Victorian Society mounts legal challenge to zip wire

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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