It seems that way. There is a big risk to Holts Arcade.
Despite there appearing to be some level of secrecy, I can confirm that the beautiful travertine marble arcade is to be butchered with holes whacked in it all over show. Maybe four of them.
Liverpool's famous architect, of repute, Herbert Rowse must be turning in his grave.
15 years ago I was so proud. I had found a bronze plaque, the original, with detailing that reflected India Buildings class. It was cast to commemorate the sacrifice of those that lost their lives in the Great War. That worked for Alfred Holt and Company. After lots of consternation and a word with the owners of India Buildings at the time the pedantic building manager agreed to erect it in the arcade. Though it had originally been outside Holts Offices it now seemed the fitting place. And it was set on the marble.
I would cry every year at 11 o'clock on the 11th November when the old Holts Line and Blue Funnel employees would gather and it would become a focal point. Not just to remember Holts employees but all those who fell so we could be free, so we could speak our mind. Be free.
They are now going to twat a hole right through where it hangs. There is no other way to say it. The HMRC, I overheard don't want it there. They want it lost, again.
There is something magical about this arcade. The dimensions are just right. Its Classical perfection.
It is as perfect as you can get.
Some years ago I asked the c20 Society if they would put their weight behind upgrading its listing status. Gavin Stamp one of the countries best heritage fighters, who Liverpool will sadly miss, and ex Chairman of C20society put his weight behind it. After a lot of work by Clare at C20society English Heritage upgraded it from Grade II to Grade II*. That seemed to be a protection jacket wrapped around it. To save its integrity for future generations.
Yet it now seems this wont stop it escaping the grubby paws of this current crop of unsophisticated developers and the HMRC.
You know it makes me sick to my back teeth when we do all that work to put it beyond ruination and then the place will still get wrecked
In many of my heritage battles I have often thought myself akin to David fighting Goliath and this bunch really are Philistines.
They say they have employed heritage experts. http://www.classicartdeco.co.uk/india-buildings.php Well they cant be that clever or experts if they are in on this deal. Some people don't have the integrity to call themselves experts if they don't understand what heritage means.
They take the coin to do what they are paid for, not what should be done.
And the architects are Falconer Chester Hall. It couldn't be worse. Well it could Stiles and Wood got the contract....after they put in the lowest price.
They were talking at one time about polishing all the bronze shopfronts. To make them look like brass. Lose all the patina.
Money, money, money that's all this new lot seem to be interested in.
There are some things that just need to be left alone. One is Holts Arcade.
I fought the last lot Green Property, and their ideas to close part of the arcade.
But to no avail they had all the power and did nothing to let India Buildings decline, letting the tenants leave the building with regular abandon. They needed to empty it out. Mike Tapp of Green Property advised me that they see the future as a whole letting. Open offices and a call centre. That where the money was. John Lee from CBRE had told them so.
So we watched its decline.
The building, they said was 75% let when they took it over after it was repossessed by the banks and the biggest fraudster in British history Achileas Kalakis did time.
So I was about to close up and a new lot bought the buildings. Things looked up. We would see a couple of people walking round and clung on a bit longer. Lawrence Kenwright was in the running for India Buildings and I have to say I did not think he had the skill to restore it. It was bought by a British Virgin Islands offshore company. Then the HMRC were interested.
Or was there a bit more to it than that? Then they began threatening me. bullying everyone, and they offered me a relocation terms and it was time to move.
Then they behaved like type and shafted everyone around me and I knew it was the wrong thing to do.
I could not have held on any longer, the centre of gravity of the business district had changed.
Then the Philistines shafted me.
But this now gives me a chance to go back. To carry out some unfinished business, because I always regretted not doing more to alert the public to the vandalism that was about to begin.
I have to be honest I thought I had been abandoned by the public.
My business is personal to me and I take all things personal. Its my life its not a business.
If I had of been doing it for money I would have gone back into property. I had packed that business in a long time ago, but was afraid I would end up, well like the Philistines that then owned me.
I am ashamed I let them take me for a ride.
Come back Lawrence Kenwight all is forgiven.
This lot have now closed the beautiful arcade to the public and the Arcade will never open again, which is Grade II* listed in its own right, and the shops are to be offices.
And Liverpool City Council are complicit. Sort of partners in slime really.
The dodgy building manager used to go past shouting out, “All these are going to be offices” he would say and I just got angry inside.
But now its time to say it loud.
I am ashamed of myself that I did not put up more of a fight up.
I am also ashamed that I did not make more of arguing against it.
The local press had changed it seems all about twitter now and to be honest even though I was critical of the last lot of journalists they now seem great intelectuals compared to these new kids on the twitter feed block.
It was always easy to persuade Peter Elson as to the merits of history and heritage because he felt it too.
The city council planners have been given delegated planning powers over India Buildings.
A Grade II* listed building.
This means they can do virtually what they want.
The owners and there is now another company involved India Buildings Development Ltd, with a liability of £100. Check them out at Companies House. Theres a few characters there. That the HMRC are doing business with. https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/10844377
It stinks. So after they have shafted me I am now free to shout it from the 8th Floor.
This is the worst thing that could have happened to India Buildings.
I admit it I was wrong and I should have done something about it.
But where were all the people to help. To complain about the right of way being stubbed out, like The Ramblers. I phoned them once and this bloke just went on, and on and on, and on, so I put the phone down.
I cant do it alone is there anyone out there that cares about this amazing heritage asset. In the World Heritage Site. (will may lose the WHS status this June, when the UNESCO World Heritage committee meet).
The Friends Of India Buildings.
The HMRC unions are up in arms about this move.
The Bootle Strand will be decimated.
The area of Water Street will be re-invented. But will this be Plastic Town and not Liverpool the city that used to have character. That is until London, investors with no real links to the city were touted by Mr Anderson and smoothed along by the likes of Gary Millar and Nick Small.
It could be the usual David amongst The Philistines, but y'know I have a sling and I am going to have a fight. Better late than never. Its that time.
Please if anyone with genuine interests can help please don't hesitate to contact me.
Its time to fight them on the beaches.
And I Dreamt That I Dwelt In Marble Halls. No More. Holts Arcade Is About To Be Butchered.