Long-awaited Littlewoods rebirth takes big step forward
Capital&Centric has submitted plans to transform the Liverpool landmark into a TV and film campus, a project that has been many years in the making.
The redevelopment of the Littlewoods complex off Edge Lane will see the 1930s building refurbished, while two new 20,000 sq ft studios will be constructed on adjoining land.
In the main 260,000 sq ft building, Capital&Centric is proposing the creation of offices, workshops, studio support facilities, and an education facility.
In addition, the former canteen, which was housed in a barrel-vaulted hangar, is to be transformed into a multi-purpose screening and performance zone.
This part of the complex will be open to occupiers and the public and will feature five small format cinema screens, an outdoor performance space, and a permanent food hall.
Capital&Centric’s plans include reinstating a working clock on the tower of the building and creating a roof garden. Elsewhere, a new public link between the site and Wavertree Park is planned.
“The Littlewoods Project is all about doubling down on the city being a compelling home for the [TV and film] sector, providing a missing piece of the jigsaw with more indoor studio space and vital support facilities,” said John Moffat, joint managing director of Capital&Centric.
“People have known for some time that the site is down to become a TV and film destination, but it’s a massive step forward to work up the detailed plans and show people what we’ve got in store for this iconic site.
He added: “We listened to the feedback from our consultation and have made sure the Littlewoods Project won’t just be buzzing with those working in the creative industries, but will also open up to the community. We’ve done that with the lush gardens and the screening and performance space, where people will, for the first time in the site’s history, be able to visit and hang out.”
The scheme has been more than five years in the making and suffered a blow last year when Liverpool John Moores University pulled out as one of the scheme’s anchor tenants.
Speaking at the time, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority said LJMU’s decision had no impact on the project’s deliverability. Overall LCRCA has committed £17m to the project.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said the scheme would help the city region maintain its role as the “country’s cultural capital”.
“Establishing ourselves as an international hub for film and TV with world-class facilities will be a really important string to our bow,” he said.
“We have become a magnet for film and TV productions from around the world in recent years – making us the UK’s most filmed location outside of London. But I want to take our region to the next level, to stake our claim as the ‘Hollywood of the North’.
“The £17m we’re investing into both Littlewoods and The Depot will be central in turning that ambition into a reality – helping us to cater for every stage of the production process and creating new jobs and training opportunities for local people.”
ShedKM is the architect behind the scheme, Planit is advising on landscape, and Avison Young is the planning consultant.