Liverpool to prepare new tall buildings policy

Liverpool City Council has appointed a team of planning experts to prepare a new tall buildings policy for the city.

After an extensive tendering exercise the city council has appointed a world-leading design consortium, led by by Urban Initiatives Studio (UIS) and supported by heritage specialists from Chris Blandford Associates (CBA).

Urban Initiatives Studio have carried out similar studies in London, Belfast and Bath and will be aided by environment consultants from Arup on microclimate issues.

The city council is seeking to adopt the policy as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) by the end of 2019, following a public consultation exercise. Once adopted it will be used to guide three key issues:

  1. The height of tall buildings – the policy will assess appropriate height in relation to existing buildings and the environment
  2. The location of tall buildings – the policy will identify appropriate locations and the potential for “tall building clusters” in the city centre
  3. The design of tall buildings – the policy will encourage best practice in building design

Urban Initiatives Studio will undertake initial research before a draft policy is discussed with key stakeholders including Historic England. Public feedback will be sought in the summer. The final draft will then be put to Liverpool City Council’s cabinet for formal adoption.

Once adopted, the SPD would then sit alongside other key planning policies for the city such as the Local Plan and World Heritage Site Management Plan.

The city is currently undergoing an unprecedented regeneration boom with £14bn of investment in the pipeline over the coming decade. The Tall Buildings SPD will be an important planning tool to guide and frame this growth.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “Liverpool is undergoing a huge transformation and a new tall buildings policy is going to be crucial not only in helping to shape the city’s landscape but also to set the highest expectations for architectural design.

“Liverpool has a unique set of characteristics, most notably our historic buildings and we need to define where tall buildings will be best situated. We want to achieve that delicate balance between encouraging development and complementing the quality of Liverpool’s existing architecture and we are very fortunate to have a 3d model of the city to assist these planners and engineers in this regard.

“I’m delighted we’ve appointed world leaders in this field, both UIS and CBA have a wealth of experience in guiding cities on these issues right across the UK and Ireland and have displayed a great working knowledge of what the city is aiming to achieve. I look forward to seeing the draft plan and sharing their thoughts with the public this summer.”

Matthias Wunderlich, Director at UIS said“Liverpool is a special city with a rich heritage that has seen rapid growth over the past decade. This study aims to ensure that tall buildings are located in the right places, where they can support place-making, contribute to an attractive skyline and convey a proud city image. We have to be mindful of Liverpools unique heritage, recognised through its World Heritage Site designation, and ensure that tall buildings contribute to Liverpool as an attractive and legible place to live.”

Andrew Croft, Director of CBA, said: It is always a pleasure to work in Liverpool, it is undoubtedly one of the world’s most dynamic heritage cities and we enjoy the challenge of blending that dynamism with the conservation of its rich architecture and form. We are looking forward to working closely with Liverpool City Council and key stakeholders to deliver this challenging and critical commission.”