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Liverpool Council is set to be lumbered with a five-figure legal bill after losing a highprofile battle to prove a key development in the city would affect its World Heritage status.

The local authority has lost a tense public inquiry over the future of Falconer Chester's Elysian Fields development, in a ruling that will send shock waves through the city's conservation community.

The inquiry found that the architect's plans for a pavilion on top of a seven- to eightstorey building on Colquitt Street - located in the heart of Liverpool's historic centre - would not adversely affect views of the city's historic buildings.

This ruling comes despite the protestations of English Heritage (EH) and the city's World Heritage officer over a number of proposals.

A spokesperson for the project's developer, Iliad, said:'EH sent the World Heritage officer to the public hearing.

Our barrister picked numerous holes in his argument.'

However, EH denied it had objected to Iliad's current proposals, as was claimed by a statement released by local business lobbyists Downtown Liverpool in Business (DLIB).

The heritage body insisted it had only raised concerns about an earlier planning application for the site, also by Iliad and Falconer Chester.

An EH spokesperson said:'We are surprised and disappointed by the remarks attributed to DLIB, which are inaccurate and misleading.

'EH was not involved in any way with the recent public inquiry which dealt with the penthouse applications.'

Iliad submitted its first application for the site in 2002.

This was recommended for approval, but rejected by councillors after an objection by EH over its scale.

The developer reduced the scale of the scheme and it was approved. But two fresh application attempts by Iliad - to add penthouse accommodation - were not welcomed by the council. Both were rejected, and after appeals by Iliad, both went to public inquiry.

Now, Iliad is looking to recoup the substantial amount of money it has spent fighting its key legal battle.

The most recent ruling represents more than just a victory for one business. The decision is being trumpeted as a landmark case for enterprise across the city.

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