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Simpson backs Brunswick heir

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Studio Egret West (SEW) has landed the project to design a replacement for Ian Simpson's doomed Brunswick Quay skyscraper scheme in Liverpool.

Intriguingly Simpson, who was kicked off the £120 million project in January, has now claimed that angry comments made following his exit influenced developer Maro's decision to plump for ex-Alsop duo Christophe Egret and David West.

After his departure from the much-delayed and repeatedly rejected 51-storey project, a frustrated Simpson said Maro had turned its back on 'ambitious design' and was looking instead for a 'non-iconic, lower-density scheme'.

But Maro has now appointed the up-and-coming SEW to take the waterfront project forward - rejecting bids from Broadway Malyan, BDP and local practice DTR Ormrod.

'I think what I said went to ensuring the quality of the new design,' Simpson said.

'I was disappointed and anxious that something poor was going to be built instead. But being provocative opened the door to a more creative approach and, in my heart, I had hoped something like this would happen.

'It's an excellent result all round and I'm happy to be proved wrong... I know both the guys [at SEW] and I think it will be good for Liverpool,' he added.

Meanwhile, it is understood that SEW and Maro have already had early discussions with Liverpool City Council (LCC) and that initial feedback was 'very positive'.

The new design team, expected to unveil a scheme that is dramatically different to Simpson's, will be anxious to get the authority on board.

During nearly four years of delays and setbacks Simpson failed to woo the council and, as he became increasingly exasperated, launched a withering attack on LCC.

Now Maro's Jamey Hargreaves believes he has found the winning formula. 'This site needs a scheme of vision and character, and we believe that SEW is the practice who can achieve that,' he said.

The appointment also gives SEW a second chance to build big on Liverpool's waterfront, following the collapse of Will Alsop's Cloud proposals. Both Egret and West worked on the original Fourth Grace scheme before it was ditched.

by Richard Waite

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