Liverpool City Council leader, Cllr Warren Bradley, challenged Peel Holdings to submit its first Liverpool Waters planning application, for the 60-storey Shanghai Tower, in the coming months.
Bradley told delegates at this morning's Liverpool & Manchester Property Forum conference, held in the Racquet Club, Liverpool: "I am going out next week with Peel to Shanghai as we did last year and will be holding more discussions around the Shanghai Tower.
"We have no Shanghai businesses in Liverpool yet we have a civic agreement with Shanghai [as twinned cities] and it is fundamental that we get some corporate presence from here.
"We are working continually with Peel to deliver Liverpool Waters and hopefully over the next couple of months a tower planning application will go in to start the scheme."
Bradley was responding to reports that Peel's development director Lindsey Ashworth has threatened to withdraw from the entire £10bn, 120-acre Liverpool Waters scheme in the north docks if it is called in for a planning application. Peel also wants to see a new planning authority devised to handle the scheme and the wider Ocean Gateway, £50bn programme of investment, along the Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal.
Also speaking at the LMPF event, Mark Chadwick, from Professional Liverpool, urged the council to support the Liverpool Waters plans, a sentiment echoed by many in the audience. The council has concerns over the impact on the rest of the city of building a new district for 50,000 residents and millions of square feet of offices. Planners have asked Peel to produce impact assessment reports covering transport, employment, environment and neighbouring areas.
Over a year ago, Peel ran a design contest among four architects to build the £500m, 1m sq ft, mixed-use Shanghai Tower planned for Princes Half Tide Dock. However, no winner has been announced from Broadway Malyan, Benoy, Chapman Taylor and AFL.
The tower concept is meeting with objections from Liverpool's planners and advisory bodies such as CABE over the idea of building on a historic dock – Peel wants to build in the water – next to the city's World Heritage Site.