“In between the crisis and the catastrophe we might as well have a glass of champagne” sayeth Peter Hitchens in an interview with Owen Jones. These words remind me of the biblical moral message regarding choosing what is meaningful over what is expedient, ‘What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? … And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?’ (Matthew 16:26)

Unfortunately, such moral purity escapes all the main political parties at present. For why? Because each is seemingly creating their own utopia here on earth. However, I am in the awkward position of being born in Liverpool, and thus I am unfortunately lumbered with a vested interest. Nevertheless, despite being a Liverpudlian, I am going to commit a cardinal sin, and criticise the Liverpool Labour council.

Bad things come in three. The first sin that was committed was the lack of foresight regarding the iconic Futurist cinema in Lime Street. The building had been left to decline due to the fact a new owner was unable to be found. To view some of the old photos of this building is a treat in itself. It really brings to mind what a cinema, or the ‘silver screen’ ought to be. Nevertheless, upon a court battle being lost by campaigners, demolition work instantly began, and one is greeted by more student skyscrapers. Cue the following: Liverpool is a student city, and economics 101 means supply needs to meet the demand. However, any good student of architecture knows the change in architecture that resulted from ‘form follows function’. Essentially, the Futurist, despite being an iconic building, and maybe if the vision was there to nurture its renewal could have returned to its former glory, ultimately didn’t serve a function. As a consequence, aforementioned student skyscraper flats were erected. One may say that was strike one.

Strike two comes in the consultation that arose surrounding the now cemented plans for flats in the Baltic triangle. I actually emailed the chair of the planning committee prior to the consultation naively thinking I was going to receive a reply. The issue with this case was that the proprietors of 24 Kitchen Street believed that upon these new flats being erected, they may receive noise complaints, and eventually be forced to eventually shut down. When one’s modus operandi, which in this case happens to be playing music throughout the night is impeded, then that puts a spanner in the old revenue streams. For the time being 24 Kitchen Street is still functioning. That being said, one can’t avoid truisms such as ‘first as tragedy, then as farce’.

Hence strike three arises. Constellations is set to close in 2019 for guess what? (Those who have been paying attention will have guessed it) residential developments. Residential development in the Baltic triangle. Eventually, those who have power in the decision making for Liverpool will come to realise: they can either have the vibrant, musical, cultural epicentre that Liverpool has come to be known as in people’s minds, or a cluster of skyscrapers for students who will study in Liverpool but will come to realise they inhabit a city which has lost its soul.

 

Featured Image: Constellations, Liverpool / James Zaremba / CC BY-SA 4.0