The city council’s plan to support the delivery of up to 2m sq ft of commercial space over the next decade is set to be signed off next week.
Under the strategic regeneration framework for the commercial business district, the council, working with Arup, architect Shedkm, Worthington Owen, and heritage consultant Rob Burns, has identified a number of sites for potential development. The council has jointly commissioned the SRF with the Liverpool BID.
The framework identifies the need for as much as 2m sq ft of offices over the Local Plan period, which runs to 2033. Under the SRF, any proposals for anything other than offices or commercial space on these plots is likely to be resisted by the council.
The SRF area covers from Mann Island in the south, heading up to Brook Street and Princes Dock to the north, and taking in areas such as Old Hall Street, Chapel Street, Dale Street, Tithebarn Street, and the waterfront.
The SRF shows 12 sites that could provide additional commercial development. These include Princes Dock, which has outline planning consent for 615,000 sq ft of offices, and the King Edward Triangle, while also has outline consent for 918,000 sq ft of commercial space.
Elsewhere, the Seat dealership on Leeds Street has been identified to house a mid-to-high rise commercial office scheme; within the CBD, the Rumford Street car park, and a plot next to Moorfields station have also been identified for offices.
A vacant plot off North Street has also been flagged as a development opportunity, along with the former Trinity Mirror printing room and car park on Brook Street, and the Court Building on Derby Square.
Existing buildings and developments have also been earmarked for offices; these include the Bank of England building on Castle Street; Beetham Court, a 12,000 sq ft office on Tithebarn Street; the 180,000 sq ft BT Building on Old Leeds Street; and the 83,000 sq ft Imperial Court on Exchange Street East.
The SRF argued there had been “falling stock levels and a lack of any new Grade A office space” since the delivery of No4 St Paul’s Square.
“The city is now in desperate need of high quality offices to not only accommodate the growth of its existing occupier base but perhaps more importantly enable it to secure footloose occupier requirements and therefore grow as a commercial centre and become known as a national leader in office attractiveness,” said the document.
The report also flagged the lack of larger floor plates in the city, with most corporate occupiers requiring floor plates of around 15,000 sq ft.
“With dwindling levels of supply, floorplates such as this are becoming increasingly rare and this potentially forms another barrier to the future success of the commercial core and the city’s ability to compete with other cities throughout the UK.”
Public consultation took place on the SRF in June and July this year, and following feedback, the council has been recommended to sign off the framework at a cabinet meeting next week.
If the SRF is signed off, it will be taken into account in any planning decisions made by the city council for the CBD area, and the council’s development management process. It is also likely to be reviewed once Liverpool’s Local Plan is adopted, which is expected to take place in autumn 2020.