The £5.5billion Liverpool Waters scheme has been given the go-ahead by central government after the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles decided there was no need for a public inquiry.
The ambitious project has seen much opposition from campaigners over concerns that Liverpool’s waterfront will lose its UNESCO World Heritage site status, but the government will not intervene in the plans which are now expected to proceed.
The Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson welcomed the key decision, saying: “This is fantastic news for Liverpool. I’m absolutely delighted the Secretary of State shares the confidence we have in our ability to deliver this vitally important regeneration scheme, while protecting our architectural heritage.
“Liverpool Waters will create thousands of jobs and opportunities for local people, as well as providing new housing and attracting new businesses and visitors.
“Today’s announcement marks the start of a new era for Liverpool, paving the way to us delivering a world class development which will transform a part of the city that has been in desperate need of investment for decades.”
Lindsey Ashworth, development director of Peel Holdings, said: “This is a well-deserved reward and justice for all those who never gave up supporting the scheme. A big thanks goes to the people of Liverpool who have been behind us all the way.
“All cities in the UK have to compete with each other and each has to compete with rival European cities. Liverpool is now well placed to be alongside the best of the best.”
The city council planning committee initially granted the plans in March 2012 but several conditions were made in September. The scheme is projected to bring more than 20,000 jobs to the city over the next 30 years, along with building 9,000 apartments, offices, a cruise liner terminal, hotels, shops, bars and restaurants.
Mayor Anderson added: “It’s a huge boost for our city and yet more evidence that despite the recession, regeneration is forging ahead here. We can now look forward to the plans moving forward on this once-in-a-lifetime scheme which will bring huge, lasting benefits to future generations in this city.
“It’s vital that Peel delivers these plans in a way which meets the conditions set out by the planning committee and we’ll be working closely with them to make sure this is achieved.”
A spokesperson for English Heritage, which opposed the plans, said: “A decision on call-in has to be taken on the basis of all the planning issues involved, not just heritage. We therefore acknowledge the Secretary of State’s decision not to hold a public inquiry on the Liverpool Waters application.
“We have always felt that it would have been possible to develop a scheme that delivered jobs and growth and which enhanced rather than harmed Liverpool’s outstanding heritage. We are therefore very disappointed that Peel failed to take this opportunity and insisted that the current scheme was the one on which a decision must be taken.”