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The one to watch: Mann Island

Yes we know it's Liverpool - but this is important stuff about how views can be as important as buildings

Published on April 28th 2010.

The one to watch: Mann Island

Once upon a time, long before three ominous black blobs appeared at Liverpool's Mann Island, a planning brief for the site was adamant that the development should not interfere with the best views of the cherished Three Graces. Whoops.

So, what's the problem?
Well, it turns out the views of ordinary people in Liverpool have not been taken into account.

And what's new about that, exactly?
These aren't any old views – we're talking about prized views of our “world-famous” Three Graces on our “world-famous” waterfront.

What about them?
They're not there any more, that's what. Instead, they have been obscured by the ever-expanding Neptune development work. And, it has emerged, the loss of two out of three “key views” of the famous Pier Head buildings was contrary to the demands of the original planning brief for Mann Island.

Ah, but that brief was never set in stone; it didn't say 'you've got to keep the views', just, 'it might be nice if you could keep them, but we quite understand that people might prefer to look at some giant black blocks instead.
Right, so it wasn't an order, more an opinion? What you might call a, erm, view?

Indeed! It was somebody taking a view.
And then Neptune took our view?

Neptune? You mean the Roman god that rules the waves.
No, I mean the one that waives the . . .

Now, steady on, I've already explained that planning brief was a guide, not a set of rules. All above board. Besides, you can't stand in the way of progress, mate. And, let's face it, the stunning, jet-black blocks being constructed by Neptune at Mann Island are far more suited to a vibrant, 21st Century waterfront than a bunch of


old relics which, frankly, are grubby, and all getting on a bit – if they were fridge freezers, we'd have scrapped them and got new ones long ago.You're not suggesting we replace the Graces?

Great idea! Neptune's three new soon-to-be-”iconic” structures would be the ideal replacements. And, unlike the old ones, they won't show the dirt.
But how is all this going to play with the people who granted World Heritage Status to the waterfront?

World Heritage Status? Blimey, was that before or after they built the multi-storey car park at Princes Dock?
What do you think?

Stop whingeing, will you? Standing here in Birkenhead and looking at our fantastic waterfront, I'd say it was in great shape.
Oh, yeh, the same shape as Neptune's famous trident.

What shape's that, then?
Forked, mate. Well and truly forked.

Gerry Corner

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AnonymousMay 4th 2010.

yep Neptune's Mann Island is an iconic disaster but never mind in 30 years someone will knock it down and try again (so don't buy a 999yr lease)But will the Princes Dock Car Park be declared a Grade II (monument to folly)

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