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Liverpool Lime Street Gateway Approved

With a decision that has surprised almost no-one Liverpool City Council have approved the planned Lime Street Gateway Tower that is hoped to sit on Concourse House adjacent to the busy Lime Street Rail Terminus in central Liverpool.

The tower once built will be 85 metres tall and 27 floors high, a reduction of three floors from the earlier proposals due to the proximity of the World Heritage Site. It will contain 152 apartments, and retail outlets on the lower floors to serve what is already an area bustling with pedestrians and passing trade.

The scheme has been embroiled in controversy thanks not to the design quality, massing, or placement but because of the support it has garnered whilst similar projects have been rejected.

The approval has come despite the rejection of the nearby Grand Central Lime Street tower that was feared would overshadow the world heritage site although Grand Central would be almost next door to the Gateway Tower as well as the existing St Johns Beacon, Liverpool's ex public viewing platform and now radio station. It has also been approved although it will require businesses to be relocated from their current premises, one of the issues that has tripped up the twice rejected Brunswick Quay and seen councillors vote clearly along party lines with the Labour members voting for and Liberal Democrats (with the exception of Doreen Jones) voting against.

The reason for this unfairness or at least the perception is simple - Lime Street Gateway has been worked on by Glen Howells Architects for developer English Partnerships. Amongst the bodies involved in this is Liverpool Vision, the main shareholder of which is Liverpool City Council so in effect the council are asked to vote on projects they building whilst rejecting rival projects.

Critics of the decisions claim this process creating a clear conflict of interest and partisan decision making from what should be an impartial planning committee even though councillors do have the right to vote any way they want regardless of the facts.

Liverpool Council are sure to argue in relation to the nearby rejected tower that the regeneration benefits for the Gateway Tower will substantially outweigh those of the Grand Central Tower in removing what is widely thought to be a sixties eyesore from existence and the fact that it is in a more prominent site. These points may be valid however the inconsistency of decisions which are made by the planning board remain.

In spite of of all the controversies thrown up by the approval of this project and rejection of other tall buildings in Liverpool now the council have given it the nod it will go ahead - there is clear intention to build from the developers and there is no legal mechanism for the jilted developers of other schemes to stop the project.

It willl not be without effect. The green lighting does give ammunition to Chieftain who seem determined to see their own neighbouring development go ahead and will no doubt use the councilís decision as an enhancer of their own arguments.

The political machinations of the planning regime in Liverpool are always interesting if predictable and this issue along with the repercussions will run for a good while yet. Coming next from a Liverpool Council near you - the rejection of Greenburgs Tower.

Article Related buildings:

Lime Street Gateway Tower

Lime Street Gateway Tower
Grand Central Lime Street

Grand Central Lime Street
Greenburgs Tower

Greenburgs Tower