Liverpool Zipwire
The zip wire would pass over St John's Gardens, home to several historic monuments

Victorian Society mounts legal challenge to zip wire

Dan Whelan

The heritage organisation, which campaigns for the protection of Victorian and Edwardian architecture, has requested a judicial review of Liverpool City Council’s decision to grant permission for the controversial attraction, claiming that the applicant should have been obliged to seek listed building consent. 

Approved in June, Zip World’s £4m proposal to install a 400-metre zip wire between St Johns Beacon and Liverpool Central Library has sparked anger across the city.  

The Victorian Society said this week that the council should have requested a listed building application from the developer “given the visual impact of the zipwire on Liverpool’s Central Library”. The charity added that the planning officer’s report recommending approval “failed to give correct guidance on the appropriate weight that should have been given to heritage factors when considering the decision”. 

Tom Taylor, conservation advisor for the Victorian Society, added: “Liverpool City Council has given consent to far too many harmful developments in recent years, from the Welsh Streets to the Futurist Cinema.  

“The proposed zip wire could not be in a more sensitive or inappropriate position, right in the heart of Liverpool’s great historic civic buildings and monuments.” 

Retailers and hospitality businesses in the city have spoken out in support of the scheme, saying it will attract visitors and support the city’s tourist economy. 

However, there has also been vocal opposition to the attraction, including that it would harm an area of historical and cultural importance. 

Taylor said: “The noise and movement, as well as the physical infrastructure required, would harm this important historic area.  

“There are many places in Merseyside where a zip wire would be acceptable, but such a sensitive site is the wrong choice.” 

The Victorian Society aims to fund the legal challenge through a crowdfunding appeal. 

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As a planning consultant who has worked in the City for a long time, I’m gobsmacked that the Council didn’t insist on a Listed Building Consent application alongside the application for Full PP.

Considering they have just been through a JR, the High Court and the Court of Appeal following their failure to properly present heritage concerns to committee during consideration of another high profile development, how can they still be making these kinds of mistakes, or were they willfully negligent?

A Listed Building Consent application was 100% required for this proposal and I’m sure the JR will be allowed to proceed on this basis. Unbelievable. Yet more embarrassment for the Local Planning Authority already seen as corrupt and incompetent by recent events.

By Anonymous

This proposal could go in many locations in Merseyside but absolutely not in the Georgian Quarter. It is unacceptable and undignified for users of the library to be subjected to the nuisance that will be caused by this.

By Anonymous

Good. Zipwire, or no zipwire. Why does it need to finish at the library? I agree with all of the sentiment around the aesthetics that it will ruin, the place, the setting. Why can’t they simply have it head off to another area of the city?

By L17

Forgive me, but this all seems back to front.

Where were all these campaigners in the many months prior to the planning application being submitted? Whatever the merits of the application, it seems very odd that the bulk of the kick-off seems only to have occurred after permission was granted.

By Sceptical

Whether it will bring people to Liverpool or not is questionable. Above all, it’s just very tacky.

By Observer

It just goes to show the desperation or the sheer incompetence of the people running this city. There big idea is turning the city into a laughing stock. In the wrong place how many times do they need to be told!

By John

Laughable. Remember ladies and gents getting voting in next May’s Mayoral local elections.

By Old Hall Street

This will be the world’s first and finest urban zip wire that will reinforce Liverpool’s global reputation for zips and wires and sliding down things. No other city could conceive of connecting a beacon with a library by means of a metal cable, which is probably the finest metal cable known on gods green earth and a true marker of what all scousers know to be true; which is that Liverpool is without question, the most global, the most creative and the most globally creative city.

By Liverpool Bromance

Spot on @Liverpool Bromance. They will want one in Manchester in no time. Well they can’t have ours:

By Gaz Riley

Some good points Liverpool Bromance but please don’t forget calm, the zip wire will also be in the calmest part of the calmest city by the calmest river on earth. The point here is that it will be calm.

By L8romance

The Victorian society are a bit Victorian. This is 2020 and Liverpool isnt rich anymore. I support Liverpool having a zip wire. Visitors will be able to see all those classic buildings in the best city in the world as you hear them in awe from over your head.
They hear Liverpool is a dump and then canrnt believe their eyes when they see our buildings. Buildings that make Rome and Venice look ordinary.

By 2020 real world

This is beyond tacky. If Liverpool is full of the treasures it claims and I agree some of the buildings are grand, why doesn’t York have one or Edinburgh? Liverpool is rapidly becoming Manchester’s Croydon and it really is down to terrible leadership.

By Elephant

The council just don’t get it do they? People are not against the wire, they are against its location.

To break the status quo and attract real investors, we have to be seen as a worthy city to invest in. Not just some tin pot fun city. Unless the council pull their fingers out, we may as well just accept ourselves as a satellite town and take on a new M postcode.

By Michael McDonut

Will that be the same Victoria Society that stand by and watch Liverpool’s buildings gradually decay year-on-year-on-year due to an almost complete absence of basic cleaning and maintenance regimes?

By North by North-West

2020 real world ..don’t forget Paris and New York , they are but mere shadows compared to the greatest city on earth.

By Rocketboy

Oh not the zip wire again! This is becoming beyond a joke. If the council can’t do better than this they should step down

By Dotty

The zip wire cannot happen. We are a city of calm and classical beauty. A place where you can take your grandad for a burger and feel as if you are in Paris .A zip wire will damage this hard won reputation as hoards of screaming yobs ruin the peace and quiet.

By Liverpool romance