Liverpool City Council has selected a consortium of Urban Initiatives Studio (UIS) and Chris Blandford Associates to prepare a new tall buildings policy for the city.

Urban Initiatives Studio will be supported by environmental consultants from Arup on microclimate issues. Chris Blandford Associates will assist the company on heritage issues.

The proposed tall buildings policy is expected to be adopted as a supplementary planning document (SPD) by the end of this year after the completion of a public consultation exercise.

The mandate of the policy includes determining the appropriate height of tall buildings, identifying locations and the potential for ‘tall building clusters’ in the city centre, as well as framing best design building practices.

“A new tall buildings policy is going to be crucial not only in helping to shape the city’s landscape but also to set the highest expectations for architectural design.”

Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson said: “Liverpool is undergoing a huge transformation and a new tall buildings policy is going to be crucial not only in helping to shape the city’s landscape but also to set the highest expectations for architectural design.

“Liverpool has a unique set of characteristics, most notably our historic buildings and we need to define where tall buildings will be best situated. We want to achieve that delicate balance between encouraging development and complementing the quality of Liverpool’s existing architecture and we are very fortunate to have a 3D model of the city to assist these planners and engineers in this regard.”

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UIS will conduct initial research before a draft policy is discussed with Historic England and other key stakeholders.

The city council will invite public comments on the draft policy later this year before introducing the final draft in the cabinet for formal adoption.

The decision to prepare a policy for tall buildings was made after the city council’s stand-off with UNESCO over the threat to the Liverpool’s World Heritage Status (WHS).

UNESCO warned that the proposed construction of high-rise structures pose a threat to the aesthetic of the city’s world-famous waterfront.

Under the existing WHS, the height of new constructions should not be more than the existing buildings. The city’s WHS status was retained in June 2018.