Peel waits to see if Pickles will call in Liverpool Waters

Peel Group's plans for Liverpool Waters were submitted to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles on Friday to decide if a public inquiry is needed, following completion of Section 106 negotiations with Liverpool City Council.

The £5.5bn, 150-acre project took six years to get outline planning consent, granted in March this year, and Peel development director Lindsey Ashworth is confident the plans won't now be called in.

He said: "This has been an extremely complicated project to get to this stage. There have been no precedents that we can draw from for guidance as it is a totally unique scheme, quite befitting for a unique city.

"We have diligently worked through every word and every sentence with the officers of Liverpool City Council to get the conditions to a stage where all the control mechanisms are in place, but not so over-restrictive that it frightens off potentially interested investors or tenants.

"We are delighted with the final set of documentation which shows that true partnership between the public and private sector exists to the benefit of the people of Liverpool.

"We are confident that our Government will share the same view so we can all move on to create a new addition to this fantastic waterfront and perhaps more importantly create thousands of jobs for local people over many decades."

Pickles did not call in the neighbouring and larger Wirral Waters proposals by Peel after they won local planning permission from Wirral Council. The Government has also designated Liverpool and Wirral Waters as enterprise zones, with special tax and planning powers to encourage development.

Liverpool's planning committee approved conditions relating to timescales, height of buildings and phasing of works last month. The tallest buildings would be contained in two specific areas with a maximum height of 55 storeys. The total development would take 30 years to build.

Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Joe Anderson, said: "It's taken several months of negotiation and discussion with Peel to secure the conditions agreed at the planning committee earlier this year. This is the biggest planning application that the city council has ever considered, running to thousands of pages. It has been extremely important to get the detail of the conditions right before submitting the application to Government.

"I'm delighted we are now delivering these plans which I am confident will fully convey to the Secretary of State our ability to deliver this vitally important regeneration scheme, while protecting our architectural heritage.

"Liverpool Waters has the potential to transform a part of the city that has been in desperate need of investment for decades. The scheme will create thousands of jobs and opportunities for the local population, as well as providing new housing and attracting new businesses and visitors."

The plans contain 9,000 homes and 3m sq ft of commercial development, a cruise liner terminal, hotels, shops, restaurants and leisure facilities.

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Liverpool Waters will be a fantastic project and I hope Eric Pickles does not call in a public enquiry.

By Mr. B. Robinson