THIS is the new £6.5m multi-storey car park which will change the face of Victoria Street as we have come to know it.
Liverpool City Council’s Planning Committee today approved the construction of the 333 space, five floor development. It will rise on the site of the current street entry level Victoria Street car park, deemed "not fit for purpose" by regeneration supremo Malcolm Kennedy
The decision, which will see 36 mature trees felled in just a few weeks time, was taken after an on-site protest this morning organised by Friends of the Earth and members of the Green Party.
This evening they accused the council of "post truth politics" and vowed to fight the plans every step of the way.
The rubber stamp of the plan comes just months after a World Health Organisation report warned dozens of British cities, including Liverpool, were breaching air pollution limits leading to thousands of premature deaths.
But from a heritage standpoint, Historic England raised no objection to the Liverpool City Council-funded scheme which will also see the construction of a three storey block of restaurant and bar units with a rooftop terrace.
"Both buildings will be clad in coursed stone with large glazed openings," said a council statement. "The Planning Committee approved the scheme after hearing the buildings would be consistent with the pattern of enclosure that forms an important characteristic of the Castle Street conservation area."
REVEALED: Tree lined Victoria Street car park flattened for mulit storey
Speaking after the decision, Councillor Tom Crone, leader of the Green Party group on the council, said: "This isn't the end of the matter. The council may have awarded itself planning permission to go ahead but we will fight every step of the way to prevent the site being turned into a monstrosity of a car park, adding to vehicular traffic and destroying 36 perfectly good mature trees. We owe it to our children and future generations to contest this to the bitter end.
"Several objectors including myself and my colleague, Councillor Lawrence Brown, put forward strong arguments why this scheme should not go ahead but the council have steamrollered the plans through against commonsense reasoning."
Trees on the current car park, which sits on the site of a building bombed by the Luftwaffe, will start to be chopped down next month
Expected to be open by late November 2017, the new car park, claims the council, will lead to the planting of 90 trees around the Victoria Street area, which should look quite good in 40 or 50 years time.
The development, which sits next door to Labour's preferred cocktail 'n' dancing joint, the Sir Thomas Hotel, and the up-for-sale Municipal Buildings, will be be built by Wilmott Dixon.
“Victoria Street is a vital artery in Liverpool’s retail core and a high quality car park will provide a huge boost for surrounding businesses such as the Metquarter," Cllr Kennedy said.
"The scale of the investment and creation of a new leisure attraction will also help accelerate the regeneration that is beginning to take place there.
"The current car park is not fit for purpose – offering no bays for blue badge holders, cyclist or motor cyclists. Many of the bays have also been distorted by the root system of the current trees and I’m delighted this car park will pave the way for a much more extensive and much needed planting scheme in this part of the city centre."
But Cllr Crone dismissed the notion: To state, as they did, that air pollution will be improved by building a 333 space car park just shows that we are in a world of post-truth politics."