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Council chief blamed for 'scuppering' Liverpool redevelopment plans

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Regeneration guru David Taylor has blamed Liverpool's floundering redevelopment plans on just one man - Liverpool City council's chief executive David Henshaw.

Taylor, who failed in his attempts to get his Liverpool Central Dock project off the ground, believes the controversial bureaucrat needs to step down for the sake of the city and its Capital of Culture 2008 status.

Speaking at the Liverpool Property Forum on Wednesday, Taylor held Henshaw personally responsible for scuppering a number of high-profile schemes - including his own. He said: 'Henshaw has an agenda and anything that impinges on that must be resisted at all costs. If a scheme is not publicly driven, it is not going to happen.'

During the early stages of the Central Dock scheme, Taylor claims he had more than 50 meetings with the major players in Liverpool City Council, as well as more than 20 with Liverpool Football Club and at least 10 with the North West Development Agency. He also maintains that there was 'a lot of support' for the project at a 'lower level' within the council.

However, when it came to presenting the scheme to the chief executive he was confronted with stoney silence. He said: 'A large amount of work had gone into this with NBBJ who are world class architects and the scheme ticked all the boxes But we were not met with indifference - I would describe it as open antagonism.'

He added: 'We weren't made welcome or made to feel that our proposals would get a fair shot. I have worked across the country and I have never been met with a stonewall silence like that.'

Taylor, the mastermind behind the massive Silvertown Quays project in the Thames Gateway area, is now demanding that the city's lobby groups and business leaders unite to dislodge Henshaw and end years of chaotic planning decisions.

He said: 'The Chamber of Commerce has got to make an issue of it, only then will Henshaw back off. They have got to get together with Downtown Liverpool in Business and say enough is enough. This whole things needs to be looked at.'

'I don't want to rub salt in the wound but Manchester knows is exactly where it is going.'

Meanwhile, it is understood Ian Simpson's Brunswick Quay tower will again be turned down by planners when it comes before them for a second time in August. There are also rumours a skyscraper scheme by Falconer Chester Architects will also be rejected at the same meeting. These decisions could effectively knock back £200 million of private investment in the city.

by Richard Waite

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