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Publication date:- 2017-18-11

user-generated Headlines and reports on this page = 4 news items.    Page - 12.

Plan submitted for new £50m Mersey cruise terminal

LIVERPOOL City Council has submitted a planning application for a new £50m Cruise Terminal Facility on the River Mersey. Liverpool City Council is looking to create an "international standard," permanent facility which would enable the City to welcome the world's biggest cruise ships. The application includes the controlled removal of Princes Jetty and the construction of a new terminal set within a statement building, based on a new suspended deck structure in the river. 

In 2017 Liverpool welcomed more than 60 vessels, with 120,000 passengers and crew, but the Council wants to capitalise on the cruise boom by creating a state of the art passenger and baggage facility, complete with:- Passport Control, lounge, café, toilets, taxi rank and vehicle pick up point, to cater for Liverpool's growing appeal in the cruise industry. The current terminal generates more than £7m a year to the City's economy. The application is expected to be heard by the Council's Planning Committee in January 2018. If approved, site preparation at Princes Dock, in Liverpool Waters, is expected to start in Spring 2018. The Council is currently inviting tenders to select a Design and Build Contractor to construct the facility with a closing date for submissions will be on Thursday, 14 December 2017. This is a 2 stage contract award basis, with the 1st stage to develop the design and confirm the construction costs with appointed consultancy firm Ramboll UK. The 1st stage contract is expected to be awarded in March 2018.

Tenders are also being assessed for the site investigation works needed at the Princes Jetty site, which has been gifted to the Council by Peel, and it is expected these works will also start in January 2018. The Council is also in the process of promoting a Harbour Revision Order through the Harbour Authority to construct the new terminal in the River Mersey.

Further planning applications could potentially include supplemental projects with a new 200 room hotel and 1,700+ multi storey car park, to enhance the City's capabilities in handling the next generation of turnaround cruises, which can carry up to 3,600 passengers.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said:- "A new cruise facility is 1 of the City's most important regeneration projects of this decade and is vital to growing Liverpool's tourism economy. We want to provide the next generation of super liners and their passengers a world class welcome with a 5 star experience. A new cruise facility will also be a huge boost to our plans to regenerate the North Liverpool docklands and create thousands of new jobs which is why we're putting together the best team of experts to ensure we build this facility to the very highest standards."

Although the proposed multi storey car park has been earmarked for the new cruise facility, the Council is reviewing locations North of Leeds Street, so it could also support initiatives around the Ten Streets creativity district.

The Council, which recently held a 2 day public consultation on the scheme, is also investing a further £32m in upgrading the A565 to support the new cruise facility and North docklands and is also gearing up to create a £20m link road to extend Leeds Street to the waterfront to support a new £30m Isle of Man Ferry terminal.

Relocating the cruise terminal will also enable the Council to remodel The Strand by removing junctions, such as the 1 servicing the current facility, that stem the flow of traffic along the key waterfront route.  Liverpool City Council, which is currently overseeing £14bn worth of regeneration projects, is also carrying out further maritime and infrastructure investigations, environmental impact assessments and surveys and is working closely with Peel Land and Property as the gifted Princes Jetty sits within its £5.5bn Liverpool Waters scheme. 

Ian Pollitt, Assistant Project Director at Liverpool Waters, said:- "We are delighted at the progress the City Council is making with the new terminal proposals. We are working very closely with them and our other partners to progress the development and this planning applications is a major milestone in that process."


North West small firms urge action on Northern Powerhouse ahead of Budget

SMALL businesses from across the North West are calling for effective integration of public bodies, greater infrastructure investment and the creation of a Council of the North in a new report urging accelerated delivery of the Northern Powerhouse. Authored by Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) representatives in Northern England:- 'An Entrepreneurial North' highlights the benefits of moving to a pan-regional small business support model as part of the Northern Powerhouse project. The 5 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) across the North West are receiving over £2 billion in the 6 years to 2021, with 45p in every £1 coming from European Union sources. The report suggests that Government plans to bring together different funding streams into a single UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) marks an opportunity to more effectively integrate small business support services across the North. Also among asks are improvements to infrastructure in the North West and delivery of the Major Road Network. Projects flagged as of particular importance following a new survey of small businesses across the North West, are electrification of the Manchester - Bolton - Preston railline, widespread expansion of park and ride facilities and re-opening of the Colne to Skipton Railway.

Phil McCabe, Development Manager, FSB Merseyside, West Cheshire and Wigan, said:- "3 years on from the 1st mention of the Northern Powerhouse and it's still hard to find concrete manifestations of it. With a week to go until the Budget, we'd like to see the Chancellor take some meaningful steps towards getting the show on the road. We need cast iron guarantees about EU funding post-Brexit. Firms across the North West are benefitting from EU support to the tune of millions every year. 1 thing's for sure, we won't have a Northern Powerhouse unless that money's replaced. Our LEP's and Growth Hubs are doing some fantastic work in supporting small firms across the region. Liverpool City Region Enterprise Hub, for example, is making significant inroads towards addressing the shortfall in start ups in this region. However, we do have some challenges around awareness of what these bodies offer and duplication of services. Moving to a pan regional model could help tackle these issues. The success of the Northern Powerhouse starts with having the right infrastructure in place. We need greater focus on the local road routes and rail lines that matter to small businesses. Headline grabbing projects have their place, but incremental investment in small scale projects would provide a bigger boost to productivity over the long term."

The new report also recommends the creation of a Council of the North with responsibility for overseeing integration of regional activity and scrutiny of Metro Mayors. The installation of a People of the North body is suggested as a means to tackling skills shortages in the region. A previously unreleased survey conducted by FSB members in the North of England shows that, when asked which improvements associated with the Northern Powerhouse would significantly benefit their firms, small business owners most frequently identify better broadband (56%), better small business support (52%), lower business rates (51%), improved road infrastructure (51%) and enhanced mobile coverage (49%).

Phil McCabe added:- "With LEPs, local authorities and Metro Mayors all working together to deliver the Northern Powerhouse, it makes sense to have a Council of the North to advise on pan regional activity. We have some significant skills gaps across the North West. Given that 1 in 5 UK small business employers relies on EU workers, there is a chance Brexit could exacerbate this issue. A dedicated body responsible for up skilling the North will help mitigate that risk. Above all we need to move towards a situation where people stop paying lip service to the Northern Powerhouse and start delivering the enhanced connectivity, improved infrastructure and integrated business support we were promised 3 years ago."

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