Design watchdog withdraws objection to plan to replace terraced housing in Anfield, Picton and Edge Hill with new developments.

Design watchdog Cabe has made a shock about-turn over its condemnation of the Liverpool pathfinder projects.

The body has withdrawn its objection to proposed compulsory purchase orders in the Anfield, Picton and Edge Hill areas. This will clear the way for rows of terraced houses to be demolished and replaced with new developments.

Liverpool council recently granted outline planning permission to three pathfinder schemes, against Cabe’s advice. However, these were put on hold by communities minister Ruth Kelly when the watchdog argued that the applications did not contain enough evidence that the areas to be demolished would be improved by the new developments.

But the new developments will now go ahead after Cabe struck a deal with Liverpool council, ensuring that planning permission will not be granted unless certain terms are met by the client. These will be enforced via the section 106 agreement between the local authority and the developers.

They are:

  • a working group to directly advise the planning committee will be established comprising Cabe, English Heritage, the council, the developer and representatives from the community
  • a detailed masterplan will be produced and submitted to the working group
  • a design code will be prepared and submitted to the working group.
The agreement also states that no reserved matters will be submitted for planning approval until the detailed masterplan and the designs have been approved by the working group. These must also be accompanied by a design report.

Selina Mason, director of design review at Cabe, said the body’s objection to the CPO process was an unusual but significant action. She said: “This is by no means an ideal process; it would have been better if the council had insisted on a masterplan in the first place.

“What we have now achieved, through the details secured within the section 106 agreement, is a mechanism to ensure that design is considered before planning permission is granted.”