Liverpool's £35m Lime Street revamp backed
Plans for a £35m overhaul of a section of Liverpool city centre have been approved.
The scheme will focus on the Lime Street area and includes proposals for a new hotel, shops, restaurants and student accommodation.
The project was approved despite opposition from heritage campaigners and councillor Richard Kemp, who described it as "metropolitan tat".
The Futurist Cinema building will be demolished to make way for the project.
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said he was "delighted" with the decision following a meeting at Liverpool City Council's planning committee.
He later tweeted: "Improvement of this gateway to the city has been long overdue."
'Jeopardising historic environment'
Labour councillor Nick Small called the decision "a very good day for Liverpool".
He added: "If you look at what Lime Street looks like, it's absolutely appalling. There's lots of street drinking there, there's aggressive begging. It looks really bad."
However, the city's Liberal Democrat leader Mr Kemp said the plans were "irredeemably ugly" and "say nothing about the city of Liverpool".
The scheme was also criticised by The Victorian Society which said it is "hard to understand this move following Unesco's request for a moratorium on developments to safeguard Liverpool's World Heritage Site status".
It added: "Liverpool Council is jeopardising the historic environment which makes Liverpool so special."
And protester Janet Bennett, of Dingle, said: "I think they should look at what some European cities do, which is to limit the height of buildings to fit in with the historic buildings and have a more joined-up scheme."
Work on the project, led by Neptune Developments, is expected to begin in autumn.