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Fresh row flares up over heritage in Liverpool

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A row has erupted between Liverpool's heritage and commercial lobbies after a public inquiry backed a development previously damned for its impact on historic buildings in the city.

After inquiry chiefs ruled in favour of Falconer Chester's Elysian Fields development, representatives of Liverpool's development community slammed English Heritage's (EH's) 'influence' over planning matters.

But EH has hit back by playing down its involvement in the Elysian Fields decision.

A spokesperson for developer Iliad said: 'Basically EH sent the World Heritage Officer to the public hearing. Our barrister picked numerous holes in his argument.'

And business group Downtown Liverpool in Business (DLIB) expressed dismay at EH's involvement in the scheme going to inquiry in the first place.

But an EH spokesperson has played down the organisation's role in the development going to inquiry, and claimed it had only objected to an earlier incarnation of the project.

The inquiry concerned Iliad's application for a pavilion on top of its Colquitt Street development - located in the heart of Liverpool's historic centre.

The council had rejected the application, citing its bulk and impact on the city's World Heritage status. Iliad appealed against this decision, which led to the inquiry.

The EH spokesperson said: 'While it is true that EH objected to the original planning application to redevelop the former college site in Colquitt Street, when a revised application was submitted we did not object, nor did we object to further applications to raise the height of the building to include a penthouse apartment.'

by Rob Sharp

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