Public has a say on waterfront plans

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Liverpool's Echo Arena. Pic © Kat Kynes/ffb.co.uk

Liverpool’s Echo Arena. Pic © Kat Kynes/ffb.co.uk

The public is being invited to voice opinions on plans for a £40 million exhibition centre to be built on Liverpool’s waterfront, which could create up to 1,300 jobs for the city.

The Exhibition Centre Liverpool (ECL) will be attached to the existing Echo Arena and BT Convention Centre and details of the proposal are to be uncovered at a pre-planning consultation this weekend.

The consultation, at the arena, has been arranged to allow people to examine the development plans, add their contributions and leave comments before the final planning application is submitted later this month.

Cabinet member for employment, enterprise and skills, Councillor Nick Small, told JMU Journalism that people’s opinions could help lead to an improved application.

“This is a really exciting project for the city and the whole city will benefit from it, but it’s right that we ask the people what they think so they can see what’s included in it, what’s not included in it, ask them how it can be made even better, ask them for their views on it and then feed that into the planning application.”

The new world class facility will feature three 2,700 sqm halls, an atrium, a business centre and meeting rooms, as well as a 200-room hotel on the complex. It is estimated that the scheme will boost the city’s economy by £40 million per year and support up to 1,300 local jobs.

It is also estimated that 50 events are to be hosted in its first year of being up and running and will draw in around 250,000 visitors.

Events to be held at the centre are to include both national and international exhibitions, sporting events, conferences, and concerts that will add to the ones already held at ACC Liverpool.

Cllr Small added:  “At the moment the arena and conference centre is fantastic for the city, but it’s not big enough to hold some events, so what we’ll be able to do with the new exhibition centre is to hold some of the biggest events nationally and internationally. It’s great news for everyone because it’ll create jobs directly and indirectly, help the businesses in Liverpool city centre and in the Albert Dock and the hotels, so everyone can really benefit from this boost.

“It shows that the city is going from strength to strength and we really are on the up. In the next few years, when this is up and running, we can bring all these new events to the city.”

The building of the complex will begin in the autumn of 2013 and is expected to be completed and ready for opening by the year 2015.

Liverpool Mayor, Joe Anderson, said: “These events will give people the chance to see the plans for themselves and leave feedback. All views will be assessed in preparation for the official planning application.”

About Michaela Routledge, JMU Journalism