Proposed Liverpool Waters development has planning permission by Liverpool City Council but come under attack from CABE, English Heritage and Unesco

Artist's impression of the Liverpool Waters regeneration scheme
Artist's impression of the Liverpool Waters regeneration scheme

The £5.5bn development, masterplanned by Chapman Taylor and bankrolled by the Peel Group, aims to regenerate Liverpool’s historic docks on the Mersey River. Plans for the 60ha site, which were unveiled in March 2007, include a mix of residential, commercial and office facilities, as well as visitor attractions.

The criticism has centred on the scheme’s numerous high-rise landmark structures, including the 55-storey Shanghai Tower.

In late February, English Heritage sent a strongly worded letter to Liverpool City Council citing the cluster of tall buildings at Clarence Dock that it said would “overwhelm the historic, horizontal character of the docklands”.

Henry Owen-John, English Heritage’s North West planning director, wrote: “We believe that the harm is so serious and the value of the heritage so significant that national government should consider whether the matter should be called in for its own determination.”

CABE also weighed in, sending a letter – its second – to the council in early February. While acknowledging Liverpool Water’s potential, it warned of the scheme’s “weakly expressed masterplan” and asked that the design team revise its parameters for design quality.

A further jab came from Unesco, which has threatened to strip Liverpool of its World Heritage Site status if construction goes ahead.

Despite the criticism, the development was granted planning permission by Liverpool City Council on 6 March. However, the final decision rests with the UK government, which can either approve the scheme or call for a public inquiry.

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