The city is in the midst of a gruelling improvement journey. Credit: PNW

Liverpool Strategic Futures panel ‘plants seeds’ for change 

Rebooting Liverpool’s regeneration, including kickstarting stalled schemes, has been identified as one of the three priorities on Liverpool’s reform agenda by the panel charged with shaping the city’s long-term future. 

Government commissioners were appointed to oversee certain authority functions in 2021 following a damning report that highlighted a “dysfunctional culture” at the city council. 

The government intervention is part of the city council’s transformation journey. Part of this was the establishment of the Liverpool Strategic Futures Advisory Panel, chaired by Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram. 

The panel – which also features Baroness Judith Blake, former leader of Leeds City Council and Sir Howard Bernstein, ex-chief executive of Manchester City Council – released its initial findings today at the University of Liverpool’s Vice-Chancellor’s Conference at the city’s Maritime Museum. 

Following six months of engagement with more than 300 stakeholders, the panel has developed the outline of a reform agenda aimed at accelerating the city’s progress towards a brighter future, following a period of poor governance. 

Three priority areas have been identified by the panel:  

  • Establishing a regeneration partnership to kickstart stalled projects and rejuvenate regeneration in the city 
  • Piloting an integrated, data-led approach to service delivery focused on multiple complex needs, with the potential to establish a first-of-its-kind Office for Public Service Innovation in the city region 
  • Ensuring the region capitalises on its strengths in life sciences, using the Investment Zone status to accelerate growth in the Knowledge Quarter and spread its benefits more widely. 

The first point will be of particular interest to the region’s property industry. For years, stalled sites in Liverpool have blighted the city’s landscape and painted a negative picture of the city’s development scene.

In recent months, progress has been made in this area. Several high-profile stalled sites, including the Ovatus site on Old Hall Street and Legacie’s Heaps Mill, have been resurrected.

However, others remain, such as Elliot Group’s stalled Infinity scheme on Leeds Street.

In a bid to turbocharge the city’s regeneration, Rotheram said he would be “putting the squeeze” on government to provide the funding for the creation of a new public-private sector partnership to drive holistic development of the city centre.

PlaceNW Merseyside

Rotheram said the report is the ‘culmination of months of engagement and evidence gathering’ with local stakeholders. Credit: PNW

“This report is a culmination of months of engagement and evidence gathering with the people who know our area best,” said Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region. 

“Those discussions gave us a much clearer picture of the direction local people believe the city is going in, and the areas where we need to steer the ship to keep things heading in the right direction.” 

He added that the initial report “doesn’t claim to have all the answers”.

“At this stage, our priority is planting the seeds for leadership and supporting sustainable growth for the long-term, some of which we have already seen with new leadership at the council,” Rotheram added. 

“Liverpool has all the ingredients of a fantastic, truly global city. Through the panel’s work, we want to help the city seize the major opportunities that lie ahead and ensure that all our residents can share in the benefits this will bring.” 

The report states that “Liverpool is rightly regarded as one of Britain’s most dynamic and distinctive cities… yet economically, [it] punches below its weight.” 

It also provides an analysis of Liverpool’s economy today, listing strengths like Liverpool’s tourism appeal, growing student population, and emerging life sciences and advanced manufacturing sectors. 

However, it acknowledges that weaknesses remain, namely lagging productivity, low earnings, and an over-reliance on low productivity sectors. 

The panel estimates £4.5bn a year could be added to Liverpool’s economy by raising productivity levels to the UK average. 

Leader of Liverpool City Council, Cllr Liam Robinson, said: “In recent decades, there have been great strides in making Liverpool a fantastic place to live, work and visit. Now is the time to accelerate our work, moving it to the next level, making sure we deliver for all of our residents.” 

The report has been approved by the secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities Michael Gove. 

Further detail of the reform agenda, and delivery milestones, will be the focus of the panel’s final growth strategy report next year.          

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Awful lot of talking shops around this. If words spoke louder than actions we’d all be deaf.


You can have all the ideas in the world but if you have a council and a planning committee constantly putting off developers through height restrictions and design limitations then you can forget being a “dynamic, global, city.
Steve and Liam love stressing the “local”, but the “local” mindset holds the city back when a small minority of politicised Nimbys jump on nearly every development to find fault with it.
One of the most dynamic things to happen in the Liverpool City Region for years is the new Everton stadium, and similar dynamism needs be shown with the Cruise Terminal, Littlewoods Studios, Liverpool Airport, and the City Centre.

By Anonymous

‘However, it acknowledges that weaknesses remain, namely lagging productivity, low earnings, and an over-reliance on low productivity sectors.’
Yes but they missed one..namely they couldn’t make a coherent decision if their pants were on fire.
‘Brothers and sisters do we put the pants fire out or leave it to provide warmth for our future generations’….

