Crunch talks on bringing historic sailors’ gates back to Liverpool

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Crunch talks on bringing historic sailors’ gates back to Liverpool
Oct 2 2010 by Marc Waddington, Liverpool Echo

THE return to Liverpool of a pair of historic gates featuring the earliest architectural example of the Liver bird moved a step closer when city bosses met with council leaders in the Black Country.

The “Henry Pooley gates”, which stood outside the demolished sailors home in Canning Place for 100 years, have been outside the Avery foundry Smethwick in the West Midlands since the 1940s.

This week city regeneration boss Malcolm Kennedy, Labour Cllr Sharon Sullivan, heritage officer John Hinchliffe and campaigner Gabriel Muies visited Sandwell council to renew the offer of £30,000 to bring the Grade II listed gates home.

At Liverpool’s cabinet meeting yesterday’s, Cllr Kennedy said the Black Country council ensured him it was “under no political pressure to keep the gates in Sandwell”.

If English Heritage and Sandwell’s planning department reach agreement the gates could be back in Liverpool within a year.

English Heritage said it was still assessing Liverpool’s application for the gates to be moved, but that once it makes its recommendations, “the final decision will not be made by us, it will then be up to Sandwell council”.

Sandwell cabinet member Cllr Ian Jones said: “Our position is that we will abide by any recommendation that is made by English Heritage, but it must be pointed out that the gates are not owned by the council. They are owned by Avery’s. Any decision that is made by English Heritage will still, as a matter of protocol, be formally approved by the planning committee.”

It is understood the foundry has no objections to the removal.

As yet there is no indication of what recommendations English Heritage will make, but Cllr Kennedy said he was still confident that “essentially, Sandwell are not putting any barriers in the way of us getting the gates back”.

The gates were moved to Sandwell when the Liverpool foundry which made them merged with the Avery foundry.

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