The 'cloak of conservation' you refer to in Liverpool (AJ 22.1.04) simply does not exist. All of the organisations and agencies working in Liverpool, including those from the heritage sector, recognise the need for sustained regeneration and growth in the city. What we are witnessing in Liverpool is an increasing confidence that development and the historic environment can, when linked in an informed and creative way, deliver highly successful and, above all, characterful regeneration.
Liverpool was deservedly proposed by the UK government for consideration as a World Heritage Site in 1999. The bid was submitted by Liverpool City Council with the full support of a wide range of organisations outside the heritage sector, including Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, Liverpool Vision and the North West Development Agency. The World Heritage Site Management Plan is intended to help manage change sensitively, not to stop it. After all, without economic growth, many of the city's historic buildings will be lost. Liverpool's historic environment played a decisive part in the successful bid for European Capital of Culture in 2008.
World heritage status, if granted, will provide an even longerlasting impetus for the city's growth, returning it to the world stage after a century's absence.
With regard to the Falconer Chester scheme, we have from the outset supported the removal of the existing building on the Colquitt Street site. We have also consistently said the proposed replacement does not respond appropriately to the grain and existing character of the Ropewalks area. We would have held this view even if there were no proposed World Heritage Site. The picture painted of English Heritage 'forcing planners to refuse' is entertaining but entirely misplaced. The application has not yet been determined and I have the greatest confidence that the council will reach an informed and carefully judged decision on the merits of the scheme.
Malcolm Cooper, English Heritage director for the North West