to have had a partnership by now if we had still been in the boom.

"Things will probably be rosier next spring. But what we can do at the moment is not give up, instead we must keep the momentum going.

"We wanted to put in the planning request before we came here, but we have not agreed with English Heritage where all the buildings should be.

"It was not the right thing to do to submit the planning the planning application when English Heritage are not happy with it.”

He said he was hopeful a solution could be found.

"English Heritage want it to happen, but not at the disturbance and loss of heritage.

"They are concerned that we do not do anything that will steal the glory of the Three Graces."

He said a historical study of the northern dock system had identified 80 separate pieces of heritage that should be preserved in the development.

English Heritage can either object, support or be neutral.

Mr Ashworth said the company liked to consult ahead of submitting major planning applications.

"A strong objection would concern me and would mean that the Government Office North West would have to refer it to the Government."

Repair works begin on historic Liverpool dock buildings Apr 29 2010 by Alan Weston, Liverpool Daily Post

HISTORIC dockland buildings which form a key part of the proposed £5.5bn Liverpool Waters development are to undergo repairs.

The massive regeneration project by the Peel Group involves building dozens of skyscrapers in the Central Docks area, in north Liverpool.

If planning consent is given, it would be the largest urban regeneration scheme in the UK.

The waterfront scheme is proposed to transform derelict dockland to the north of the city into a vibrant commercial and residential hub covering more than 150 acres.

The works now being carried out by Peel Land & Property – a division of the Peel Group – are taking place in Salisbury Dock and Clarence Graving Dock. They will also include the demolition of some small redundant buildings as part of the works aimed at improving the area.

The buildings to be repaired include the famous six-sided Victoria Clock Tower and the nearby Dockmaster’s Office, both built by Jesse Hartley at the river entrance to the Salisbury Dock in 1848.

The tower showed the time for those on board arriving and departing vessels, and also contained a set of bells that rang out the high tides and gave warning of incidents. The two buildings, which are suffering from decay as a result of leaking roofs, will be made secure and wind and weather proof.

A number of smaller buildings situated around the Clarence Graving Dock are also in poor condition and will be repaired.

The works to the various buildings include general repairs to the roof areas and associated guttering, making windows and doors watertight and secure, repairs to internal stairwells and the removal of vegetation to external areas.

Peel spokesman Ian Pollitt said: “Peel recognise the importance of preserving the dock area and these historic buildings, and the repair works undertaken will ensure they remain an asset to the city and its heritage, and a key part of the Liverpool Waters scheme”.

The historic Salisbury Dock and Clarence Graving Dock both form part of the proposed Liverpool Waters development on the city’s waterfront. The Clarence Graving Docks, opened in 1830, are one of the most important features of the Central Docks, and would form a centrepiece of the completed Liverpool Waters scheme.

It was feared its location in the World Heritage Site “buffer zone” could prove problematic.

But a new council planning blueprint will now allow tall buildings in Central Docks, while ensuring the waterfront’s world heritage status is protected.

The report was ordered by Unesco after it raised concerns the historic waterfront was not being properly safeguarded.

The aims of the blueprint are to protect key views of landmark buildings, help conserve historic buildings while positively encouraging new developments, and encourage the demolition of existing buildings which have a negative impact on the urban environment.

Peel owns Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, which controls huge swathes of land on the banks of the Mersey and Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

The planning application for the Liverpool Waters scheme is still waiting to be submitted because of the sensitivity of the area as a World Heritage Site.

Liverpool Waters is itself part of an even bigger £50bn Atlantic Gateway strategy by developer Peel, which aims to regenerate the ports of Salford and Liverpool, and projects along the Manchester Ship Canal.

Liverpool City council in cruise terminal ‘swap deal’ plan with Peel Mar 19 2010 by David Bartlett, Liverpool Daily Post

LIVERPOOL's Pier Head could become a base for cruise liners under radical temporary plans to transfer business from a dilapidated dock.

Last year the Government blocked plans to make the world heritage waterfront a start and finish base for cruise liners – forcing ships to continue using Bootle’s Langton Dock to access full “turnaround” facilities like baggage handling and passport control.

The less than impressive welcome view for passengers there is a nearby scrapheap rather than the Three Graces.

But today the Daily Post can reveal officials from the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, owned by developer Peel, are in discussions with the city council to temporarily transfer cruises from Langton Dock to the publicly-owned landing stage at the Pier Head.

It is hoped by merely maintaining the number of cruises that depart and terminate their journeys from the Pier Head at the same level as at Langton Dock, it would help appease places like Southampton that have long seen Liverpool as a rival to their cruise business.

The plans would not affect the ships that visit the Pier Head for stopover visits.

