Proposals for the site of the disused former St James station on the edge of Liverpool’s heritage quarter have received £1.5m from the city region authority, which has agreed to acquire land to progress the scheme.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor for Liverpool City Region, has pledged to build a new Merseyrail station near to the former Cains Brewery, and early-stage proposals for the new station were contained in a strategic regeneration framework for the 93-acre Baltic Triangle district approved earlier this month.
In the latest signal of intent to deliver the scheme, the combined authority has agreed a £1.2m deal with operator Network Rail to move the proposals to the next stage of the design process.
The authority has also agreed a deal to purchase a plot of land adjacent to the railway cutting off Stanhope Street for £300,000, protecting a potential future site for a station ticket office building.
The former subterranean St James station closed in 1917, and a replacement over land station as proposed in the SRF would provide a direct rail link to the popular Baltic Triangle area and nearby Liverpool waterfront.
Funding for the land purchase and next phase of design has come from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s £175m Transforming Cities Fund, announced last September. An additional application for funding has been made for the station in the latest round of the Department for Transport’s New Stations Fund.
The Baltic Triangle has undergone significant redevelopment in recent years, and is now home to around 350 creative and digital businesses and more than 1,000 apartments. There are pipeline plans for at least 3,000 more residential units in the district, alongside various other creative and leisure facilities.
“Giving commuters and leisure visitors to the area a direct connection to the Merseyrail network would help to reduce car journeys to the area, contributing towards reducing traffic congestion and aspirations to improve air quality across the city region,” the combined authority said.
Architecture firm LDA Design drew up the Baltic Triangle SRF for the area south of Liverpool city centre, in collaboration with a project team that also included JLL, Mott Macdonald, DS Emotion and heritage specialist Robert Bevan.
The next stage of design will be led by Network Rail, which is undertaking a feasibility study with its in-house multidisciplinary design team, to assess all the design and engineering issues including architecture, civil engineering, structures, track, signalling and electrification.
The proposed St James station also forms part of Liverpool City Region’s Long-Term Rail Strategy, a 30-year plan last updated in 2018.
Rotheram said: “I’m working to deliver a London-style transport system across the city region that is quick, affordable and easy to use, as well as expanding our network so our communities can be better connected.
“The Baltic Triangle has undergone a radical transformation over the past decade and has become a fantastic place for people to live, work and enjoy themselves.
“While coronavirus continues to have a huge impact on everyday life, I am determined to keep investing in our region’s economic recovery. Today, we’ve taken another step towards delivering a new station for the Baltic, which will help connect people with jobs, opportunities and the wider city region.”
Andy Heath, managing director of Merseyrail, Liverpool’s local rail network, added: “These latest steps towards re-opening St James station are incredibly promising and fantastic news for those who work in, live in and visit this increasingly vibrant part of the city.
“Not only will this improve rail connectivity in the area, but it will also have a positive impact on the environment, reducing air pollution in the area by providing an alternative mode of transport.”