With the demolition of the flyovers in Liverpool now well under way, the city’s property community has put forward ideas for how to use the key gateway sites in future.
The two roads, opened in the 1970s as part of Liverpool’s abandoned inner ring road scheme, are being knocked down after a review earlier this year found both were “no longer adequate to carry vehicles or pedestrians”. They have been closed since September 2018.
The flyovers link Lime Street to both Dale Street and Tithebarn Street, and run directly behind the city’s museums on William Brown Street. Remedial works were previously carried out in the 1980s, in 2005, and in 2013.
While the council has said it will make alterations to the highways around the sites once demolition completes, at a design charette organised by Liverpool Young Architects, the city’s property and architectural professionals put forward their ideas of how best to use the sites in future.
More than 60 professionals ranging from students to company directors across disciplines including architects, urban designers, landscape architects, and planners, shared their views in an informal design competition. The charette, dubbed Drafts & Draughts, was hosted at Crazy Pedro’s.
Ideas shared by the attendees included a full pedestrianisation of all the plots, providing a vista from St George’s Hall down to Dale Street; reanimating existing street frontages by providing shopfronts for businesses currently dissected by the flyovers; and using the sites to redirect traffic away from Old Haymarket.
Social housing was also mooted, while a public beach was also put forward. Reusing the demolished flyovers as public art at their former home was put forward as well as using the sites for extensive public realm.
The designs were judged by a panel including Sarah Lovelocks, owner of local coffee shop Lovelocks; Pete Swift of Planit-IE; Kim Cooper, senior town planner at Arup; Hazel Rounding, director of ShedKM; and Mark Dickens, spatial planner for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
It is hoped the ideas will help to stimulate debate around how to use the key gateway sites in future and bring forward a potential transformative vision for the area.
Mat Giles, LYA committee member and director of MgMaStudio, said: ‘The intention of the charette was to build on the existing architectural discourse within Liverpool, to assist in the raising of quality of new major developments.
“The range of ideas was very exciting, and it was interesting the see the engagement between the judges, and participants who varied greatly in profession, and skill base. It is important for these sorts of events to become forums on which better places, and therefore better cities can be built.”