Liverpool Zip Wire plan faces legal challenge

Earlier in the summer, Zip World secured planning permission from Liverpool City Council for the £5m attraction despite strong opposition and now it faces a legal challenge. Tony McDonough reports

Zip World
Zip World is looking to install a zip wire in Liverpool city centre


Plans for a £5m Zip Wire from the top of St Johns Beacon to Liverpool Central Library may face a legal challenge from a heritage group.

Earlier in the summer, Zip World secured planning permission from Liverpool City Council for the 400 metre-long, 450 ft-high attraction and, when it opens next year, it will create 30 new jobs.

The project has divided opinion in Liverpool with businesses and residents both for and against the idea. Objectors say it is not appropriate for the wire to carry thrill-seekers above St John’s Gardens at the back of St George’s Hall.

Now the Victorian Society has applied to the High Court for leave for a judicial review into Liverpool City Council’s decision to grant planning permission for the proposal, and also not to require listed building consent for it. The society says it will shortly launch a crowdfunding drive to fund the challenge.

Tom Taylor, conservation adviser for the Victorian Society, said: “Liverpool City Council has given consent for far too many harmful developments in recent years, from the Welsh Streets to the Futurist Cinema.

“The proposed zip wire could not be in a more sensitive or inappropriate position, right in the heart of Liverpool’s great historic civic buildings and monuments. The noise and movement, as well as the physical infrastructure required would harm this important historic area.

“There are many places in Merseyside where a zip wire would be acceptable, but such a sensitive site is the wrong choice.”

Earlier this week Zip World, which runs a similar attraction in North Wales, attempted to appease those against the scheme by changing the location of the ‘kit-up’ centre from the library to St Johns Shopping Centre instead of the library. People landing on the library roof will be escorted out via the service lift, minimising any disruption to library users.

Frank McKenna, chief executive of business lobby group Downtown in Business, as well as Liverpool BID Company chief executive Bill Addy, have both backed the zip wire saying it will provide a boost to the city’s visitor economy which has been badly hit by COVID-19. 

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