• Kevin Murphy

Liverpool Waters

Once again developers and conservationists are at odds over a new regeneration scheme this time in the port city of Liverpool. The complaints are over new oversized buildings that Henrietta Billings director of Save Britains Heritage says it is a threat to the city as well as the waterfront. Unesco has indicated that it would remove from Liverpool from its world heritage site list if plans for a major development proceeds at the citys’ famous docks perhaps as soon as 2018.

Recently Ms. Billings warned:

“This is the final warning shot.”

“Losing world heritage status because of crass planning decisions would be an international embarrassment, as well as a hugely costly mistake.”

At risk are the Three Graces at Pier Head that have been part of the Liverpool skyline for almost a century that includes The Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool building.

Liverpool Waters Development

At issue is the new development by the Peel Group and its 30-year plan for one of the largest single-ownership port-city developments in Europe. The developer states:

‘Liverpool Waters is one part of the wider ‘Atlantic Gateway’ project, which includes over 50 contributory projects to be delivered over many decades.’

The massive 60 hectare £5 billion project will extend almost 2km on the River Mersey with 18.3 million square feet of commercial and residential space. Plans for the development were approved in 2012.

The project offers a variety of opportunities for developers, investors, land purchasers and occupiers across an eclectic mix of sectors including residential, offices, hotel, retail & leisure and signature buildings.

As for new planned adjacent developments include Everton’s new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock which had been the main component of Liverpool’s 2022 Commonwealth Games bid along with an athletes’ village.

A new Isle of Man ferry terminal will be built at Princes Half tide dock and has received £3.5 million from the Manx Government to replace the current ageing terminal. In July the Isle of Man’s Phil Gawne the infrastructure minister said when the plans were approved:

“It is very much my hope that the new facility will act as a gateway to the Isle of Man that provides a positive view of our national identity and economic success, as well as providing good facilities for all those using the ferry service.”

A new cruise terminal is planned to be located on the Mersey at Princes Jetty with the new passenger facility just 300 metres north of the current terminal and capable of handling turnaround cruises carrying up to 3,600 passengers. In 2016 Liverpool had 60 vessels with 120,000 passengers and staff visit the city. A new two storey building will be constructed on reclaimed land for the drop off and pick up of passengers. Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson says:

“Liverpool’s cruise industry has blossomed over the past decade helping to transform the tourism appeal of Liverpool and give the Mersey a new lease of life.

“It has been one of the city’s great success stories but we’re now at the stage where we need to relocate if we are to welcome the next generation of super liners.”

The Peel development also has plans for the Central Docks with tall buildings near the Clarence Dock Power Station along with a planned ‘cultural building’ located on the waterfront to attract visitors for the development.

In the northern section of Liverpool Waters are plans for mainly housing construction including the locations of Stanley and Collingwood Docks to Nelson and for Bramley-Moore Docks depending on the Commonwealth Games decision and a new stadium for Everton.

Liverpool Waters plans on bringing to the market two new towers as planning permission has been granted for Peel’s proposed £21 million ‘Plaza 1821’ being built for the Regenda Group, and Your Housing Group’s Hive City Docks. The setting for the towers will be at Princes Dock that will be part of five planned neighbourhoods. The 105 homes will feature one and two bedroom floorplans. Another building in plans for future construction is The Lexington

Plaza 1821 is named after the year Princes Dock opened and will be a private rental sector (PRS) development, the first of its kind for Peel Land and Property. Plaza 1821 will be managed by Redwing Living, a Liverpool-based property company which is a subsidiary of the Regenda Group.

Neil Baumber, Peel Land and Property’s residential director, said:

“Plaza 1821 is the latest and significant piece in the jigsaw for Peel’s vision at Liverpool Waters, as it will bring much needed quality residential apartments to a vibrant waterfront location.”

Martin Davies, director of development at Regenda, said:

“Plaza 1821 is a landmark project for Regenda. It marks our biggest ever investment – made even more special because it’s right here in Liverpool, where we’re proudly based. The vision for Liverpool Waters is truly spectacular, something that will further enhance our city region.

“We recognised this unique opportunity to work with Peel to create a distinctive scheme with a ‘wow factor’ worthy of Liverpool’s waterfront.”

Troubled Waters

One of the main complaints by conservationists and Unesco is the planned 34-storey, £82m skyscraper to be developed at Liverpool's Princes Dock by Moda Living. The new tower will provide upscale residential units and amenities. One aspect is the emphasis of the buildings appeal for the rental sector.

In a recent survey by the Residential Landlords Association found Liverpool was the UK’s top spot for buy-to-let rental yield.

Mortgage broker Private Finance, the city offers a rental yield of 8% for landlords after mortgage costs have been deducted. An average cost of housing in the city is at £122,283 with rents averaging £1,021 per month.

But the buildings location has infuriated Save Britian’s Heritage and Unesco with threats of heritage status to be taken away for this Liverpool waterfront location. However, in July at its Istanbul meeting The World Heritage Committee decided not to de-list the Maritime Mercantile City site from its heritage listing.

Unesco did issue statements asking Peel “to reduce the urban density and height of the proposed development”

Isabelle Anatole-Gabriel of Unesco said: “Substantial reduction in the urban density and particularly height of new buildings is required to avert this threat.”

There was a suggestion of a ‘buffer zone’ with development suspended for two years even though the tower was approved by the planning commission last September with Heritage England staying that the new tower would not impact the sites listing by World Heritage.

The situation for Everton's new stadium may be in question as it was announced on 7 September that Birmingham has been chosen as the host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

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