Zip wire entrepreneur looks to win over the doubters

Sean Taylor’s plan for a 400-metre zip wire in Liverpool has met with fierce opposition and has been branded ‘tacky’ but the former Royal Marine claims it could be a huge boost to the city. Tony McDonough reports

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

 

Despite strong opposition from councillors, businesses and residents former Royal Marine Sean Taylor is pushing on with his £5m plan for a zip wire above Liverpool city centre.

At the beginning of July, Liverpool City Council’s planning committee approved the venture which will see the installation of a 400-metre zip wire from the top of St Johns Beacon to Central Library, 450 ft above St John’s Gardens.

Due to open in summer 2021, the attraction will see the creation of 32 new jobs and Zip World founder, Mr Taylor, is looking to win over the doubters by claiming it will attract more than 100,000 thrill-seekers a year. He already operates three other zip wires, including one in North Wales.

Mr Taylor said: “Our research indicates that the projected number of riders in the first year full of operation in Liverpool could be around 104,000.

“In common with our other successful sites, these people will all bring friends and family with them which we believe will be an additional 200,000 spectators. That is an incredible 300,000 visitors coming into Liverpool every year for the zip line.

“This will provide a huge economic boost to the city’s retail and hospitality businesses. They’re telling us that it is needed now more than ever.”

However, many people remain unconvinced. Central Ward Labour councillors Nick Small and Maria Toolan are vehemently opposed to the scheme on the grounds that it would have a negative impact on St John’s Gardens and St George’s Hall.

The authority received 29 objections from neighbours of the project with concerns raised that the attraction would be “tack” and would lead to the “Disneyfication” of the area. The owners of the nearby Marriott hotel also objected on the grounds of noise and the War Memorials Trust was also concerned about the impact on St John’s Gardens.

Earlier this year, Cllr Nick Small described the zip wire plan as “a barmy idea”. He added: “St John’s Gardens is an oasis of calm in the city centre. There are many memorials there and people come there to get away from everything.”

However, prior to the scheme local business networking group Downtown in Business was in favour of the project and, following the planning approval, St Johns Shopping Centre manager Neil Ashcroft  said he was “delighted” with the plan, adding it would bring a “wow factor” to the area.

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