Merseyside Update 2019 (45)
Gov't funding could unlock £8.8bn of projects, Rotheram said

Rotheram unveils projects for £1.4bn govt bid

Sarah Townsend

The proposed £70m Southport Theatre, the Shakespeare North Playhouse in Knowsley, a £60m packaging centre for Unilever in Wirral and a £600m hydrogen production programme in Halton are among schemes included in the Liverpool City Region’s latest funding bid to Whitehall.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region, unveiled the list of projects this week, after Liverpool City Council detailed its contribution to the £1.4bn city region bid to the Government’s ‘shovel-ready projects’ package last month.

If secured, the funding could help unlock a combined £8.8bn worth of projects, helping to spur the city region’s economic recovery from the damaging impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The projects included in the city region’s bid are:

  • The £600m LCR Hydrogen Economy Programme, Halton – a project to implement and scale up hydrogen production assets and knowledge, build supporting freight and logistics interchange infrastructure, and carbon capture storage plants in the depleted Irish Sea gas fields to boost Liverpool’s operations in the renewable energy field. The first phase – which could be delivered for £27.8m, says the city region – is the procurement of 40 hydrogen buses and construction of a hydrogen refuelling station in Halton by late 2021.
  • The £3m Shakespeare North Playhouse, Knowsley – a flexible theatre in Prescot with capacity for between 320 and 472 seats, the construction of which began in January. The scheme is to complete in 2022.
  • The £70m Southport Theatre and Convention Centre, Sefton – the council aims to replace Southport’s existing theatre and conference centre as part of a wider masterplan for the town centre, including a new ‘Southport Square’. The masterplan went out to public consultation earlier this month.
  • The £60m National Packaging Innovation Centre, Wirral – Wirral Council in partnership with consumer goods giant Unilever is developing plans for an open-access innovation centre “of international significance”, focused on the commercialisation of innovative sustainable packaging solutions.
  • The £54m Glass Futures project, St Helens – to create what the city region calls the world’s “first openly accessible, commercially available, multi-disciplinary” glass melting facility with provision for research and development trials intended to help decarbonise the UK glass industry
  • Manufacturing Technology Centre’s £155m Modern Methods of Construction programme, Liverpool – the next stage of MTC’s expansion in the city region, focussing on “innovative excellence” in modern methods of construction. The first phase of the project will aim to develop more efficient methods for housing retrofitting, with partners including housebuilder Torus and Peel Group.

Rotheram said: “This pandemic has rocked us all and we still face tough times ahead, but my ambition to build a globally competitive, environmentally responsible and socially inclusive economy for the whole of our region remains undimmed.

“Before Covid-19, the city region’s growth rate of 3.5% was much higher than national levels, with well above average productivity growth based on ten years of strong economic progress. We will build on these solid foundations.

“Our recovery plan is focused on tackling challenges in health, education and skills and economic inactivity in our communities – supporting the people of our city…and giving [them] the skills they need to fulfil their ambitions.”



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City region’s growth rate would have been a lot higher had it not been for the drag emanating from the controlled centre. Fix that problem and you’ll unlock a lot more than £8bn.

By Jenny

What about zip wires??

By Anonymous

Big dreams again?

By Liverpolitis

Go on Steve, good lad.

By Johnee

No mention of the barrage?

By Mersey Man

These are worthy projects from the metro mayor but I did not see any mention of transport ( if it can be included } , as the region is crying out extend its local rail network. We are waiting for the station at Baltic , also we have old lines such as Gateacre to Walton that should be re-opened, also the Wapping tunnel integration. These are the big projects that need advancing and not taking tiny little steps like the newly announced station in Kirkby.
Also how about getting a proper tram from Paddington Village into the city downtown area , which could be the first phase of a more expanded tram network .
It`s no use going to government with timid ideas , you need to show you mean business.

By sound

Well it looks like Rotherham had looked beyond the city of Liverpool which normally sucks everything it can out of a whole city region. We will just have to wait and see how long the two way traffic lasts for.

By Anonymous

Jenny – Liverpool’s economy has grown quicker than other major cities – see the analysis by CityMetric here:

More is still needed, mainly offices in the central Liverpool, as well as the areas surrounding it. Hopefully this schemes can deliver jobs and growth.

By Chris

Exactly that, a wish list. Expecting cash from a government that has cut about 60% of local government money in the last decade is optimistic to say the least. His credibility would be helped if he could avoid a repeat of previous underspend of millions from hos own team.

By John Smith

@ Chris

I wouldn’t trust that article too much.
It’s from 2018 and contradicts other research. Still better than nothing.

By Anonymous

John, budget cuts are mostly revenue funding. The ask of government is for capital – which they have actually had a good track record of providing, even in the NW

By Factz