We all know how important our city’s World Heritage status is.
However, there is some concern that the status has the potential to have an adverse impact on Liverpool’s growth and future economic prosperity. Now I am not stating that we should NOT keep hold our beloved Heritage status with both hands, but I am stating that there is a very distinct cost and are we prepared to lose even more ground with Cities like Manchester because of our Heritage status, I have written this post to highlight the path that we are on, as we need to create a debate on this matter, you never know there may be an alternative route.
Here is an excerpt from a Liverpool Echo article in 2008;
“A ban on any Liverpool city centre building work at all over the next 18 months may be imposed by World Heritage bosses, council chiefs fear.
Confusing wording in a UNESCO document discussing stripping Liverpool of its World Heritage Site status has been interpreted by some council heritage experts as meaning there can be no development at all in the area
A meeting last month saw the Liverpool World Heritage Site Steering Group resolve to ask central government to intervene on the city’s behalf to check with world heritage bosses that this is not the case.
Liverpool council told the ECHO it was seeking clarification on the ban but for now it is ‘business as usual’ with planning applications being approved and building work continuing.
The confusion relates to wording in a report about a meeting in Germany at the end of June which saw global heritage bosses from UNESCO discuss plans to strip Liverpool of its World Heritage status because of the multi-billion pound Liverpool Waters skyscraper project.
A spokesman for Liverpool council said: “At its annual World Heritage Committee meeting in Bonn, UNESCO has said that there should be a moratorium on development until December 2016.
“Unfortunately it is unclear which parts of the World Heritage Site this ‘moratorium’ would relate to”
Liverpool’s Heritage V Liverpool Development
As people who follow Signature Living’s developments will know, I have become quite attached to our city’s extraordinary heritage over the last couple of years and I, like many other proud Scouser’s, will guard this amazing status that has been gifted to us by our forefathers, that have created many of our amazing structures and we will be forever indebted to them.
Yet there is a larger issue that lies beneath our UNESCO World Heritage status and that is a battle we are losing with our rival Manchester.
Manchester will one day be known as one of the best cities in the world and it is a much stronger economic powerhouse than Liverpool. Why? Because they have a much stronger development statement unlike Liverpool, they do not have a World Heritage status that forces their planning department to ask permission for the development of any building that dares to venture above our rooftops.
Manchester city centre has over 50 impressive skyscrapers that have now gained full planning, which is more than all the rest of the U.K put together with the exception of London.
Due to this, and the investment that they have gained from the Far East, the city now even has close ties with the President of China who has visited Manchester to underline their future partnership and agree future developments. This is unprecedented. If Liverpool were able to follow the same dynamic path, business in our city would be booming.”
In fact, Liverpool is even more appealing to overseas investment because of our geographical location and gateway to the Atlantic and dare I say we have so much more to shout about, they have a canal, we have the Mersey, they have Oasis we have the Beatles. They maybe slightly ahead on the football stakes, but then that is all they have and we have the Titanic.
It is true that Liverpool is thriving but we could do even better.
I should know – Signature Living is in the eye of the storm. We understand the parameters that we need to abide by to gain £300 million pounds worth of our funding requirements for 2016 and our task has been become greased due to property bargains that can be obtained when you put similar buildings from Liverpool alongside buildings of similar ilk in Manchester.
Manchester enjoyed a meteoric rise – from humble beginnings, as a minor Lancastrian township, into the pre-eminent industrial metropolis of the United Kingdom and the world.
As we all know timing is everything and we as a city are at a very profound crossroad. Do we abide by our UNESCO World Heritage status that does not allow us to build higher than our existing rooftops or do we develop this great city? We could create a new skyline which does not interfere with our beloved 3 Graces (which is something I strongly support) I believe that there should be no skyscrapers that dominate the skyline behind our Graces, this will allow our planners to find a way that allows us to sit at the same table as Manchester and you never know we may just be able to drink from the same cup. This will give the fluidity of much needed funds to hit our shores and thus create thousands of jobs and investment, even better we can restart our very successful tourism offer, to ensure the great work of Visit Liverpool can be reignited, I for one have basked in the glory through the success of Signature Living, with their great work but I am very mindful that this momentum will without any doubt slow down. This City has become a tourism destination in its own right and unless we become more entrepreneurial there is a possibility that it may diminish. Above all, sustainability and growth would allow Liverpool to achieve what our forefathers hoped that we would always achieve.
It seems to me that we have been thrown into the ring and we have to fend for ourselves. The issue here is that we have been placed in a heavy weight world title clash, with our hands firmly tied behind our back and we are taking blows, I should know I sit at the table with many funds who are looking to park their capital in our City, but we simply do not have the volume to appease them, unlike Manchester, but just imagine for a minute that we did have the planning permission to build these great buildings, we would actually beat Manchester, due to one simple factor we will be offering much better value. Manchester’s new build offer is at around £400 per foot and Liverpool has only just risen to £250. To give our figures some credence, our Shankly Hotel has been sold to our investors at just £200 per foot, our next on Old Hall Street will be at £250 per square foot.
In other words we are walking away from billions of pounds of potential investment and a huge economic boost. From Sydney to Singapore, Dubai to New York City, cities all over the world are deemed by the height of their skyscrapers. They symbolise wealth and prosperity and in-still confidence. Here in Liverpool, we are left with just a Beetham Tower, which cascades to 40 floors. Manchester’s tallest building hits 47 floors.
The issue here is are we prepared to stand by and accept that our amazing City can be dwarfed by our nearest rival, or can we gain a greater definition of what Unesco really want from our City, why are we allowing Unesco to sit in their ivory tower and pour scorn upon what we are trying to achieve here, what is wrong with bringing prosperity, jobs and people to our great City.
I do believe that with debate we can harmonise the desire of a city with the credibility of Heritage.
There is just one caveat that I feel that I must add to this post, if we are to build any new structure’s in our City, then we must ensure that we do not allow the developers any scope to plead poverty and due to this they put volume over design. All new developments must be of the highest standards and should serve our City as beacons to reflect what this City is built upon.