Regeneration summit focuses on keeping it local for the city

Fri, March 22nd, 2019

Liverpool has £13bn of regeneration projects in the pipeline, and council...

Liverpool has £13bn of regeneration projects in the pipeline, and council chiefs insist that local suppliers and workers must be the main beneficiaries.

The second annual Regenerating Liverpool summit took place at the RIBA North waterfront site, jointly hosted by Liverpool Chamber and Liverpool City Council. Event attendees included developers, architects and building firms.

It heard of the healthy state of the city’s development sector, with Nick Kavanagh, Liverpool Council director of regeneration and economy telling delegates: “There’s £13bn of investment in the pipeline. These are projects that are going to happen across this city, not just in the planning in-tray.”

And he said the council is focused on “keeping it local” to improve the wage levels and living standards of the city’s residents.

“Why can’t Liverpool people and companies be involved in the regeneration?”

He said it is council policy to focus on local businesses first, to achieve social value in public services.

“Some lawyers, in relation to those bidding for contracts, may tell us that we can’t do some things. But I am taking on the legal profession to say, if it is anti-competitive then so be it. We have to set the framework where if you are local you stand a better chance of getting the job.”

It is a legal requirement of the council to look at securing wider social, economic and environmental benefits before it starts any procurement process, and how to secure benefits for its area and stakeholders in its decisions.

The summit identified the proposed development of the Festival Gardens site to the South of the city, and Everton’s proposed 52,000+ seater stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock to the North as key regeneration projects, effectively book-ending a waterfront development opportunity to extend the city boundaries further, involving £2bn-worth of developments.

Everton is still exploring funding options, but the council believe the club will submit a planning application this year.

Mr Kavanagh said: “I am not in control of Bramley-Moore Dock, but the signs are looking good.

“We will support Bramley-Moore Dock through our planning process. I am waiting for them to say to us, ‘the money is in place, let’s get started’.”

Everton chief executive, Denise Barrett-Baxendale, gave a presentation on the club’s progress so far at the MIPIM property event in Cannes last week and Claire Slinger, assistant director of the council’s regeneration team who attended the presentation, said: “It gave me the confidence that this will happen this year.”

She also insisted that the city is now more discerning over prospective developments: “Going forward, it is about high quality. We are not going to be accepting any old rubbish any more.

“We want to make Liverpool the best and most exciting city in the UK.”

Andy Barr, the council’s assistant director for highways and planning, outlined several schemes to improve movement and access across the city, including two in particular.

He said the city will unveil plans before the end of this month to improve access at the M62 Rocket junction: “We will drop the Queens Drive flyover and drop the M62 into a tunnel.”

He said this will be submitted to Transport for the North at the end of this month as part of a £92m investment.

The other scheme involves £150m of work to improve access to Liverpool John Lennon Airport, which will involve the collaboration of three local authorities.

Looking ahead, Mr Kavanagh highlighted one scheme in particular, the Paddington Village Knowledge Quarter, which he said could rival Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year as the greatest catalyst for regeneration in decades.

“It is a £1bn scheme right now which is going to focus on bringing together the great and the good from life sciences, such as cancer treatment and research and development in many life sciences issues.

“But we want to do Paddington Village North, East, West to grow it out to grow that sector which will bring more advantageous jobs to Liverpool, rather than the same old same old.”

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