Boost for Fab Four’s spiritual home

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Mathew Street. Pic © Ida Husøy JMU Journalism

One of Liverpool’s most famous streets is set to become an even bigger global tourist hub under new regeneration plans by Liverpool City Council.

Mathew Street, world renowned as the spot where The Beatles learned their stagecraft at the Cavern, is set to be transformed.

It is to have its buildings revitalised and the “quality of attractions” improved, with a focus on the city’s recent UNESCO World City of Music status to enhance visitor attraction.

Consultants at Planit Intelligent Environments (P-IE) have been appointed by council officers to produce a Spatial Regeneration Framework (SRF) for the area around Mathew Street, encompassing the nearby Williamson Square.

The urban experts have stated that the SRF will include a consultation with residents and local businesses and will explore the redevelopment of derelict buildings, defining a clearer network of streets and squares and a comprehensive public art strategy.

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P-IE has previous worked on the restoration of Stanley Park and the public space surrounding Liverpool Football Club. In 2005, they were appointed as the master planners for the redevelopment of the derelict Festival Gardens.

A recent economic impact report highlighted that The Beatles-related industry has been growing at 5-15%, with Liverpool’s music heritage worth an estimated £90m. The Cavern City Tours and the Cavern Club alone attract 800,000 visitors a year.

Labour Councillor, Nick Small, told JMU Journalism: “I’ve been a long time campaigner that we need to improve Mathew Street and I think there’s a lot more that we should be doing to reflect the music heritage of Mathew Street.

“It should be about live music, it should be about new music, it should be about heritage and we’re not really seeing that at the moment.”

Supported by the Liverpool BID Company, which represents 1,500 businesses in the city, the SRF will undergo a formal consultation across a period of six weeks in the new year once the draft is complete.  The feedback will influence the final draft before it’s presented to the council for a final decision.

Pete Swift, Managing Director at P-IE, told the Liverpool Echo: “This is no ordinary planning project, where we might focus on what a place will look like at the end, but rather how to control the journey along which Liverpool will showcase its rightful status as the most influential music city on the planet.”

About Adele Matthews, JMU Journalism