LMA Liverpool
The project is part of the academy's expansion to accommodate an increase in students

Sign-off nears for LMA’s £15m Metquarter campus

Dan Whelan

Liverpool Media Academy, a music and performing arts institution co-owned by singer Robbie Williams, is preparing to convert 17 former retail units at the Metquarter shopping centre into 50,000 sq ft of studios and teaching space. 

Liverpool City Council has recommended the plans for approval by its planning committee next Tuesday. 

LMA plans to invest £15m in the venture in Liverpool’s Whitehall district, and the proposals form part of the company’s wider expansion strategy.  It plans to open a fourth campus in London later this year, but the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park studio at the Metquarter campus will be its first outside Liverpool. 

The expansion plans are a response to an increase in applications from prospective students, LMA said.

Currently based across two campuses in Liverpool – at Hope Street and Duke Street – LMA offers post-16 BTEC qualifications and degree courses in music, musical theatre, dance, acting, film and TV production, games art and animation. 

The Metquarter campus will be LMA’s third Liverpool site.  

The redevelopment of the Metquarter site has been led by asset manager Queensberry and landowner Bywater Properties over the past two years. The scheme has already welcomed occupiers such as Everyman Cinema, Cricket, and Kids Cavern. 

Queensbury has supported LMA’s plans during the planning process. It raised concerns over the likelihood of attracting long-term retail occupiers to the shopping centre and the academy was therefore a useful alternative, according to a council report. 

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A good example of how retail areas can diversify. The upper levels here will give LMA a much more prominent city centre location, future proofed when they need to expand again. The Metquarter is built around the shell of the old central post office which was once at least two stories higher. The foundations are there to go up! They could even rebuild to the pre-war scale and grandeur. Central Library still has the plans I think. This was one of the biggest POs in the country.

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