Regeneration plan to transform city

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The Royal Liver Building, Dale Street, Liverpool. Photo: Ida Husøy

Ambitious plans to regenerate Liverpool city centre have been unveiled, which draw inspiration from some of the world’s finest cities.

New York, Boston, Melbourne and Hamburg are among a number of cities that Liverpool Vision looks to emulate with its latest plans for Liverpool over the next two decades.

A 140-page document released by Liverpool Vision outlines the blueprint for a number of major projects within the city centre, prioritised for investment over the next 15 years.

These include the continued redevelopment of the Liverpool waterfront, a revamp of the area surrounding St George’s Hall and improvements to the Liverpool Knowledge Quarter and Commercial District.

The scheme aims to turn the St George’s Hall plateua into “a new heart of the city centre, where parades, celebrations, street carnivals and trophy-raising will take place”, replicating the likes of London’s Trafalgar Square.

A ‘Great Street’ initiative means Hope Street, Dale Street and Water Street will also be the focus of an investment programme over the next 10-15 years.

St George’s Hall

The 2012 Framework maps out an increase in the residential population of the city centre from 32,000 to 42,000.

Investments have also been highlighted for transport infrastructure, looking at improving airport links, bus and rail services, car parking, cultural attractions, social facilities and more ‘green space’.

A number of strategic initiatives will also be put into place, focused around ‘Enterprise, People and Place’.

Within the document Max Steinberg, Chief Executive at Liverpool Vision, said: “The regeneration of Liverpool has succeeded because the partners responsible for its delivery focused upon a limited set of key projects. We prioritised.

“While we are all rightly proud of our achievements, I also recognise there is still more to do. Our success has not made us complacent. The economic climate has not diminished our ambition. In fact it has made us more intelligent, more innovative.

“This document is the foundation for continuing our success.”

Similar to the last report in 2000, when plans were unveiled for the Echo Arena and Convention Centre and the Cruise Liner terminal, the waterfront will be a key focus looking ahead.

A new £40m Exhibition Centre is due for completion in the King’s Docks in 2015, and there are plans to build an International Migration Centre as well as an ‘extreme sports visitor destination’ which will offer sports facilities alongside food and retail outlets.

An all-season walkway will take pride of place along the waterfront, to improve links to the city centre.

Matthew Biagetti, City Centre Senior Development Manager at Liverpool Vision, told JMU Journalism that the time is right to document further plans for regeneration. He said: “The last report recommended a broad range of projects, including the Arena and Convention Centre and other developments.  Many of those projects are either complete or would benefit from a refreshed approach.

Liverpool waterfront. Photo: Ida Husøy

“Given the progress that has been made in the city centre since 2000, the principles contained within the last framework are still valid but they are outdated.  A refreshed approach was required which embraced new priorities, focused on economic growth sectors, and created a new vision for the city to aspire to.”

Although no financial figures or funding arrangements are mentioned in the investment framework, Biagetti insists measures have been taken to ensure the proposals are affordable. He said: “The projects will be funded in a variety of ways. Delivery will differ across the projects but will include a mix of private sector investment and public sector funding sources.”

In a foreword to the plans, Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “Liverpool’s recent renaissance is of international significance. The city centre has experienced considerable growth over the last 10 years and despite the current challenging economic climate it continues to have enormous growth potential.”

He added: “Perhaps most encouraging for the future is that this unmistakable sense of recovery is now widely recognised outside of Liverpool. The city is, once again, seen as a place can deliver projects of international quality and significance and compete in mainstream markets for jobs and investments.”

The full Liverpool City Centre Strategic Investment Framework 2012 is available here.

About Joshua Killner, JMU Journalism