Saturday19 August 2017

Save considers pursuing legal case against Broadway Malyan scheme

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High Court judge found against charity in Lime Street demolition row

Save Britain’s Heritage is taking advice over whether to continue its legal battle against £35 million plans by Broadway Malyan to replace a historic terrace in Liverpool with student flats.

The charity has also launched an urgent campaign to raise £12,500 in three weeks to fund a possible appeal against a judge’s decision to deny it a judicial review of the Lime Street case.

A high court judge dismissed Save’s substantive application yesterday after a hearing before Christmas that was expedited after the developer claimed its financial backer might pull out if there was a long delay.

The case relates to a scheme that would replace a terrace of dilapidated Edwardian and Victorian buildings on a key street. They include the Futurist, Liverpool’s oldest purpose-built cinema.

The mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, welcomed the court’s decision and accused Save of bringing its case on “spurious grounds”.

“We want to get on with allowing the developers to invest in their vision and bring Lime Street up to a much higher standard than it has been for decades and one that is fitting for a major entry point into the city centre,” he said.

Save’s case challenged Liverpool council for failing to inform the Culture Department (DCMS) about the application before planning permission was granted.

It would be the DCMS that would decide whether to notify the World Heritage Committee about any possible impact on the “outstanding universal value” (OUV) of Liverpool’s World Heritage Site (WHS).

Save argued this meant proper consultation could not have taken place.

But the judge, Dame Frances Patterson, ruled that the city’s chief planning officer, Rob Burns, had properly assessed the matter before he concluded that the OUV would not be affected.

Patterson pointed out that Historic England had not objected to the scheme, a decision that Save branded “an oversight”.

Save director Clem Cecil said they did not agree with the decision and would now decide whether to apply for leave to appeal.

It was important to take a long-term view of Liverpool’s “gateway street” which leads from the station to the cathedrals, she said.

“The suggested replacement proposals are poor and, crucially, unnecessary,” she said. “They replace a coherent streetscape that has evolved over centuries with a monolithic student block and bland shopping centre. The fact that the street is in poor repair is not an excuse to tear it down.

“Save is staggered that [culture secretary] John Whittingdale MP is happy for this kind of crude destruction to take place in a UK WHS that is already on the At Risk list. This development may lead to it being deleted. Does he want this on his watch? We need to wake up before it’s too late.”

Liverpool’s World Heritage Site has been on the WHS At Risk list since 2012 because of Chapman Taylor’s controversial Liverpool Waters tower on the Mersey. The only other European site on the At Risk list is Kosovo’s medieval monuments, following the war in 1998.

Save’s barrister, Richard Harwood, said in his closing statement: “World Heritage Sites are usually placed on the At Risk list following war or natural disaster. Liverpool is on the list due to a series of bad planning decisions.”

The government is understood to be working with Historic England and the council on the status of Liverpool’s WHS.

Historic England said: “We will read the court judgement with interest and will consider its implications.”

Broadway Malyan said it could not comment.



Readers' comments (4)

  • Personally I now consider turning down a job with BM as a 'near miss'.

    Paid far better where I am now.

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  • Broadway Malayan just need to be stopped in general.

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  • The images from Broadway Malyan are unbelievable. Is it possible to design a more deadening street frontage?

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  • Good the scheme is horrendous. Liverpool Council should look beyond a quick fix, bad outcome solution just because they cannot be bothered to retain some valuable heritage.

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