A station commission chaired by the chief executive of Everton FC has been created to co-ordinate the delivery of a new station in Liverpool city centre, with Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson telling the Government “to put its money where its mouth is” to fund the project.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, announced the commission, and Denise Barrett-Baxendale’s involvement, at the property conference in Cannes.
Earlier this year, Transport for the North’s Strategic Transport Plan included plans to ensure Liverpool City Region benefits from full connection to both Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2, and included suggestions of a new station to accommodate more modern trains and the extra capacity brought about by increased passengers, with journey times between Manchester and Liverpool reduced to 23 minutes.
The cost of delivering the scheme, including development, design, construction, new lines and supporting infrastructure, is estimated at £6bn, which includes 30km of train track to connect to HS2. The construction phase is expected to take 10 years.
Rotheram said: “Connecting the Liverpool City Region to HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail will both cut journey times and increase capacity, boosting our economy by £15bn.
“In order to make that connection happen we will need a new station in Liverpool city centre, capable of accommodating HS2 trains, NPR trains and linking in with our local transport infrastructure. Lime Street will simply not be able to cope.
“What we envisage is more than just a station and a world-class transport hub, it has the potential to be a destination in its own right, architecturally stunning and featuring leisure and recreation facilities, commercial,
According to Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, the city will be seeking Government funding to support the project: “We know we will need a new station in Liverpool, with all the major new benefits and opportunities that will bring, because Government, and Transport for the North, have accepted the economic case for HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail to connect to our city. We now need Government to put their money where the mouth is and commit to funding the project, while the Commission takes forward the exciting work of making it happen.”
The commission intends to bring together a range of experts from across the worlds of transport, business and the public sector. Its remit will be to take forward all the key considerations in developing the project such as the size, functions, location and orientation of the station. The City Region is giving Barrett-Baxendale the remit of putting together the team, which may at a later date involve full time roles.
‘Liverpool has been let down too many times’
Speaking to Place North West in Cannes, Rotheram said that “I believe Government will back this” as part of the £39bn requested for full Northern Powerhouse Rail connectivity.
However, he wasn’t confident about whether that would be funding from the current Conservative Government.
“I’m never confident with a Government that says it will work with you and then doesn’t deliver, but I don’t think this Government will be here for much longer.
“I’ve been talking to the Shadow Transport Minister, and John McDonnell, and they’re very, very keen on working with us.
“We need to redress the transport funding ratio, the North-South imbalance can’t continue ad infinitum, and Labour know that.”
In terms of Rotheram’s other large transport projects, which he has been promoting since becoming Mayor in 2017, he said the focus was now on “the delivery phase”.
“We’ve given £1m for the tidal barrage to move to the next stage, delivering a business case which will demonstrate that renewable energy can be cheaper than alternative forms.”
At MIPIM UK in October, Rotheram gained headlines by hinting at the possible reinstatement of Liverpool’s long-closed monorail. However, when asked if there had been any progress, he said that he “had to concentrate on things we can actually deliver, the people of Liverpool have been let down too many times.”
Denise Barrett-Baxendale already has a lot on her plate delivering the £500m relocation of Everton FC to Bramley-Moore Dock, although Rotheram said that he expected the bulk of work for Everton would take place over the next 18 months while “this is more of a slow burner, and will be coming through afterwards”.
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