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Expert Comment: Liverpool Waters regeneration scheme

0220 Dr Janet Speake Wednesday 6 March 2013

Senior Lecturer in Geography, Dr Janet Speake, takes a look at the plans to revitalise Liverpool's central and northern docks.

With the announcement on March 3rd that the £5.5 billion Liverpool Waters regeneration scheme had received the go-ahead by government, a major step has been taken towards the revitalisation of the city’s central and northern docks. Focused on a 60 ha site north of Princes Dock, Peel Holdings’ plans set out to regenerate a largely neglected part of Liverpool’s docklands.  For the last 30 years, waterfront revitalisation in the city has largely taken place at Pier Head and the southern docks.   The green-light given to Liverpool Waters, presents a clear signal for the regeneration of the central docklands, which will inherently increase attention on the north of the city.  This is a landmark decision that heralds an important geographical reorientation of the city’s waterfront regeneration activity and accompanying economic development. 

As a long-term, 30 year, major mixed use development scheme, Liverpool Waters includes office, commercial and residential uses.  It is anticipated that 9,000 new apartments will be constructed and 20,000 new jobs created.  The city’s skyline will also be transformed. Plans include two groupings of high-rise buildings, one cluster located at the Princes Half Tide Dock. Because of their proximity to the historic and iconic Pier Head architectural assemblage, the skyscrapers initially proposed have been subject to much scrutiny.  This has included review by UNESCO, drawn in to the debate because of the development’s possible impacts on the city’s World Heritage Status.  Discussions continue, but now in the context of the Liverpool Waters proposal having been approved by government without calling for a public inquiry.

It is an important economic boost for the city. In evoking Liverpool’s past and present global connections and the city’s 21st century ambitions for increasing global competitiveness and international recognition, the Liverpool Waters scheme presents a way for the city to project itself to the wider world as a forward looking and assured contemporary city.

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