Peel last night insisted this was a short- term solution as it wants to build its own cruise terminal as part of its £5.5bn skyscraper Liverpool Water scheme.

Lindsey Ashworth, development director, said: "It would be nice to do the Shanghai Tower, the cruise terminal, and a hotel in the first phase of development (in Liverpool Waters)".

He said the company would be submitting a planning application for Liverpool Waters skyscraper scheme – the largest urban regeneration project in the UK – in late April or early May.

Mr Ashworth said if the downturn had properly ended and the market started to pick up the firm could start work on the first phase of Liverpool Waters as early as 2011 or 2012.

In December transport minister Paul Clark ruled a bid to allow the city’s Pier Head cruise terminal to have a turnaround facility would breach EU competition law, as it had received £9m of funding from Europe.

But companies like Fred Olsen and Thompson Cruises have long complained about the state of Langton Dock – currently the only place on the Mersey where ships can start and end their voyages.

Located in the heart of the city’s industrial docks in Bootle, passengers have been greeted with a towering scrapheap when using Langton Dock.

Ian Pollitt, development surveyor for Peel, said the company was trying to find solutions to cruise liner companies having to use Langton Dock.

"What we are looking at now is a half-way house. Rather than lose the business, we are talking about relocating it to the Pier Head."

It is hoped the plan would avoid the need for any grants to be paid back as it would only be a temporary move.

Once Peel's terminal had opened, the cruise liners would return to a base further up the river.

Peel's terminal is already fully designed and located near the proposed 60-storey Shanghai Tower in the Liverpool Waters Scheme.

The tower would be built on the west side of the Princes Half Tide Dock off Waterloo Road with the cruise terminal nearby on the banks of the river.

The company has been speaking about their plans at this week’s MIPIM development conference in Cannes on the French Riviera where the City of Liverpool has hosted a stand.

Massive public backing for Peel’s £5.5bn Liverpool Waters scheme Feb 3 2010 by Neil Hodgson, Liverpool Echo

‘WHEN can you start?’ was the reaction of most visitors at developer Peel Holdings’ Liverpool Waters public showing.

The two-day consultation explaining the £5.5bn redevelopment of north Liverpool’s derelict docklands proved a huge hit with hundreds of visitors over the weekend and early analysis of almost 300 questionnaires revealed that 99% were in favour of the 30-50 year scheme.

A Peel spokeswoman said: “This is an overwhelming result which we are very pleased with.

“We are also extremely pleased with the way members of the public interacted with us, raising some very valid questions in terms of open space, transport, community facilities and the number and height of buildings.

“As we process the questionnaires, these and all the comments received will be taken on board and we will seek to make amendments to the scheme as appropriate.”

She added: “The number one question was actually ‘when can you start?’ followed in second place by ‘I hope I’ll still be here to see it’.”

Public Showcase for Liverpool Waters announced 27th January 2010

Developer Peel is due to invite the public to view their £5.5bn plans to develop 150 acres of North Liverpool’s docklands on the 29th & 30th of January 2010 in their city centre shop at 9 Whitechapel.

Development director Lindsey Ashworth said: “This is a great opportunity to see first hand what the scheme now entails and to find out what progress has been made over the last 12 months.”

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.

Liverpool Waters developer Peel Holdings refuses to make any more changes for heritage group Sep 13 2010 by David Bartlett, Liverpool Echo

THE developer behind the multi-billion pound Liverpool Waters project today said it will not bow to any more pressure from heritage groups.

Peel Holdings wants to regenerate the city’s northern docklands with a series of skyscrapers, creating more than 25,000 jobs and 14,000 apartments in a £5.5bn development.

Lindsey Ashworth, director of investment for Peel Holdings, said he was not prepared to make any more changes after already substantially reducing the size of the development.

He said he thought the scheme now looked fantastic and hoped to submit a planning application at the end of this month or early October.

He said: “If you started to take more buildings off the site, it would become a nondescript scheme – that is not what this is about.

“I want people to remember it for the new architectural features as well as the heritage.”

But conservation watchdog English Heritage said the plans still have the potential to harm the city’s World Heritage site.

Peel and English Heritage are currently locked in a dispute over how the 50-plus heritage buildings in the huge north Liverpool docklands site should be classified, for conservation purposes. Mr Ashworth said: “We met with them [English Heritage] and the council last week, and it was a pretty positive meeting.

“We are currently debating with them whether you do a five, seven, or nine-point assessment of heritage assets.

“There are at least 50 heritage assets. We consider that a five-point assessment is enough, but English Heritage wants a nine-point assessment – that would be like making an encyclopedia.

