Council wins court ruling against city developer and will press ahead with delayed scheme.
Liverpool city council is pressing ahead with a £120m lottery project after overcoming a legal challenge from a developer in the High Court.

Mace was this week appointed project manager of the stalled Discovery Park scheme, and project client Rosemary Chavasse has drawn up a long list of contractors for the scheme.

However, the scheme may still founder because developer Walton Group intends to appeal against the judgment and this could lead to the scheme missing its funding deadline.

Discovery Park is a joint venture, with private funding coming from Morrison and developer TCI and other funding coming from the Millennium Commission, English Partnerships and the council. Walton took the local authority to court because of a dispute over the city-centre site, which is near the Pier Head on the Mersey. Walton had bought a two-year option for part of the site from the council in 1996 and would have developed it had lottery funding not been won.

But as the Millennium Commission did award a grant, the council said Chavasse Park, the lottery-funded scheme, had the required funding and should go ahead.

Walton Group challenged this claim in a protracted legal case that culminated in last week’s ruling. Liverpool City Council leader Mike Storey said the council was delighted by the ruling but said that it was disappointed by Walton’s decision to appeal. 

He said: “The Walton issue is the last impediment to progress on Discovery Park, and the council anticipated that the decision in the High Court would be respected by both parties.

“In deciding to appeal, Walton may expose itself to substantial damages should the outcome of the appeal be rejected, and, as a result of the further delay, Discovery Park fail to proceed as a result of having missed funding deadlines.

“We regret the matter ever came to court, particularly as the council has been attempting to resolve the matter amicably with Walton for some time. The need to go to court has inevitably delayed the implementation of the scheme by several months.”

Rosemary Chavasse still hopes to start on site in early 2000, and Mace will now take over its procurement. Sisk, Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Mowlem, Bovis, Norwest Holst, Birse, Galliford, David McLean, Shepherd, Totty, Kvaerner and Costain are on the long list.