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.”