LONDON-Plans by Britain’s richest man, the Duke of Westminster, to redevelop Liverpool city centre have been given a boost by government rejection of a £700 million ($1 billion) rival scheme.

The Duke’s company, Grosvenor Estates, and fund manager Henderson had made it clear that the viability of their scheme would be undermined if a rival scheme proposed by local developer Walton Group at Chavasse Park was allowed to go ahead.

Now Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has rejected Walton’s plans for Chavasse Park.

The decision increases the likelihood of Duke pressing ahead with plans to invest £900 million ($1.4 billion) creating 2.5 million sq ft of retail, leisure and residential along the existing streetscape. The scheme would be centred on Paradise Street, around the corner from where The Beatles started their career, but stretches across 400 ha. It involves over 20 design teams working on different parts of the redevelopment, some of which will involve new build and some will involve refurbishment and conversion of existing buildings.

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