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Introducing... 'The Depot' Liverpool's new Film Studios named as they top out

LIVERPOOL'S new purpose built film and TV stages have officially been named. The new production facilities are to be called The Depot, taking inspiration from the location's history as a former bus site for Merseyside Transport Limited. The naming coincides with the news that Morgan Sindall Construction, who are building the stages on behalf of Liverpool City Council, has reached the 1st major milestone for The Depot, with the topping out of the 2, 20,000 sq ft, sound studios. Situated adjacent to the famous Littlewoods Building, off Edge Lane, The Depot is seen as critical to Liverpool's strategy to cement its reputation as 1 of Europe's premier film and TV production hubs.

Ideally located being just a 10 minute drive from the City Centre and the M62, The Depot is 1 of the major projects earmarked in Liverpool's Recovery Plan to stimulate the City's post Pandemic economy.

It is expected that the sound stages, which have received funding from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, will be operational by Summer 2021. Liverpool City Council's Development Team and Film Office, which was the 1st of its kind in Europe, are overseeing the scheme and the Film Office is already in talks with major global production use of the stages.

Liverpool is 1 of the major film destinations in the UK and, despite the Covid19 Pandemic, is experiencing the busiest period for film and TV production on record, in part accelerated by investment in several shows from the Liverpool City Region Production Fund.

The pop up studios will offer a temporary facility to capitalise on the current demand for studio space until the nearby Littlewoods studios scheme is complete. It is predicted The Depot will create a ₤24m economic boost for the Regional economy, creating 360 new jobs and 760 indirect jobs.

The City is currently hosting illustrious productions such as ITV's remake of The Ipcress File and BBC's Peaky Blinders and The Responder starring Martin Freeman, as well as recently welcoming blockbusters, such as Warner Bros' The Batman, and high end TV drama such as:- Netflix's The Irregulars, Channel 4's Help (w/t), BBC's Time and Sky's COBRA and Tin Star: Liverpool.

Councillor Wendy Simon, Acting Mayor of Liverpool, said:- "I think The Depot is a perfect name for these studios; as it's a place where ideas will come to life and will make the magic we enjoy on the screen happen. As a well as being a nod to the site's history, The Depot is also a signpost to the City's future; 1 built on a creative and knowledge based workforce. The topping out of The Depot is an exciting moment in the journey to realising Liverpool's ambition to be a 24/7 film City. There's already a huge amount of interest to book these studios, which underlines their value, but they will also prove to be a fabulous asset for training and nurturing talent in Liverpool."

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:- "I've long said our Region is the country's creative capital and we're investing to make sure it stays that way. We've approved investment of ₤17m to support the new stages, along with the Littlewood Film and TV studios and it's fantastic to see the new production facilities topped out. The Liverpool City Region is already an obvious choice for what we can offer in front of the camera, with a wealth of creative talent and stunning backdrops. Now we can be a worldwide filming destination for what we offer behind the camera too, with world class facilities that mean productions can be shot, edited and finished without having to leave the Region."

Richard Potts, area Director for Morgan Sindall Construction, said:- "The topping out of The Depot is not just a key moment in the construction of these brilliant new sound stages but also a milestone in how our City can flourish in the recovery from the Covid19 Pandemic. Liverpool's magnificent architecture means it has long attracted film and TV productions from all over the world. Now, with The Depot the City will be even more attractive to the creative industries, resulting in significant investment and the opportunity to create valuable jobs for local people. It's a pleasure for our team to work on another development in the City that will help shape its future for many years to come."

Commitment made to Maghull communities for strengthened flood risk management

SEFTON Council, the Environment Agency and United Utilities have signed a joint statement of intent to reassure Maghull communities that they are continuing to work together to explore solutions to reduce the risk of flooding. The statement strengthens the collaborative approach already undertaken to manage and reduce flood risk, further prompted by weather events, in January 2021. A major incident was declared due to significant rainfall brought by Storm Christoph on Wednesday, 20 January 2021, which also saw the Environment Agency issue 2 Severe Flood Warnings, in Maghull, covering 439 properties within the flood warning area. The predicted flooding did not happen as expected but the incident highlighted the need for all 3 organisations to come together to find deliverable improvements that make a significant difference for the community. All 3 organisations have sought to manage the risks through a range of means to date including routine maintenance, capital investments, improvements to warning and informing residents as well as planning control. Alongside the statement of intent, a new flood risk working group will also be established with representation from all three agencies.

Cllr John Fairclough, Deputy Leader of Sefton Council and Chair of the new working group, said:- "Flood risk is a serious issue for residents across the Borough and something that our Officers are dedicated to finding both short and long term solutions for through our flood risk management strategy. Over the past decade due to a combination of severe weather events and instances occurring from rivers, sewers and surface water, we've seen significant issues in not just Maghull, but across Sefton. But now more needs to be done, and a working group led by the Council will seek to find and drive investment into flood risk management across the whole Borough of Sefton. An essential part of this requires collaborative work alongside partners, to share expertise and to identify actions that can be taken individually and collectively to reduce this risk. I am confident that the establishment of the new working group, and confirmation of our joint commitment through the statement of intent, will explore and identify feasible solutions that are needed by all."

Andy Brown, Environment Agency Flood and Coastal Risk Manager for Lancashire, said:- "Across England, we're working to better protect communities from the risk of flooding and make homes and businesses better prepared and more resilient through our long-term FCERM strategy. Alongside our partners we have already taken a number of steps to reduce the risk of flooding across Sefton such as routine maintenance activity, investment in flood defences and improvements to our warning and informing service. We are committed to joining up further and feel that a working group, with input from all risk management Authorities, is a good way forward. Together, we can better identify all possible actions, large or small, to reduce flood risk and we hope this will help to reassure local communities."

Jo Harrison, Director of Environment, Planning and Innovation at United Utilities, said:- "We continue to invest in the sewer network across Sefton, including work in Maghull, involving a ₤4 million project in the Rock View area to help reduce the risk of sewer flooding, which is nearing completion. However, storm flooding is a complex issue with no simple answer. The drainage network includes pumping stations, culverts, watercourses, sewers and highway drains all operating and interacting together but under the responsibility of different agencies. Collaboration is key and we remain absolutely committed to working with the Lead Local Flood Authority (Sefton Council) and the Environment Agency to ensure issues are investigated thoroughly and measures are put in place to minimise the risk of flooding, to help protect the community."


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