Landmark projects to be the 'catalyst' for new era of city regeneration
A number of key projects spear-heading Liverpool’s next chapter of regeneration will be the “catalyst” for moving forward and making “other things happen”, according to Liverpool City Council chief executive Tony Reeves.
Speaking at an event on Tuesday, along with Mayor Joanne Anderson, the key figures within the City Council attempted to sketch out their immediate vision for regeneration as the city looks to recover from the pandemic and the fallout of the Caller Report findings.
Both Mayor Anderson and Mr Reeves were joined by the City Council’s new director of regeneration, Mark Bousfield, who looks set to be a key architect of the council’s next phase of development and regeneration.
While Mayor Anderson was quick to state that her tenure will be guided by “integrity, transparency and improvement”, admitting that on-going challenges with city centre development “gives us the opportunity to rethink what has happened”, the event looked to focus on what is to come rather than fixate on what needs to be left behind.
Addressing business and property leaders, the new director of regeneration, Mark Bousfield, touched on a mixture of “major” projects currently underway in the city along with those which are earmarked as the “catalyst” for generating regeneration momentum.
The catalyst projects include further development in Paddington Village, Kings Dock and the next phase of the Littlewoods Building - “the Hollywood of the north” - and are seen as a spark for this new council administration.
Mr Bousfield pointed toward the cabinet meetings of October and November for the proposed timescale for sealing approval on the projects.
Regeneration within the Paddington Village is continuing a pace following the opening of The Spine building earlier this summer - the new northern home of the Royal College of Physicians.
The next phase of development on the plot would see the addition of a residential development and another office development within the science innovation district.
The Littlewoods building on Edge Lane has long been the symbol of Liverpool’s burgeoning title of ‘Hollywood of the north’.
Under its shadow, a major new film and high end tv drama studio has just opened for business.
The next phase of the project would turn its attention to the iconic Littlewoods building.
Another of the immediate priorities would be continuing with the regeneration of Kings Dock, something which Mr Bousfield suggested would be intended to ensure the dockland had a “world-class” offer.
There are clear signals that the new administration is focussing on realistic, but integral goals in its first 12 months.
There is consideration of not wanting to overpromise and underdeliver.
Upper Central is one of the longer term projects but equally important to the Council’s vision and intends to link Lime Street with the knowledge quarter - where significant development is underway at the Paddington Village.
London Road provides a clear path linking the two areas, however the area does not generate the same footfall or attention as say Ropewalks or city centre expansion into the Baltic Triangle.
There has been positive development taking place in the Fabric District, which sits between Lime Street and the knowledge quarter, and it would appear the city council is looking to capitalise on this renewed interest and in turn find a way of improving connectivity.
Speaking at the event on Tuesday, Mark Bousfield said: “We’re looking to move forward with plans for Upper Central, which is about linking Lime street with the education and innovation offer of the knowledge quarter.
“That will be about extending the city centre in a meaningful way.”
Through a mixture of planning that will “emphasise walkability and livability” and innovative and integrated public public transport system, Mr Bousfield noted how the project would expand the city centre and, in time, look to make the two separated areas one single place.
He went on to add how these projects would emerge from “clear conversation about our priorities and how they fit with [business leader’s and developer’s] priorities in a transparent and open relationship.
He added: “We’re moving on from the previous styles of management.”
Of the other “major” projects the City Council is working on, Mr Bousfield highlighted Bramley Moore Stadium, what is currently “largest construction project in the north of England”, as well as on-going development of the Festival Gardens site.
The south Liverpool project within a stone’s throw of the Mersey will be the site of a major regeneration project which will build 1500 eco-friendly homes.
Work on both sites is currently underway.
Mayor Anderson added: "As we continue with our recovery, we need to be clear what outcomes we want in terms of growth, we want good transport, houses, business districts, jobs, opportunities and excellent public spaces.
"This means more development and a bigger economy, it means more sustainable and inclusive opportunities for everyone."
Speaking about the catalyst projects hoping to reach their next phase in the coming months, Chief Executive Tony Reeves returned to the Council’s new ethos, stressing its importance to shaping the city’s next chapter of regeneration.
He said: “We've been on record saying we need to work really really hard to win back the trust of all of our stakeholders - all of us, investors, people of Liverpool, local businesses.
“We need that transparency, credibility, but the key thing is making sure those processes don't hold the city back and that we work seamlessly with the private sector and make Liverpool a really good place to invest.
“If we get those forward we can really move forward. We need a few catalyst projects to get things moving.
“Investment sentiment towards Liverpool is growing and we need to build on that.”