LIVERPOOL'S work to breathe
new life into the historic Ropewalks area of the city has won
national praise. The Creative Ropewalks project, which has
helped transform the neglected, 18th century harbour suburb into a
fashionable, creative and attractive quarter has received a
commendation at the prestigious Georgian Group Architectural Awards. Liverpool grouped several building restorations projects into one
entry for the awards. Together they saw the city shortlisted in the
"Restoring a Georgian Building in an Urban Setting"
► 94 to 98 Seel Street
- restoration of front fade of 3 Georgian
► 100 to 104 Seel Street
- restoration of front fade roof and rear
fade of 3 Georgian houses
► 45 Seel Street
- complete restoration of 1 vacant and derelict
Georgian terraced house to create 2 floors of offices and 2
► 47 Seel Street
- complete restoration of 1 derelict Georgian
terraced house to create 4 floors of offices
► 79 to 85 Seel Street
- restoration of exterior elevations. Repairs
have stabilised building until viable use can be found.
► 75 to 77 Bold Street
- Refurbishment of fde and new roof.
Structural repairs to stop collapse of outriggers. New shopfronts.
Liverpool's application for the award highlighted the programme of
enforcement action undertaken by the city council in recent years.
Supported by £1.5 million in North West Development Agency funding,
the programme has seen owners instructed to tidy land and buildings,
and the issue of urgent works notices to ensure owners carry out
essential repairs to preserve buildings.
The "Stop the Rot" media campaign, to shame owners into repairing
buildings, and its success in bringing neglected buildings back into
use, was also highlighted. The judging panel included architectural historians Dr John Martin
Robinson, Professor David Watkin and Emeritus Professor John
Wilton-Ely; and architecture critic Jonathan Glancey. They praised Liverpool for its effective, co-ordinated grant and
enforcement action to rescue and restore disused and derelict
Georgian properties in the Ropewalks area, highlighting the positive
impact of the external restoration of several buildings at risk on
the "notoriously derelict Georgian street."
Liverpool City council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and
Transport, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, said:-
"A huge amount
of work, from a range of partners, has gone into making Ropewalks
the place it is today, so I'm naturally delighted that this work has
received national recognition.
The transformation of the Ropewalks area has been one of the great
success stories of Liverpool in the last decade. It is now an area
with enormous energy, creativity and diversity, with a great mix of
historic buildings providing a backdrop for the area's vibrant,
contemporary and alternative feel.
This praise from the Georgian Group is well deserved and I'm
particularly pleased that the effective enforcement work we have
undertaken to bring buildings back into use has been highlighted by
the judges. Much has been achieved in the past decade, but there is
still so much potential to be unleashed. We will continue to work
together to promote Ropewalks as a distinctive, well-managed, clean
and environmentally friendly area."
Liverpool's Ropewalks area was first developed as a harbour suburb,
after the world's first commercial wet dock in 1715. After the First
World War, the closure of the South Docks resulted in the slow
decline of the area, leaving many vacant buildings which gradually
fell into dereliction. Over the last 10 years, a high quality regeneration programme has
seen the development of many creative industries within Ropewalks,
as well as a number of high profile schemes, new public spaces and
improved pubic realm. The area, which is also a major retail and
leisure quarter also pioneered the revival of city centre living and
has seen many success stories including the Foundation for Art and
Creative Technology, East Village, base2stay Hotel, the Tea Factory
and Vanilla Factory in the quarter. It includes a large inner city conservation area containing many
listed buildings, with part of this in the city's World Heritage
Site. Many of the once neglected Georgian terraces have been
restored using Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) funding and are
now home to thriving businesses or new residents.
The Georgian Group Architectural Awards recognise exemplary
conservation and restoration projects in the UK and reward those who
have shown the vision and commitment to restore Georgian buildings
and landscapes. Awards are also given for high-quality new buildings
in Georgian contexts and new architecture in the Classical
The 2011 awards received a record 80 entries. Only 1 in 4
applications to the awards receive any sort of recognition, so
Liverpool's commendation is a massive thumbs-up from national
experts. Most of the contributing projects included in
entry were helped by Townscape Heritage Initiative grants and
Heritage Lottery Funding; while one was encouraged by enforcement
action underwritten by Creative Ropewalks.
£16.8m tax boost from HMRC-funded
voluntary sector work
GRANTS to voluntary and community sector organisations that
help people with taxes, benefits and tax credits led to additional
tax of £16.8m being declared last year, up 68% on the previous year.
The HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) scheme also led to the take-up of an
extra £48.7m in tax credits, benefits and tax repayments, up 70% on
the previous year. In addition, 4,000 volunteers were trained to
assist with tax and benefits issues. This should ensure that an
additional 200,000 people per year get help and advice on HMRC-related
issues. Exchequer Secretary David Gauke said:- "HMRC’s grant
funding goes to organisations providing independent, trustworthy
advice for vulnerable people and those on low incomes, to help them
with their entitlements and tax affairs. I am pleased that HMRC is
able to support taxpayers who need assistance in this way by using
voluntary and community sector organisations."
Manchester linked to Lakes for electric cars
ELECTRIC car drivers can now travel from the Lake District to
Liverpool and Manchester without fear of running out of power after
Ecotricity opened 2 new charging points on the M6 at Charnock
Richards services; as part of the world’s first national charging
The Electric Highway now has charging points at 10 Welcome Break
motorway services around the country on the M6, M40, M1, M5, M4 and
M25... All powered by the wind and solar farms of green energy
This breakthrough in electric vehicle infrastructure removes one of
the main barriers for people wanting to buy electric cars; so
called:- ‘range anxiety’. With people afraid to
leave their home town or city and drive on the motorway for fear of
running out of power, help is at hand...
10 motorway ‘top-up zones’ have now been installed at Welcome
Break motorway services, including:-
► Charnock Richard
Services – M6 north between Liverpool and the Lake
► Charnock Richard
services – M6 south between the Lake District and
Services – M5 north between Exeter and Bristol
► Hopwood Park
Services – M42 east and west between M5 and M40 near
services – M4 east between Bristol and London
services – M4 west between London and Bristol
► South Mimms services – M25 and M1 junction – north of London
► Michaelwood services – M5 north between Bristol and Birmingham
► Michaelwood services – M5 south between Birmingham and Bristol
► Oxford services – M40 north & south between London and Birmingham
11th ‘top-up zone’ is also located at the base of an Ecotricity
► Green Park windmill – M4 east & west near Reading
‘top-up-zones’ in total will soon be located at motorway
services around the country to complete the first phase of the
network. Each post will be located outside the main entrance of
Welcome Break, with 2 sockets that can be accessed by registering
for a free swipe-card.
Within 18 months, all 27 Welcome Break motorway services across
Britain will have charging points. Electric cars using rapid
recharge points (32Amp with 7-pin socket) can top-up in around 20
minutes or fully charge in 2 hours; while those using the slower
(13Amp supply) will be able to recharge fully if staying overnight
at the motorway services hotel.
Dale Vince OBE, founder of Ecotricity, said:- "People have
asked why we are building this Electric Highway when there are only
about 2,000 electric cars on the road today. In fact that’s a big
part of the reason; a lack of demand.
It’s often said that one of the reasons more people don't buy
electric cars is because of a lack of charging facilities; while
the reason more charging facilities aren’t built is because not
enough people are buying electric cars; classic chicken and egg
stuff. We’re hoping to break that impasse. We’re creating the
infrastructure to get Britain’s electric car revolution moving."
With world oil prices going through the roof, you’ll now be able to
get around Britain using only the power of the wind. It costs just
over 1p a mile for electric vehicles, compared to 15p in a petrol
car (at today’s prices). The UK consumes around 23 million
tonnes of oil every year in the UK to do the 250 billion miles we
drive every year. But we could power all that with 12,000 of today’s
windmills, or just 6,000 of tomorrow’s.
A driver doing a year’s typical 8,500miles of motoring could save
almost £1,000 in petrol costs at today’s prices, and save around
2,000kg in CO2 emissions. Electric car owners who want to
register for a free swipe card can visit Ecotricity’s
2011 has been dubbed ‘The Year of the Electric Car’, with
major manufacturers launching all-electric mass-market models
including the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi MIEV and Peugeot iOn. Ford
will also launch an all-electric version of its Ford Focus.
UK motoring facts
Over 30 million cars on UK roads
We drive 250 billion miles in the UK each year
99.6% of all car journeys are less than 100 miles
UK electric motoring facts
There are currently around 2,000 pure electric vehicles in the UK;
on top of that there are a few hundred plug-in electric hybrids.
There are around 30,000 petrol hybrids that have a battery fitted,
but these batteries cannot be plugged into a socket, their charge
either comes from the petrol engine or from energy stored during
There are around 400 charging points in cities around the UK, with a
concentration of around 250 in London which belong to a number of
networks. The Department for Transport predict that by 2015
they:- "expect to see tens of thousands of plug-in vehicles on
the roads in the UK."
Most car charging would happen overnight, when grid demand is
traditionally lowest so may not need a corresponding 16% increase in
capacity. A electric car can typically do 4,200 miles on one
MWh of electricity. The UK would need an additional 59TWh of
electricity to power those journeys. That is equal to the
output from 12,000 wind turbines (assuming their current design).
This would save 71 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.
With a total UK grid demand of 383TWh (in 2010) that means a 16%
increase in output.