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Simpson anger as tower scheme stalls on Mersey

Ian Simpson has sparked a row with Liverpool's city leaders after he accused them of stalling over his 50-storey Brunswick Quay tower scheme.

The architect claims some of the most influential people within Liverpool City Council, including its leader Mike Storey, are letting the city down by failing to give the £70 million riverside project the green light.

Simpson said: 'I don't think the leaders are properly performing their civil duties and by ignoring this opportunity they are doing a disservice to the city.

'We really want to work with the city and we would rather work in a partnership than be antagonistic. But that dialogue just doesn't exist.

'Storey says we should just ring him, but that's a joke.

Nobody wants to talk about it - they are sticking their heads in the sand.' According to Simpson, other cities such as Leeds and Manchester would not have allowed the planning process to drag on for nearly 18 months, and he feels Liverpool's leaders are lacking that 'can do' factor.

'Architecture is about uplifting cities and there is a grass-roots desire to see change happen, ' Simpson added. 'With support and confidence we could bring forward some exciting and creative schemes, but architects and developers are feeling quite frustrated.' The Brunswick Quay project is not the first major building scheme in Liverpool to have hit choppy waters in the past few months, with Will Alsop's high-profile Fourth Grace proposal controversially dumped this summer. But a council spokesman was unimpressed by Simpson's outburst.

'These comments - and a recent speech by Simpson - are a very strange way of not being antagonistic, pecially when the council leader has made it very clear that he is prepared to meet him, ' he said.

'A meeting has been arranged for next week between Simpson and his colleagues, the council's executive director of regeneration Charlie Parker, and senior planners.

'We repeat that we will not allow an individual or a property developer to interfere with consideration of a planning application, ' he added. 'We are not going to be lectured to by developers when we are delivering a huge amount of regeneration.'

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