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Skyscrapers OK for Liverpool's World Heritage waterfront


Airport and docks group Peel Holdings has welcomed a decision by Liverpool planners to allow skyscrapers in the World Heritage site buffer zone

It paves the way for the city’s biggest-ever regeneration project, a £5.5 billion proposal to build high-rise buildings in the city’s northern Central Docks area (see above slideshow for early visuals of the proposal).

The go-ahead is contained in a council report that was ordered by Unesco after the latter raised fears that the historic waterfront was not being properly safeguarded.

The Liverpool Waters development blueprint originally confined high-rise buildings to two areas: the commercial district around Old Hall Street and Parliament Street’s ‘southern gateway’.

But after consultations, the city has approved high-rise buildings in Central Docks, and mid-rise buildings – between seven and 15 storeys – in the quayside area north of Salisbury Dock, which also forms part of the Liverpool Waters scheme.

City officials said the new supplementary planning document will protect key views of landmark buildings, help conserve historic buildings, and positively encourage new developments and the demolition of existing buildings that have a ‘negative impact on the urban environment’.


Readers' comments (58)

  • Now that's a strong vision. I can think of at least one other major city along the M62 corridor that could take a serious lesson from this.....

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  • The great and the good of Liverpool have already proven with the new museum on the "Fourth Grace" site that they care not for the World Heritage site, so this is no surprise at all.

    If this were the Taj Mahal, or the pyramids, would Unesco be taking the same decision? Of course not.

    Just goes to show what WH staus actually means in the context of a city such as Liverpool.

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  • Indeed. Although the planners and councillors in Liverpool have pretty much messed up the waterfront as it is, and really, you have to wonder if it deserves its WHS status any longer.

    Have they discussed this with the DCMDs and UNESCO's World Heritage Centre? Or are they so arrogant they don't care?

    Or are they going hell for leather to b*gger up the WHS so that that status is eventually removed? No doubt developers such as Peel Holdings would welcome that. The rest of us, for whom the UK government contracted to look after those WHS, will be impoverished of course.

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  • This is the council that managed to have one of its new waterfront buildings designated Carbuncle of the Year 2009?

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  • Re comment number 2.

    This isn't UNESCO's plan. This is Liverpool's. Don't confuse the two. UNESCO hasn't taken this decision.

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  • To all those pessimists,
    May I reiterate that it is the 3 graces and the Albert dock that
    Form our WHS, not the waterfront itself.
    This approval will enable the red tape to be lifted and progress the
    Area forward, not to encapsulate it in the past.
    As for the pyramids comment, that reader must not have ever been
    As it neighbouring buildings are in fact a KFC and a Burger king and a whole
    Heap of dross which I am sure will not be the case in the detailed application
    For our WHS!

    Kind regards,

    Nick Serridge | Architect

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  • You know it is very sad indeed watching what is happening in my home town.
    Watching the city being carved up by the North Invested Interests Development Authority and its new Chairman Robert Hough who was a Executive of Peel Holdings.
    Peel Holdings have now cancalled the proposed Panamax terminal in Liverpool Seaforth and have just circumnavavigated Liverpools Port by having plans approved for a new port in.....Salford, Manchester along the Manchester Ship Canal which they own. Near to the Trafford Centre...that they own. How many jobs will br e lost in Liverpool as a result.


    What is worse is that idiotic and churlish debate ensues by those with the invested interests and the local press are effectivly the PR company for Peel.

    Oh and dont tell me its going to be Ichonic.......just like the Terminal Ferry Building, the son of New Museum on the Pier Head.

    The tradgedy is indeed that Unesco, who recieve 15% of funding from the UK government who have a permenant delegation in Paris have allowed the mess to unfold.
    And as for the Supplementary planning document that is not worth the paper it is written because it was put together by the City Council who have done the damage.
    I wished we could turn the clock back but we are in the throes of an architectural disaster and Peels proposals will only put another several thousand empty apartments onto the market for people whose jobs have been shipped down the Manchester Ship Canal to Salford.
    Wayne Colquhoun
    Liverpool Preservation Trust

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  • I blame Thatcher.

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  • I blame Lady Doreen Jones.
    Wife of Sir Trevor Jones, and chairman of Liverpool City Council Planning Committee, she passed as OK all the plans for the buildings which now make an awful mess of the once proud Liverpool waterfront. Views of the World Heritage site are now obstructed from every possible angle by the most godawful architecture, so out of place as to be reminiscent of a 60s new town.
    Her final act was to sanction the ferry terminal, which was awarded the Carbuncle Cup.

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  • Liverppol World Heritage Site


    28COM 14B.49 - Nominations of Cultural Properties to the World Heritage List (Liverpool - Maritime Mercantile City)
    Decision Text

    The World Heritage Committee,

    1. Inscribes Liverpool - Maritime Mercantile City, United Kingdom, on the World Heritage List on the basis of cultural criteria (ii), (iii) and (iv):

    Criterion (ii): Liverpool was a major centre generating innovative technologies and methods in dock construction and port management in the 18th and 19th centuries. It thus contributed to the building up of the international mercantile systems throughout the British Commonwealth.

    Criterion (iii): The city and the port of Liverpool are an exceptional testimony to the development of maritime mercantile culture in the 18th and 19th centuries, contributing to the building up of the British Empire. It was a centre for the slave trade, until its abolition in 1807, and for emigration from northern Europe to America.

    Criterion (iv): Liverpool is an outstanding example of a world mercantile port city, which represents the early development of global trading and cultural connections throughout the British Empire.

    2. Recommends that the authorities pay particular attention to monitoring the processes of change in the World Heritage areas and their surroundings in order
    not to adversely impact the property. This concerns especially changes in use and new construction.

    3. Requests that the State Party, in applying its planning procedures rigorously, assure that:

    a) the height of any new construction in the World Heritage property not exceed that of structures in the immediate surroundings,
    b) the character of any new construction respect the qualities of the historic area,
    c) new construction at the Pier Head should not dominate, but complement the historic Pier Head buildings;

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