The potential for a wide-ranging waterfront spatial strategy, the delivery of Everton Stadium, and a possible start on the long-awaited Festival Gardens have been discussed by Liverpool leaders at MIPIM UK.
In February, Homes England revealed it would provide a grant of £9.9m to facilitate the development of up to 1,500 homes at Liverpool’s 90-acre Festival Gardens.
The news followed the naming of a joint venture to lead the long-awaited project, with the council announcing it had entered into an exclusivity agreement with Ion and Midia, working with architecture practices BDP and AHR. Remediation was due to begin this spring but is yet to start.
When asked about the delay, Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region, said the city council and its Mayor, Joe Anderson, “are absolutely desperate to get spades into the ground” at Festival Gardens.
“We’ve got over most of the legal hurdles,” he said. “We’re desperate to get spades in the ground but it’s about bringing the community with us. Many now see it as greenfield. It’s brownfield, but as nature has taken over, plants have grown and people see it as green space.
“We want to remediate as soon as possible, so we can bring forward innovative methods of construction of the homes, which form part of our housing allocation.”
On a panel regarding making the most of Liverpool’s waterfront, Liverpool City Council chief executive Tony Reeves said he was exploring the potential for a spatial policy to span the entirety of Liverpool’s waterfront and into the city centre, covering the city’s headline proposals such as Everton Stadium, Peel L&P’s Liverpool Waters, Festival Gardens, and developments proposed by affordable housing provider Torus.
Reeves said the waterfront “has to have a major impact on people across all communities, and be a catalyst to transform lives. It needs to be growth which leaves nobody behind.”
Speaking to Place North West, Reeves said the waterfront plan would not only provide overarching guidance for development, but would also “create a coherent investment proposition”.
Momentum is building around Everton FC’s proposed £500m stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, with a planning application due by the end of the year after a series of public consultation events.
The predicted cost of the stadium within Peel L&P’s Liverpool Waters has already increased from £300m to £500m, and given the level of infrastructure needed at the derelict dockland to support the 52,000-person stadium, property professionals have suggested to Place the overall cost could near £1bn.
However, speaking to Place North West, Frank Rogers, chief executive of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, rejected the idea the project cost could reach that level of expense, and said: “We’re incredibly supportive of the stadium, it’s a project the whole City Region is behind, so we’re looking at delivering the right level of transport around that.”
Following suggestions that Everton FC should fund its own stadium without support from the City Region, Rogers said: “It’s not just a stadium. It’s about job creation, and economic growth.”