‘No brother I suggest we form a committee to discuss possible future meetings vis a vis the said pants fire…’…oh for heaven’s sake please somebody please just throw a spade in the ground now and again.

By Nimrod

To be fair the Infinity site was to be re started by Legacie and develop it. But a Judge decided to award it to the original purchasers of apartments there.
Nothing appears to have happened since?
In the meantime Legacie are developing a stalled site just up the road from Infinity and as mentioned other stalled sites.
It would be interesting if the plans for the Infinity site could be released and how they are going to achieve it?

By Liverpool4Progress

“Rotheram said he would be “putting the squeeze” on government to provide the funding for the creation of a new public-private sector partnership to drive holistic development of the city centre.”

So basically going cap in hand to the government because nobody in the council knows how to work with the private sector.

By Anonymous

Seeds for change would include approving anything above 10 storeys

By Giant Skyscraper Fan

Nothing will change unless the usual anti development councillors stand up to nimbys and get cranes in the sky. There is no point having a “World famous city” if it’s run like a small village.

By Stuart P

Rotherham please what’s happening with your Ferry and now it’s the trams ? you cant even deliver on Baltic station

By Anonymous

The new Everton stadium is looking amazing but what developments have been going up around it ? Hotels, Businesses, retail ? very poor indeed the city will end up with a world class stadium surrounded by derelict grounds , the business district in Liverpool city centre has still got buildings damaged by war bombs ?????????? its 2023

By Anonymous

What is Steve Rotheram and and Liam Robinson doing in Liverpool? They should be on their way to Japan for that AI conference Like Andy Burnham and Bev Craig are. That why Liverpool misses out: manchester does Liverpool Talks

By Anonymous

Would be nice if Councillors and MPs talked up private sector investment rather than talk it down. Liverpool politics is embarrassing with all these 50 year old socialist student politicians.

By Paul88

@Anon 12.30pm, re Everton Stadium there are some positive green shoots here as a handful of applications are in or have been approved for bars , cafes, and a decent looking hotel on Regent Rd, nothing mega but something. Meanwhile the enigma that is Ten Streets just drifts along as a confused cloud of vagueness, it doesn’t appear to know what it wants or where it is heading, but the knocked-back plans Mandale had for the Bonded Tea Warehouse seem dead in the water,even though they have done some good conversions in the city centre.

By Anonymous

Yo annon Steve just got back from a trip to Hamburg where they are doing one of Europe’s biggest regeneration project and he led a pretty high level delegation to it. Liam Robinson has said time and time again his priority is to steady the ship because the issues we face today is because of ineffective execution of ambitious plans

By Bless

Well I was going to give my tuppence worth but I think it’s all been said and now I’m more concerned about the pants fire. Is it out yet or have the council organised a vigil to celebrate it? I think we should be told. Apart from that, yes sadly, everything said above .

By Father Ted

If 2024 there are still no spades in the ground, I give up on Liverpool. Talk has to turn to tangible action in the next 2024.

By Anonymous

To many people and organisations are delusional and boastful in liverpool so until that changes nothing will really improve to any great degree
A cultural shift is required .

By Anonymous

The stalled Infinity towers has to be a priority here, closely followed by chinatown and pall mall. The council obviously can’t build these but they absolutely can and already should of been supplying resources to sort it.

By Anonymous

Hope Steve Rotherham gets involved in making sure LCC actually are not the one’s contributing to stalled schemes. The old YPG scheme on Devon Street has been awaiting LCC to grant consent for the site to be sold to a new buyer post administration This allowing for creditors to be paid and the development to resurrect , yet LCC is stalling in granting consent. The whole department is not fit for purpose.

By Anonymous

More hot air from Rotherham. Unfortunately his seeds for supporting leadership and long term growth will ultimately fall on stoney ground. Sick and tired of hearing the same old rhetoric with no real positive outcome for the City. It’s needs a total change of leadership. One that can promote the gargantuan potential this City has without the need to beg for handouts. His comments are insulting to be honest.

By Steve Hart

I like the notion of public sector service innovation – it’s rare that you hear our civic leaders talk in terms of efficiency, value for money and focusing on the customer. I’m still left with the view, however, that messrs Robinson and Rotherham don’t truly understand the potential of Liverpool or how to fulfil it.

By More Anonymous than the others

The CA already have funding for regeneration via the Chrysalis and LCR UDF Funds. Pall Mall should be getting out of the ground in 2024 which in itself, will be a game changer for office occupiers – the first brand new grade A office in the CBD for over a decade and the City’s first net zero carbon (in use) building. There are some very large projects set to be developed in 2024 / 2025.

By Anonymous

Can we have more action please? I’m tired of seeing all these conferences being held with big talks around the same problem we’ve had for decades. Just get on with it and start doing the job out council tax is paying you to do LCC.

By David

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