Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Liam Thorp

After Littlewoods blow, what next for other crucial Liverpool development projects

One of Liverpool's most important development projects suffered a major blow this week.

It was confirmed yesterday that the £70m plan to redevelop the city's iconic Littlewoods building into one of the country's biggest TV and film complexes had been hit by the news that a key partner on the project - Liverpool John Moores University - has pulled out.

The university had been planning to lease around 75,000 sq ft of the Littlewoods project as a major anchor tenant alongside Twickenham Studios. University bosses said they will instead be looking to invest further in their own campus and facilities. It is a big blow for one of the most important developments in the city.

READ MORE: Dad arrested 'for murder' after bid to save tragic Adelphi woman 'would do it again'

With the bad news around Littlewoods, we have had a look at the latest progress being made at four other Liverpool developments that are seen as absolutely crucial to the progress of the city.

Kings Dock

There has long been talk of a major development being in the works for a large section of Kings Dock - a prime waterfront space.

Kings Dock is situated in the south docks, connected to Wapping Dock to the north and Queen’s Dock to the south. The council has full freehold ownership of the site following a number of decisions taken in recent years.

The site was extensively developed in 2008 and now provides leisure, residential and conference facilities including the M&S Bank Arena, Exhibition and Convention Centre, 1800 residential housing units and a number of hotels.

In March 2017, the council's cabinet authorised the council to acquire the remaining vacant development land from Homes England on a 999-year lease, costing the local authority £4.1m. The ongoing redevelopment plan comprises seven council-owned plots of land totalling 7.6 acres of land.

Earlier this year, the council said it lacked the internal resources and capacity to deliver a Kings Dock project itself and instead launched a procurement process to find a development manager and master planner working to the council.

According to the council's latest updates, that procurement process is underway to appoint a development manager and wider professional team to work up a masterplan and design guide for the Kings Dock site. This team will then submit a plan for outline planning permission.

There is a live tender containing the submissions from potential development managers that the council is currently assessing and it is hoped the preferred consultant will be appointed by the end of November 2022. The council has also successfully bid for £1m of Strategic Innovation Fund cash.

Pall Mall

It was back in 2016 that Liverpool Council first discussed plans for a new office block to be built in Pall Mall on part of the former Exchange Station site.

It was a controversial plan and saw protests from those who wanted to save the Bixteth Street Gardens green space around the development site.

The city council has a development agreement with Kier Construction to deliver the city centre project in phases and work is underway.

According to the latest update, this agreement has been revised to allow Kier more time to draw down the land for development. The report suggests there is still a lack of an anchor tenant to take up the office space. It states: "The primary focus for both parties is to secure a significant pre-let which will attract the required inward investment to enable construction to start. All parties remain optimistic that a pre-letting of the whole or part can be achieved, given the lack of new offices development in recent times."

Kier has full planning permission for the first office building, public realm and hotel and outline consent for the 3rd and 4th office buildings.

Stonebridge Cross

The ECHO recently reported an update on another major city development project. It concerns plans for more than 1,000 homes at Stonebridge Cross.

In March 2021, Liverpool Council agreed plans to move a development plan forward for Stonebridge Cross in Croxteth, with a view to building 1,200 homes on the site. An update from Mark Bourgeois, interim Strategic Director - City Development, has detailed how the local authority is now procuring consultants to progress the site towards an outline planning application.

Liverpool Council has held the site since acquiring it from Homes England in 2014 and has been facilitating the creation of over 300,000 square feet of business and commercial space there. The 55-acre site is located on the East Lancashire Road (A580), one of the main thoroughfares into Liverpool.

Mr Bourgeois’ report said a workshop was held with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Homes England in June to discuss a housing offer, employment uses and procurement of consultants. Briefing sessions have been undertaken with ward members and the Cabinet member for Regeneration, the most recent of which was last week.

Further procurement of a consultant to carry out habitat surveys is complete and survey work will begin in October. This will come ahead of soft market testing and procurement of planning consultants to develop an outline planning application for the site that could “transform the housing offer at scale in this part of Liverpool” according to last year’s cabinet documents.

Festival Gardens

Another absolutely vital site for the city and the council. It is hoped that the land next to the Garden Festival site in south Liverpool will eventually provide 1500 homes.

Initial remediation work on the former landfill site has been ongoing for several years, but the council previously had an exclusivity deal with its development partner Ion to deliver the wider development.

However last month the council announced it would be changing its approach and carrying out a full new procurement process to appoint a developer for the 22-acre waterfront plot. The search for a developer is set to begin early next year.

Unsurprisingly, Ion bosses were not impressed. In a statement the company hinted it may be forced to take legal action over the decision. The stinging statement added: "We are obviously very disappointed by this approach, particularly given that the council has confirmed on numerous occasions that our performance on the project is not in question and the fact that we have worked seamlessly with the council's regeneration team to progress the project since our involvement commenced some four and a half years ago."

In its latest update, the council notes the change of plan and said officers are beginning work with the Homes England to bring forward a 'design code' for the site to provide detailed parameters to 'support high quality development.' The update adds: "The comprehensive, net zero focused residential-led redevelopment would follow on in phases comprising a range of types and tenures, supported by community uses and a high-quality public realm."


Dad arrested 'for murder' after bid to save tragic Adelphi woman 'would do it again'

DWP announces changes to PIP decision making process for claimants

Dealer selling from mobility scooter told police 'I'm not pulling over lad'

Tesco, Asda and Aldi forced to bring in huge ban for shoppers

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.