Canal Trust unveils South Docks plans

Floating homes, sculpture park, event space and enlarged marina are among the suggestions in a strategy for Liverpool's South Docks published by Canal & River Trust, formerly British Waterways.

London-based architect BACA produced the strategy as a guide "to encourage and inform future development of the waterspace within the South Docks". The area stretches from Canning Dock in the north to Brunswick Dock in the south.

The strategy identifies potential for three distinct zones within the docks:

  • Culture zone. Albert and Canning docks would be centre of future boat festivals, cultural celebrations and floating sculpture park
  • Mixed-use zone. Salthouse Dock could be floating event space with enhanced public realm and access to waterside. Dukes Dock and Wapping Basin could be home to floating waterpark including water sports, restaurants, pavilions to encourage year-round activity
  • Leisure and aquatecture zone. New opening bridges in Wapping, Queens, Brunswick and Coburg docks would improve existing marina and expand number of moorings for variety of boats including floating homes

Julie Sharman, head of enterprise, Canal & River Trust, said: "The architects have worked closely with key stakeholders during the last 18 months to develop an innovative and sustainable strategy to guide future developments within this wonderful historic dock system. There is so much potential and this strategy really pin points what we could see developed in the docks in the future."

The plans are expected to be approved when they go before the council executive on 19 November.

Cllr Malcolm Kennedy, cabinet member for regeneration, said: "These are exciting proposals, which will play an important part in the future development of the South Docks. The city's waterfront is one of our greatest assets and we want to develop it to its full potential. This strategy lays out the blueprint for how, working together, we can achieve that."

Richard Coutts, director of BACA Architects, added: "The waterspace strategy is a comprehensive and long-term plan to breathe new life into the once great Liverpool Docks. Unlike other water strategies, the Liverpool South Docks is conceived as a masterplan on water. It considers all aspects of design such as, 'water use', floating and fixed infrastructure, 'water plots', phasing and integration with land based development. Realisation of the plan will transform this part of Liverpool and provide a stable long-term structure for investment. Such an approach is readily transferrable to any dock network globally and can be used to stimulate opportunity and investment."

The Canal & River Trust will continue to work with Liverpool City Council and Liverpool Vision together with existing commercial operators already in the docks and future commercial partners to develop the dock system into a world class visitor attraction.

Liverpool's 86-acre waterspace is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is surrounded by some of the largest collections of grade 1-listed buildings in the UK.

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Fantastic news and long over due. Just hope the momentum can be maintained. We also need to see progress on other key city sites, Central Village and Festival Gardens Housing Development.

By Craig

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