By the Save Waterloo Dock Team
04 May, 2021
WHY DID THE COUNCIL STAY SILENT ABOUT BOMBS IN THE DOCK?
OUR community of more than 1,000 residents has been kept in the dark about World War Two bombs found in West Waterloo Dock - just a few hundred metres from our homes.
Liverpool City Council and local councillors have done nothing to alert local people to the potential danger. And the story only came to light when questions were raised - in the Isle of Man!
Work began on the new Isle of Man Ferry Terminal almost 18 months ago. But a combination of the Covid pandemic, the need to protect the historic dock walls and various contractual issues have delayed the project by more than a year and put up costs by millions of pounds.
That led to demands from Manx politicians for an update on the taxpayer-funded scheme, and Infrastructure Minister Tim Baker addressed the House of Keys (the Manx Parliament) this week.
And as he listed the problems that contractors have faced he dropped the - literally - bombshell news that: “Among the difficulties have been unexploded Second World War bombs which had to be made safe and removed, causing further delays to the scheme.”
The Minister continued: “We knew that the site had been bombed (and) we had specialist surveys. But some of the unexploded bombs were in the way of key work and had to be dealt with, again causing a greater delay cost than expected.”
All of which came as alarming news to the people who live in the area. Incredibly, the residents of Waterloo Quays, which is literally on the side the dock, Waterloo Warehouse, Park Central and Quay Central were told NOTHING!
Surely, the discovery of any unexploded bombs has to be shared with the relative authorities? It seems unimaginable that the local authority - and presumably the emergency services - do not have to be kept fully informed until the explosives are made safe.
But local residents were not told anything!
A spokesperson for the Save Waterloo Dock campaign said: “This has really alarmed local residents. Some of us have lived here for more than 30 years and knew nothing about this.
“We have raised issues about potential hazards in this dock ever since our campaign began in January 2019, and we have been fobbed off with half truths and gobbledegook.
“Surely the council has an obligation - and, hopefully, a legal duty - to tell people that unexploded bombs have been found right in the centre of their local community.
“But our council chooses to tell us nothing, while considering planning applications to infill most of the dock and build 330 new flats there.
“It really does beggar belief.”
Very early on Thursday morning, SWD put out a tweet which said: “Liverpool Council stayed silent over unexploded bombs in West Waterloo Dock. It took the Isle of Man Govt to tell us the truth. Does anyone seriously think this is a sensible place to build 330 flats?”
Within minutes Councillor Richard Kemp CBE - leader of Liverpool Liberal Democrats and the party’s candidate in next week’s election for a new Mayor of Liverpool - took up the case.
His reply declared: “All work in this area must now cease for a full investigation of the land and water issues. I have asked the Chief Executive to take whatever action the Council can and to involve other bodies with wider powers.”
The SWD spokesperson added: “We are really grateful to Richard for his support. It is a huge relief to know that a senior political figure is taking this seriously.”