Capes in for long haul at £5bn Liverpool Waters
Peel L&P’s newly appointed development director intends to see the 30-year waterfront regeneration project through to completion.
“It is an amazing opportunity to shape the city and the waterfront,” Chris Capes told Place North West.
Having been appointed to succeed outgoing development director Darran Lawless earlier this year, Capes is a little under a month into his new role.
“There is a lot to get my head around and a lot of work to do to understand the detail,” he said.
At Liverpool Waters, Peel aims to regenerate a 150-acre swathe of largely derelict dockland, stretching northwards from Princes Dock to Bramley-Moore Dock.
Following the approval of Everton FC’s new stadium at the northernmost end of Liverpool Waters earlier this year, the developer’s approach to the phasing of the development has changed.
Peel previously planned to build northwards from Princes Dock, culminating in the final phase at Bramley-Moore Dock.
However, after the Government signed off Everton’s £500m proposal, Peel is keen to harness the investment potential of the stadium project and now plans to build in both directions before “meeting in the middle”, according to project manager Phil Jones.
Lawless, who left Peel to join regeneration firm Placefirst earlier this year, oversaw the approval of the Everton project before handing over the reins to Capes, who joined from Liverpool City Council, where he was development team leader.
But the newly installed development director told Place North West that he would have taken the job even if the approval for the stadium had not been secured.
That being said, with the potential to provide a £1.4bn economic boost to the city, as well as 15,000 jobs, having the stadium scheme approved was a huge milestone in the development of Liverpool Waters.
“It is a fantastic catalyst for the development that bookends Liverpool Waters,” Capes said.
“It will deliver a brilliant opportunity to regenerate that end of the site and bring employment and investment into what is one of north Liverpool’s most deprived wards. That is an important aspect of what we are trying to achieve.”
The task at hand for Capes and Peel is huge, but potentially game changing: Liverpool Waters could effectively expand the city centre by two kilometres, revitalising deprived areas, attracting investment and creating jobs.
And, as the owner of the entire site and holder of a planning permission that runs until 2042, Peel has an enviable mandate to deliver transformational change in Liverpool.
“We are deeply aware that anything we do is as important for the city as it is for Peel. We are about creating a place,” Capes said.
But he knows that Peel will need help to make Liverpool Waters a success.
“Liverpool is a fantastic place with a huge amount going for it and we are part of that. It is about creating lasting partnerships to deliver that vision. In my view we can’t do it all on our own,” he said.