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Wirral interest may see 'Cloud' back on Mersey

Will Alsop's axed Fourth Grace project looks set to cause more controversy after it was revealed that the abandoned scheme could be built just miles away from its original site.

Negotiations are already under way to bring the controversial 'Cloud' development across the Mersey to the Wirral, where it could become a casino or entertainment complex.

Alsop warned he would take the scheme elsewhere within a week of Liverpool City Council's decision to drop the proposals back in July (AJ 29.7.04).

The council maintains that spiralling costs - an increase of £96 million from the initial forecast - were to blame for the scheme's collapse. However, it now appears that Reddington Finance, the consortium that owns the former Cammell Laird shipyard on the Wirral, is prepared to back the proposals.

Alsop Architects' David West played down the rumours. 'We read something new about the 'Cloud' every day and some reports say we are already in negotiations about costings, ' he said. 'However, we would love to be involved in the Wirral and are interested in one or two sites.

We have been in talks with Mike Ryder at Reddington Finance, but that is as far as it goes.' It is also understood that developers in Birmingham have expressed interest in the 'Cloud' to help trigger regeneration.

l Elsewhere on the Wirral, Mersey Waterfront Regional Park and the local council are funding a £130,000 study to establish whether an iconic landmark - similar to the Statue of Liberty - should be built off the Wirral's coast. Sculptor Tom Murphy has already drawn up plans for a 55m statue of Poseidon, which, it is hoped, would rival attractions such as the Angel of the North.

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