Monday, August 20, 2012

A Boom Town Without A Boom

Almost completely overlooked, or possibly ignored, over the last month has been an article by Ed Platt in the New Statesman ( ).
Platt delivers a brief historical guide to the city, from the growth of the port in the 19th century to the present day. However, his assessment of Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson's vision for the waterfront is distinctly cool:
"Anderson claims that the expanse of derelict docks and warehouses stretching between Pier Head and Seaforth has the same potential as Canary Wharf, yet it is hard to see where the shops and businesses to fill the development will come from. It seemed to me that Peel was proposing a boom town without a boom, hoping to inspire economic revival by constructing offices and shops for which there is no demand."
The final sentence in that quote is pretty damning, isn't it?
A regular refrain from those who hail the arrival of Grosvenorpool & other retrograde developments in the city centre is that such cases prove that the city is heading in the right direction. That particularly bogus contention is met head-on in Platt's piece by Professor Sam Davies of Liverpool John Moores University: " 'The centre of town is the focus for everything and everywhere else has suffered,' says Professor Davies. 'Some parts of the north end of Liverpool, around Anfield and Everton, are worse than ever: there's no work; a lot of housing has been demolished and not replaced...There are parts of Liverpool where, if you don't know the area, you would be foolish to walk into a pub.' "
There will doubtless be some who will take offence at Professor Davies' final remark; the sour & sobering reality, however, is that it's true.

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