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Liverpool in crushing landmark row

Liverpool planners are under fire for supporting a waterfront brick-crushing plant while recommending refusal for landmark projects.

The city's planning department has recommended approval for the scheme on Trafalgar Dock, which would recycle construction waste from BDP's Paradise Street development.

Among the high-profile schemes rejected is Ian Simpson's 50-storey Brunswick Quay tower, which was recently ditched despite initial support from committee members. Aedas' Tower West is also under threat.

'If you are looking for an injustice, you've got one there,' local councillor Jack Spriggs said. The former mayor said he believed Simpson's scheme should have been welcomed - unlike the crushing plant, which he said should meet stiff opposition.

If the brick plant remains on the site for its full three-year life cycle, it will still be on the riverfront in 2008, when the city begins its reign as European Capital of Culture.

Spriggs also feels planning officers have sidelined the planning committee about important decisions such as the city's draft tall buildings policy. He believes this was instrumental in the failure of the Simpson scheme.

'My main complaint is that it has taken so long to actually consider the application. I feel it was sharp practice waiting for a piece of local legislation so they had a reason for it not to go up', said Spriggs.

'The planning committee has been ignored on this policy - the executive officers have approved the draft without consulting committee members,' he added.

Frank McKenna, chairman of Downtown Liverpool in Business, the city's private-sector lobbying group, is also angry about the Simpson decision. 'When you look at the iconic building Simpson produced and then at the brick-crushing plant that was set for approval, it just seems odd,' he said.

'The tower looked positively spectacular compared to anything proposed previously or since.'

Brunswick Quay tower developer Maro Developments is to launch an appeal.

by Richard Waite

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