COMMENT | About turn: Liverpool sets its face to Atlantic to unlock investment boom

Matt Severs

At a packed-out business briefing recently in Liverpool’s Hilton Hotel the city’s Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, made an interesting observation about Liverpool’s geography, post-Brexit, writes Matt Severs, director of Igloo Regeneration.

The city was, he noted, “facing the right way once again”.  If post-Brexit trade talks and trading patterns took an Atlanticist turn, as expected, then there was no city in the UK better-placed to exploit this than Liverpool, he suggested.

Huge investment in the city’s deep-water container port would prove one of the most prescient pieces of infrastructure development in many a long day and the city’s original purpose – that of an entrepôt– would be front and centre to its commercial life once more, added the Mayor.

The murmur of recognition and approval was tangible, but what of the remaining infrastructure required to exploit the opportunity fully? The development market is starting to realise the potential, with a range of major schemes either consented or in the planning process designed to provide the logistics and groupage capacity for shippers bringing goods in to and out of the docks.

Bericote’s 1.4m sq ft Florida Farm development is now on site and Peel’s nearby Haydock Point development is promising 1.8m sq ft of space and an investment of £160m. A couple of miles to the south, Langtree’s first phase proposals for the redundant Parkside Colliery anticipates a further 1.2m sq ft of mixed industrial and logistics space.  All point to their ease of access to the port as key selling points.

With such an enthusiastic response from the market does that mean a change of focus for the Chrysalis Fund and its interventionist standpoint? Well probably not. There still remains a need for our tailored blend of senior, junior and corporate debt; quasi-equity and equity; first loss positions and guarantees, notably for developers of difficult brownfield sites or owner-occupiers in the manufacturing sector seeking to expand existing facilities.

The fact remains that in certain sectors or on certain sites, land values and other input factors make viability marginal – and our purpose is to provide the intervention required to pull a scheme over the line and make it happen.

We saw that with our £2.3m loan towards a £5.3m refurbishment of the former Goodrich aerospace engineering site in Knowsley, now completed and available for immediate occupation as Aquila 118.  We’re currently assessing a pipeline of major projects with a similar aim: unlocking regeneration and bringing jobs and prosperity to the region.

The Brexit negotiations have yet to be concluded, of course, and quite how Atlanticist any trading future is remains to be seen. But the UK economy – and the Liverpool city region’s, within it – has continued to grow and prosper and we remain committed to assisting well thought-through projects with their viability. As former investments repay, we’ll recycle our capital to continue supporting renewal, expansion and growth, too.

Whether as a great port, tourism hub or knowledge-intensive centre for invention and discovery, Liverpool is regaining its mojo and we can all benefit from that.

  • Matt Severs is director of Igloo Regeneration, which manages the Chrysalis Fund

Your Comments

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It’s our raison d’etre and may benefit from a borderless Ireland.

By Man on bicycle

A borderless Ireland? Like the one that’s already there?

The yanks are as worried about Brexit as the EU. We were encouraged to apply by the Americans back in the day (when we had to battle and apply 3 times), and among the reasons we were rejected was because of fears the UK would act for American interests within Europe. With Britain out, the US will look for other partners to push their interests in the EU; the Republic of Ireland being the obvious one.

There are no benefits to Liverpool of Brexit.

By Town Planner

Every cloud has a silver lining.

By Craig Earley

The stupidity and naivety of Mr. Rotherham placed front and centre again. Dreadful fantasist.

By John Smith

So having a back door into Europe through Ireland does not present great opportunities Ahem! When Brexit finally arrives…and there is a “soft” border unlike the proposed one by certain day glow parties. I am sure some bright sparks will see the opportunities to exploit and Liverpool could benefit. All depends on the tariffs of course, but the Government seem to have it all sorted..cough cough!

By Rosie York

Well I can understand the members of the municipal planning department not understanding the opportunities.. but there you go!

By Man on bicycle

If there are no border restrictions or very little,between a member of the EU and a non member I can see lots of ways to manipulate the system especially if certain trade deals or tariffs are prohibitive one way or the other?

By Liverpolitis

At least he knows how to spell ‘Rotheram’, unlike John Smith. Can’t be as stupid as some might be therefore.


Town Planner, you appear to be confusing the geopolitical picure with what might happen with trade. Yes, the Americans like to have a close ally within the European project and didn’t want the country to vote to come out last year. This doesn’t mean that, depending one what sort of Brexit deal is negotiated with Europe, Brexit may not help accelerate the already growing amount of trade that the UK does with the Americas and other non-EU regions. This trend has benefitted the now growing Port of Liverpool already. Any more of it is obviously good for an Atlantic port like Liverpool..Whatever the negative consequences of Brexit, as Craig Earley points out, every cloud has a silver lining. It is clear that Brexit may benifit Liverpool – joining the EEC in the first place did after all impact negatively on it, despite the regional assistance grants that came into the city region twenty years later.


Florida Farm, Peel at Haydock, and Parkside – all St Helens. But you missed off the development on Penny Lane at Haydock Industrial Estate by Morley and the units already coming out of the ground on the St Helens Linkway being done by Network Space.

So when you say Liverpool has its mojo back i’m not sure you’re anywhere near correct. St Helens has motored in the last couple of years by reacting to market shifts; Liverpool is still struggling to know what to do.

By Merseyside Property Watcher

St Helens is in the Liverpool City region, you muppet. An indivisible part. Essentially part of Greater Liverpool.

By Deebee

Johnny Vegas doesn’t sound scouse, looks it though.

By Gaviis

Steve Rotheram is right. Nobody knows what the future holds, but if the UK wants to be an outward-looking trading nation rather than part of a protectionist EU bloc, then Liverpool is in the right place.

By Moomo

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