Unesco enters fight to preserve Mersey skyline


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The Independent Online

The Liverpool antique dealer who complained to Unesco about a billionaire Manx tax exile's plan for a 60-storey Shanghai Tower skyscraper on the Mersey is unrepentant.

Three inspectors from Unesco are being dispatched from Paris to Liverpool on Monday to decide whether the city is to be stripped of its status as a World Heritage Site.

An independent report by English Heritage has concluded that the Peel Group's £5.5 billion Liverpool Waters scheme, Britain's biggest planning application, would have "a significant damaging negative impact on the Liverpool world heritage site and its outstanding universal value".

Wayne Colquhoun, 50, who runs the Liverpool Preservation Trust from his shop in the splendid arcade of the India Buildings, told Unesco in Paris: "I have no regrets about causing this trouble. I was compelled to complain. This city is not safe in the hands of its present leaders. English Heritage are supporting me but I fear that the people seem to want to turn our wonderful city into Shanghai-on-Mersey at a time when we should be looking to Amsterdam to build an architectural future on the human scale."

The three Unesco experts are Ron van Oers, a Dutch urban planner, Patricia Alberth, a German academic expert in development, and Italian conservation architect Giancarlo Barbato. After a three-day visit, they will reach a decision by Christmas.

The skyscraper was proposed by Peel's director of development, Lindsey Ashworth, and his chairman, John Whittaker, the richest resident in the Isle of Man, after a visit to the Liverpool Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, Liverpool's twin city.