Vision pledges renewed focus as URC era ends

A report published today to mark the end of urban regeneration company Liverpool Vision in its current form says the city has enjoyed £3.5bn of public and private investment since 1999 with over 1m sq ft of office space delivered.

Over the same period, since Vision was established as the Government's first URC in the country, 16,000 additional jobs have been created in the city centre.

Prof Michael Parkinson, author of the 64-page report and director of the European Institute for Urban Affairs at Liverpool John Moores University, will tell an event at the Radisson Hotel later this morning: "After a very bad patch Liverpool is having an amazing renaissance. In particular the scale of the transformation of its city centre is remarkable – it is one of the biggest construction sites in Western Europe.

"Liverpool Vision has made a huge contribution to this process of recovery in the last ten years. It has helped to create a world-class waterfront, a proper business district and a far better shopping centre. Liverpool is much more of a place and a destination than ten years ago.

"The city is more business friendly, more willing to work in partnership and has higher design and architectural standards as a result of Vision. The challenge is to continue Vision's good work in the more difficult economic times that will lie ahead for Liverpool and all our big cities in the next ten years."

The report praises Vision for assisting new office schemes at 101 Old Hall Street, 20 Chapel Street, City Square and St Paul's Square, and bringing forward plans with English Cities Fund for Pall Mall.

Liverpool Vision, chief executive, Jim Gill said: "Liverpool city centre has experienced sustained growth during the past decade with levels of investment, construction activity and job creation not seen in the city for over a generation.

"The city centre is the key factor in the city's resurgence and will continue to grow, attract investment and create jobs for the wider city region. Liverpool is well placed to build on its transformation of the last decade."

For the first year, Gill will remain as chief executive of the new Liverpool Vision, which comes into being on 1 April, when the merger of three agencies will be completed; Liverpool Land Development Company, Business Liverpool and Vision.

The enlarged agency will publish a business plan shortly aimed at consolidating the city's economic improvement; shifting the focus from urban regeneration to competitiveness; and applying a wider focus beyond the city centre.

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