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Woods Bagot Liverpool tower mauled by EH

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English Heritage (EH) has slammed plans to build a 38-storey tower behind Liverpool's Central Station.

The heritage organisation has branded Woods Bagot's £160 million mixed-use skyscraper scheme in the heart of the city as 'overly dominant' and has recommended that the city's planners turn it down.

Despite assurances from the practice that it had carried out extensive pre-application consultation before the project was officially unveiled in September ( Woods Bagot looks tall in Liverpool), there were rumours EH had serious concerns about the height of the main, residential tower.

Now, in a statement released to the AJ today, the body has made its views public. A spokesman said: 'EH supports the need to redevelop the Central Station site and the current proposal has considerable merit - but we have concerns about the height of the proposed tall building.

'[We] feel that this proposed very tall building on this particular site would have a detrimental effect on the setting of highly graded listed buildings and the Ropewalks Conservation Area.

'In addition, it would be overly dominant on the Liverpool skyline from some key perspectives, such as across the Mersey, which is currently dominated by the two historic cathedrals.

'Taking these factors into consideration, EH has recommended that this application is refused.'

The organisation now wants to meet with both the developers, Merepark and Ballymore, and Liverpool City Council to 'discuss an alternative scheme with a less intrusive tall-building element.'

The move will not come as a shock to many architects or developers hoping to get the go-ahead for tall schemes in the North West city. Liverpool's World Heritage Site status has been repeatedly blamed for holding back development across the city.

Meanwhile, a source at Wood Bagot's London office denied that it had been asked to redesign the scheme.

by Richard Waite

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