A £5.5bn redevelopment plan which threatens to see Liverpool's historic waterfront stripped of its world heritage status has been awarded planning permission by the city council.
The controversial scheme will see the tallest building in the UK outside London looming over the famed Three Graces - the Royal Liver, Cunard and Port of Liverpool buildings - alongside a cruise liner terminal and thousands of apartments.
This is despite a warning from Unesco, the agency which grants world heritage titles, that the constructions would leave the site "irreversibly damaged" through a "serious loss of historical authenticity" - potentially resulting in the city becoming only the third location in the world to be deleted from the list.
It has also attracted opposition from English Heritage, whose claim that the council had "significantly downplayed the adverse impacts of the development on Liverpool's outstanding heritage" means the plans will have to go before the Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, for ultimate approval.
Council Leader Joe Anderson saidthey were "well aware of the concerns about heritage, but we can have the strikingly modern, while retaining our world heritage status. I have never regarded this as being ‘either, or'."
"With the safeguards the planning committee has insisted on, we can have Liverpool Waters living comfortably alongside the world heritage site," he said. "If this application had been rejected then we would have been left with huge stretches of derelict dockland... Instead we now have the prospect of one of the most ambitious schemes ever seen in this country taking shape . It is one that will transform Liverpool's fortunes for future generations."