Four years after first unveiling its vision for a mixed-use transformation of 150 acres of derelict dockland in North Liverpool, Peel has submitted an application for a 14m sq ft development.
Huge as Liverpool Waters appears on paper, it marks a reduction of the original designs proposed by Peel in 2006 when it planned to build in excess of 20m sq ft. Talks with watchdogs English Heritage, CABE and Liverpool City Council resulted in building heights being restricted to 15 storeys at the waterside through most of the scheme. The tallest building will be the 55-storey Shanghai Tower between the City Lofts and multi-storey car park in Princes Dock. This was first mooted by Peel at 60 storeys but at 55 would still be the tallest building outside London.
Peel has local planning authority consent for the sister scheme, the 18m sq ft Wirral Waters on the opposite side of the River Mersey. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles will now decide whether a public inquiry is required. Peel said together, the £10bn combined Peel Waters, will be the largest regeneration scheme in the country.
Lindsey Ashworth, development director of Peel, said: "It is a fantastic and almost unbelievable achievement to get a scheme of this scale and nature to a point where a planning application can be submitted. With the amount of people involved in the process I have to say that it's been very difficult to get a general consensus of agreement but we have managed this because all the stakeholders are proud of Liverpool and want this project to be delivered and therefore have made massive efforts to get it to this stage. I really do appreciate everybody's efforts, motivation and willingness to explore innovative ways of finding solutions where no precedents exist.
"It has been a very costly exercise and there is much more to be done, but Peel believes that Liverpool can be a greater city and that Liverpool Waters will be a major part of its future and that it will all be worth the effort in the end."
Planning consultancy WYG has been leading the planning application under the direction of the Peel Group. Peel was keen to submit the Liverpool application before the World Expo in Shanghai closes at the end of October. Peel is the biggest private sponsor of the Liverpool pavilion and is seeking Chinese investors for its development.
Cllr Joe Anderson, Labour leader of Liverpool City Council, said: "Liverpool Waters is a hugely ambitious and exciting scheme which has the potential to bring about the transformation of an area which has been in need of regeneration for decades. The scale of the project is breathtaking and it will benefit generations to come. We, along with other agencies, have worked with Peel to help shape this scheme but we do recognise that there are great sensitivities attached to it and there will be full consultation before a decision is made as part of the normal planning procedure to ensure the best possible outcome for the city."