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Skyscraper approved - but it 'may never be built'.

Byline: Marc Waddington

PLANS for Liverpool's second tallest skyscraper were approved yesterday amid suggestions from the council it may never be built.

The application, which has caused residents of the nearby City Lofts block to object en masse, has been in the system for several years and had already been approved once.

Developers Peel HoldiS ngs' planning permission expired, so it had to seek a new consent. The plan is for a 34-storey tower block and eight-storey building alongside it. The scheme has 133 apartments and a 129-room hotel with around 12,000sq m of office space and 500sq m of retail space.

Residents said they feared the building would overshadow theirs and create traffic chaos, as well as adding to the number of empty apartments in the city centre.

However, city centre planning officer Peter Jones - responding to objections from heritage campaigners who claim the development could undermine the city's historic waterfront - said he believed there was a chance it may never come to fruition.

He said: "This is a resubmission for a scheme previously approved.

"The applicant Peel's priority is to pursue the Liverpool Waters scheme, and in my view there's a good chance this proposal may not be implemented."

The Liverpool Waters scheme is one of the largest planning applications ever submitted, and although its boundary begins at Princes Dock, much of the planned development is farther up the waterfront, including the Shanghai Tower which, at 55 storeys, would be the country's tallest residential building.

The project has created much controversy with local heritage lobbyists and the national body English Heritage, which is carrying out a study to determine whether or not it will damage the city's World Heritage Site.

Campaigners fear the project threatens to undermine the grandeur of the Royal Liver Building, which was once the country's tallest building, the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building, which are in the designated World Heritage Site.

The Princes Dock development is outside of the World Heritage zone, but campaigner Florence Gersten, of Save Our City, slammed the "unstoppable increase" in the number of flats in the centre, despite many being vacant.

Ms Gersten said: "I know you are going to renew this again.

"We are not objecting to the principle of development of this vacant land or other areas in the central docks area, but we do have concerns about this.

"We share the doubts of Princes Dock residents regarding this proposal for yet more flats.

"This seems to be a pointless but unstoppable increase in flats around the city centre. "I do realise some people like very tall buildings, but I'm not among them.

"I'm sure this fashion will eventually be regretted.

"The views of the Three Graces have been totally destroyed by the building of three large structures on the south side of Mann Island, where there's never been anything but small buildings."

Peel were not available for comment last night.

West Tower, which recently went into administration, in Brook Street, is currently Liverpool's tallest building, at 40 storeys high.

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Peel's proposed skyscraper, at the city's Princes Dock
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 16, 2011
Words:517
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