“What I am saying to English Heritage is it would be very nice to spend the next 12 months debating this, but we need to reach a conclusion before the end of the month because we want to submit a planning application.”

He said he expected English Heritage to take a neutral approach once a planning application was submitted. Mr Ashworth said: “I do not think we will get a letter of support and I do not think they will object.”

He said he was hoping to get the application submitted by the time the next big Liverpool delegation travels to the World Expo, in Shanghai, on October 11.

He added: “I am not making any more major changes. I have done what I think is reasonable.

“There will be no tall buildings on the line of the frontage of the Mersey, but they are still 15 storeys.

“I think we have the right balance now. It looks fantastic, but not over the top.”

In July, the ECHO revealed how Peel was forced by English Heritage to massively scale back its plans .

Today an English Heritage spokesman said: “Liverpool Waters has the potential to improve access to and understanding of the city’s World Heritage site, but it also has the potential to harm the setting of internationally important historic buildings on the waterfront.

“As a statutory advisor to Liverpool council, English Heritage is working closely with the council and Peel Holdings to assist in the development of a scheme which delivers major regeneration benefits while safeguarding the outstanding heritage of Liverpool’s waterfront and docks.

“We are working with both parties to assess the potential impact of the proposals and will continue to inform the discussions before the submission of the formal planning application and while it is being considered.”

Liverpool Waters planning application to be submitted today Oct 4 2010 by David Bartlett, Liverpool Daily Post

THE UK’S biggest planning application will today finally be submitted for the multi-billion pound Liverpool Waters development to regenerate the city’s run-down northern docklands.

Peel Holdings will deliver hundreds of pages of documents to Liverpool council to determine whether to approve the £5.5bn project which covers 150 acres.

The company has released a new aerial picture of the planned development which shows how the scheme has been dramatically scaled back since its inception in 2006.

Despite the huge reduction in the number of skyscrapers conservation watchdog English Heritage still believes the scheme has potential to harm the World Heritage Site and last night said that “the extent of possible harm has not yet been properly assessed”.

Last night Peel’s development director Lindsey Ashworth said: “It is a fantastic and almost unbelievable achievement to get a scheme of this scale and nature to a point where a planning application can be submitted.

“It has been a very costly exercise and there is much more to be done, but Peel believes that Liverpool can be a greater city and that Liverpool Waters will be a major part of its future and that it will all be worth the effort in the end”.

As part of the pre-application negotiations Peel agreed to reduce the number of skyscrapers and now tall buildings will be concentrated around the centre of the development.

The number of apartments has been reduced by 55% from 14,000 to 9,000.

But even with all the changes Peel believes the scheme will be a “spectacular mix of buildings” creating new waterfront neighbourhoods with offices, shops, and restaurants.

The scheme will also include the 55 storey Shanghai Tower which will be the tallest UK building outside London.

There will also be a new “cultural building” and a new cruise terminal.

In all it will have 14m sq ft of floorspace – the equivalent of more than 120 football pitches.

The project is half of the Peel Waters scheme, which includes a sister scheme in the docklands of Birkenhead called Wirral Waters.

They have a combined floorspace of 30m sq ft and would cost around £10bn – creating tens of thousands of jobs over 30 years.

Wirral council approved its part of the scheme in August and it is currently awaiting final sign-off by the government.

The submission of planning permission in Liverpool is a key milestone in the project.

The company was keen to make sure it had been submitted before the next big Liverpool delegation travels to the World Expo in Shanghai on October 11, where Peel is seeking to raise funding for the project.

Liverpool council leader Joe Anderson said: “Liverpool Waters is a hugely ambitious and exciting scheme which has the potential to bring about the transformation of an area which has been in need of regeneration for decades.

“The scale of the project is breathtaking and it will benefit generations to come.

“We, along with other agencies, have worked with Peel to help shape this scheme but we do recognise that there are great sensitivities attached to it and there will be full consultation before a decision is made as part of the normal planning procedure to ensure the best possible outcome for the city.” A spokesman for English Heritage said: “English Heritage has worked closely with Peel and Liverpool City Council as the Liverpool Waters proposals have developed over the last three years.

“We believe the scheme represents a major opportunity to regenerate north Liverpool and to improve access to and understanding of Liverpool's World Heritage Site.

“However the scale of what is proposed also has the potential to harm the World Heritage Site. English Heritage is concerned that the extent of possible harm has not yet been properly assessed.

“We have therefore advised Peel and Liverpool City Council to undertake a more detailed assessment and, if necessary, to make amendments to the scheme to protect the World Heritage Site.

“English Heritage will continue to work closely with Peel and Liverpool City Council as the planning application is considered.”

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