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Mayor intervenes to prevent zip wire in Liverpool city centre after legal threats

Liverpool’s elected mayor has stepped in to prevent a zip wire attraction being built in the city centre after conservation group the Victorian Society threatened legal action.

The society had applied for judicial review of the council's decision to allow the project in Liverpool's world heritage site.

One end of the proposed zip wire would have landed on the roof of Liverpool's listed Central Library within the world heritage site, the society said.

Mayor Joe Anderson intervened to say that while he could not overturn a decision of the council’s planning committee to allow the project, he did have powers over the use of council-owned buildings.

He said: “The planning committee is an independent group of councillors who have a quasi judicial role looking at the lawful application made by this company to operate a zip wire in this vicinity.

“The committee agreed the planning officer’s recommendation and acted fairly and democratically in granting this application, despite what objectors say.

“As mayor I do not interfere in the planning process. However, I do have the final decision on whether a building owned by the council should be used in such a way.

“I have serious concerns about using this area, and having spoken to the company could not let them progress further, knowing I would not support it.”

The Victorian Society wanted to review Liverpool’s decision to grant planning permission but not to require listed building consent.

It argued that the zip wire would damage the setting of many historic buildings including Grade 1 listed St George's Hall and that an officer's report for the planning committee failed to give correct guidance on the appropriate weight that should be given to heritage factors.

Tom Taylor, the society’s conservation adviser, said: “The proposed zip wire could not be in a more insensitive or inappropriate position, right in the heart of Liverpool's great historic civic buildings and monuments.”

A spokesperson for operator Zip World said: “On the basis of the discussion with mayor Anderson, we no longer propose to pursue an application at this location further and look forward to working with the council to identify a suitable alternative location.”

Mark Smulian

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