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Be careful what you wish for

DIB Chief Executive, Frank McKenna, has warned heritage lobbyists that they are in danger of making Liverpool look like a city that is ‘closed for business’ if they continue to object to investment and developments in the city.

A Liverpool business leader has warned heritage lobbyists that they are in danger of making Liverpool look like a city that is ‘closed for business’ if they continue to object to investment and developments in the city.

The comments from the chief executive of leading business lobby group Downtown in Business Frank McKenna come following the decision of the city mayor to withdraw support for the proposed Zip Wire attraction from the top of St John’s Beacon.

“Zip World, having been invited by the council to explore the possibility of providing a zip wire facility in Liverpool, have invested almost half a million pounds thus far in developing the initiative. They have now been told to go back to the drawing board and look at identifying alternative plans.

“Everton Football Club, having spent a huge amount of time, money and resource on one of the widest community consultation processes we have ever seen, have been told that concerns about World Heritage Status will see their scheme delayed for months.

“We even have leading councillor’s calling for our ambitions to have a cruise liner terminal to be scrapped.

“The heritage lobby may be enjoying the unique power and influence they appear to have over Liverpool – but it is other competitor cities who are celebrating.”

Mr McKenna continued:

“Having worked so hard for over a decade to change the perception of Liverpool from being a basket case to a business-friendly city, it would be a shame if we threw all that work away by allowing the noisy minority to take us back to the bad old days.

“Inward investors will be watching these latest developments and asking themselves if Liverpool is still aspirational for its future, or more interested in protecting its past.

“The mix of old and new is what Liverpool has been so good at promoting in recent times. We are in danger of losing our way by allowing the heritage lobby to dictate an agenda that would be more appropriate for York than for a city that wants to be a dynamic, entrepreneurial, twenty-first century city.

“Those who are badgering investors, objecting to developments and saying ‘no’ to new initiatives need to be held to account and asked where they see the new jobs, investment and economic growth coming from.”

The DIB boss concluded:

“We are about to see Liverpool take a huge economic hit from the Covid-19 crisis. We need new ideas, new projects and new investors. Driving business out of Liverpool when the city is in desperate need of jobs is about as short sighted as it gets.”

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