'Our overall assessment of LCC, at this time, is that it is a well-governed, improving organisation...' wrote the commissioners. Credit: PNW

Commissioners plan June exit from Liverpool

Praising the city council’s transformation and the leadership of Leader Cllr Liam Robinson and chief executive Andrew Lewis, the government commissioners have told secretary of state Michael Gove that their presence is no longer necessary in the city.

Instead, the commissioners have suggested that a statutory assurance and improvement board take over in June.

The government sent in commissioners to Liverpool City Council in June 2021 after a Best Value Inspection called for a whole council reset due to failures in governance. At the time, the city council was facing a budget gap of £98.2m and had “no structured plans to address it,” as per a commissioner report.

Three years on, the commissioners have decided that their work is largely done.

“Our overall assessment of LCC, at this time, is that it is a well-governed, improving organisation, with ambitious leaders who are committed to long-term change,” the commissioners wrote in their report.

“If LCC continues on this path, it will soon be a council that can achieve the value for money, good quality services the people of Liverpool have a right to expect for many years to come.”

They did note though that: “…while the council has made considerable progress, there is more to do.

“Both commissioners and the council leadership agree that the transformation journey still has real risks to its delivery, that the council will need continued support to implement its ambitious change programme, and that more progress needs to be made on slow-to-improve areas such as property,” the commissioner report continued.

The appointment of director of property David Lord was hailed by commissioners as one of the reasons for a “more positive improvement trajectory” for the city council’s approach to its property roles.

Property had been one of the main issues during that initial Best Value Inspection in 2020 due to its poor record of assets and their conditions. There is now a programme in place to improve the estate information, increase debt recovery, and enhance financial governance when it comes to the city council’s property portfolio – which brings it £14m in rent a year.

Commissioners noted the city council’s city centre development and investment strategy, a document that I set to be approved this summer that will help provide a united approach towards housing, placemaking, regeneration, and transport.

Another key area had been planning, with commissioners noting that that department is now adequately resourced. This has led to it reducing the backlog of applications from 4,622 to 1,141 within two years.

The important thing is Liverpool City Council seems back on track.

“Over the last six months, our confidence has grown in the council’s ability and commitment to deliver change,” commissioners noted. “Meeting the Best Value Duty is now within the Council’s grasp and, with further statutory support, will be achieved in the near future.”

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They noted planning was a problem but for me it still remains as it’s about being open to development and this council isn’t. They are still fixated about height and external appearance, you only have to look at some of the bigger applications as to how long drawn out the process is and the big investors are still not arriving. If it wasn’t for the recent announcement of the TJ Morris plans for high-rise near the waterfront where would we be. Look at the planning portal and they spend a lot of time dealing with HMOs, communication masts, home extensions, and so on , and that won’t lift the economy.

By Anonymous

6:06 pm
By Anonymous- Excellent summary . Tom Morris and his team offer the city a chance to create significant momentum and hopefully show potential investors we (the city) have much to offer. My concern is the small minded , petty , hight obsessed LCC planners they need to immediately be instructed to change this ludicrous self serving policy . They have no right to impose their personal beliefs on the city which is proving detrimental to growth.

By Paul M - Woolton

Almost all European cities have had height -restricting (small-minded, petty, height-obsessed) regulations in place for decades to avoid US-style non-human-centric wealth-extracting tower blocks surrounded by sheds (Liverpool Docksides, Manchester Cheetham Hill etc.) made for dividends and bonuses not communities. That is why nobody every wants to work in, live in, or visit those ugly awful European cities.

By James Yates

James Yates – You are so wrong , how do you support the statement “ugly awful European cities.” ridiculous and unfounded .

By Paul

Now we can move on and hopefully lessons will be learned.
LCC seem to be on a new enilghted track since Cllr Robinson took the helm.
Prospects appear to be brighter and more welcoming for developers.

By Liverpolitis

Oh No, imagine planners being concerned about the height and appearance of the buildings! Its political correctness gone mad!

If you want to live in a place with tall and ugly buildings move to Dubai!

By Dr Ian Buildings

@James Yates, maybe you didn’t see the NLA report about the hundreds of tall building planned for London in the coming decades. I do not want Liverpool saturated with talls but our city centre is ripe for these type of buildings and hope TJ Morris can give us at least two 55 storey towers, then we have Liverpool Waters/Central Docks where I would like to see at least two or three 30 storey towers. We have ample room in the suburbs for low and mid-rise with acres of empty litter strewn wasteland ideal for development.

By Anonymous

Oh James Yates , let’s hope you don’t actually believe your own nonsense and its simply a rant. No basis in fact whatsoever.

By Anonymous

Paul- whoosh…

By Gene Walker

Liverpool is closed to development and therefore closed to any form of innovation / progression / growth. LCC need to take a trip down the M62 to Manchester to see what can be achieved with real leadership.

By Anonymous

@ Dr Buildings we have London, Manchester, and Birmingham with tall buildings no need to go to Dubai. However if you wish to be in ia place with limited ambition and vision, scared to take risks , and unwilling to allow the free market to express itself because you are held back by certain councillors from the dark ages then stay here in Liverpool.

By Anonymous

We need more office’s for better jobs. I would like to see more tea room’s for the elderly too!

By Mary Woolley

@ Mary 12.36pm, Leaf on Bold St and on Smithdown Road have a wonderful selection of teas, meanwhile their afternoon tea and cakes offer is pretty reasonable too.

By Anonymous

What about a cucumber sandwich shop as well Mary?

By Anonymous

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