It’s official. Liverpool Waters, the £5.5bn scheme to redevelop the vast swathe of dockland to the North of Liverpool City Centre, has the green light from the Government.

The council, led by Mayor Joe Anderson, had pushed hard for the right to regenerate the Bootle dockland, much of which is unused and derelict, with Peel Holdings, whose Liverpool Waters scheme will see a 50-year project create 3m square foot of commercial development, almost 10,000 new homes and a promised 20,000 jobs.

Liverpool Waters will also include a new cruise liner terminal and leisure facilities such as restaurants, shops and hotels.

Critics of the scheme had pointed to the potential impact on the Liverpool skyline, with English Heritage lodging a formal objection, while UNESCO suggested that Liverpool may lose its coveted World Heritage status for its stunning waterfront, should the scheme go ahead.

However, a bullish council argued that Liverpool badly needs private investment if it is to remain relevant in a changing landscape of austerity economics and a city that is forecast to shrink over coming decades.

In judging that the Liverpool Waters scheme can proceed without public inquiry, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has cleared the last remaining formal obstacle to the redevelopment.

Joe Anderson, who spoke to us recently of his sadness at having to implement budget cuts, signalled his delight at the news:

“This is fantastic news for Liverpool. I’m absolutely delighted that the Secretary of State shares the confidence we have in our ability to deliver this vitally important regeneration scheme, while protecting our architectural heritage.

“Today’s announcement marks the start of a new era for Liverpool, paving to way to us delivering a world class development which will transform a part of the city that has been in desperate need of investment for decades.
“Liverpool Waters will create thousands of jobs and opportunities for local people, as well as providing new housing and attracting new businesses and visitors.
“It’s a huge boost for our city and yet more evidence that despite the recession, regeneration is forging ahead here. We can now look forward to the plans moving forward on this once-in-a-lifetime scheme which will bring huge, lasting benefits to future generations in this city.
Anderson also sounded what could be a conciliatory note to those who feared that the development could be unsympathetic to Liverpool’s famous waterfront, indicating that Peel will be expected to work within set parameters relating to timescales, building heights and phasing of works.

“It’s vital that Peel delivers these plans in a way which meets the conditions set out by the planning committee and we’ll be working closely with them to make sure this is achieved,” said Anderson.

UNESCO had voiced its concern that the height and placement of certain building in Peel’s original plans would dwarf the World Heritage Site and destroy its architectural and cultural value; English Heritage also added its voice to those opposed to the development. Peel Holdings and the Council subsequently worked together to adapt the plans, before submitting them to the Government.

It is not yet clear how UNESCO will respond to the news, having previously suggested that the World Heritage status could be revoked.

Development Director of Peel, Lindsey Ashworth, said the go-ahead would be good news for Liverpool’s efforts to compete in a globalised economy.

“This consent will open up opportunities and new prospects to link our UK businesses with other international businesses such as Asia.

“All cities in the UK have to compete with each other and each has to compete with rival European Cities. Liverpool is now well placed to be alongside the best of the best.

“For Central Docks securing this planning permission is the end of the beginning and the start of another exciting phase of its life that will add to the beauty of Liverpool’s Waterfront and the economic strength of the Liverpool region.”

Liverpool Waters forms only part of an overall masterplan for the Mersey, with a parallel development of the waterfront at Birkenhead planned to create the Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone. Together the two Liverpool developments form part of the massive Atlantic Gateway project that will see Liverpool and Manchester form a global redevelopment hub, bridging the gap between Mersey Waters and Port Salford, which includes Media City.

The Mersey Waters scheme is by far the most ambitious of a number of regeneration projects currently underway or in planning in Liverpool. Major schemes on-site include four new hotels, the refurbishment of the Cunard Building, the rebuilding of the Everyman Theatre, the restoration of Liverpool Central Library which re-opens in May, three major health schemes and 2,515 new homes, including the £25 million Anfield Village development.

14 Responses to “Official: Liverpool Waters Is Go”

  1. Whilst
    they have now given the green light to Liverpool Waters and its
    thousands of jobs, the government have refused to provide (at no real
    cost to the government) ESF continuation funding for the Liverpool in
    Work service. This will mean that the free information, advice and
    guidance service which engages with some of Liverpool’s long term
    unemployed and supports them back into work will be facing massive cuts,
    leaving a hollowed out service unable to effectively support long term
    unemployed people into work. This makes it more likely for the 20,000
    jobs in this story to go to people already job ready instead of the most
    needy. You can say this for the government, what they give with one
    hand they sure know how to take with the other!

  2. The picture is from before the council and Peel resubmitted their plans. I wonder if that means the revised plans don’t include the Shanghai Tower, particularly as Joe mentions the agreed parameters of the agreed development (Re: tower heights).

  3. I think the question needs asking. The tower in your image cuts a dash, but I can’t see anything comparable in the up to date images, unless I’m really missing something.

    I have to say from the latest renders, it doesn’t look “all that” to me anymore – more like just a run of the mill office park development with a few low to medium capacity tall buildings, rather than anything that a global corp could call “home”. Every time I look at it it seems to me to have shrunk some more.

    The initial plan for reams of skyscrapers always seemed outlandish to me, but I I would have thought there has to be something that generates excitement in order to attract investment, and certainly the earlier versions of the project were something not seen anywhere else in the UK.

    Given the scale of the original plan – is this still a £5bn project I wonder?

  4. Ah yes you’re right, I can see it signposted in the video at one point. It looks like it has changed shape as well.

    I much preferred the tall, bold cylindrical tower than what they have in their renders now – not keen on this tower one bit. And fingers crossed by the time they come to build it they will have decided not to put a “box” on top of it too a la Unity Building!!

  5. Maggie Zeen

    Blimey, I thought Mr Lloyd’s Mathew Street “autopsy” was just a verbatum PR release from the Mayor, with added gush. I was almost starting to think he must have taken a job with the council press. Where there two jobs going?

  6. I could have pointed you to the many critical articles I’ve written about the council and Liverpool Waters, but if your opening gambit on a clearly signposted news report is something about council propaganda then I’m not inclined to waste my time.

  7. M.Bellion

    Pretty much sums up what I thought. After about 10 years of seeing some
    amazing designs that were going to rival London, Shanghai, Tokyo, New York,
    Singapore and try to make Liverpool a global city, have in fact been slowly
    dwindled away to what is little more than a handful of featureless tower blocks
    and a load of brown-brick accommodation.

    The Shanghai tower has gone from a showpiece iconic tower that would rival
    the likes of Petronas, Chystler, Tai Pai 101 etc to such a bland building, they
    actually have had to write ‘Shanghai Tower’ on the side just so you notice it
    as now it looks like nothing more than a standard tower block office building.

    Why have they allowed themselves to be bullied into dumbing this down into
    something that will barely be noticeable in a few years’ time?

    Also, has anyone else noticed that this new design in fact abandons all
    development of skyscrapers and city on the actual site? The towers are on
    Princes Dock, from there on down it’s all 5 story apartment blocks.

    This is a massive disappointment for Liverpool, wrapped up to look like something
    amazing. Still at least The Wirral will have a skyline, perhaps one day we can
    look across the river at what should have been.

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