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Liverpool looks for views on blueprint for City Centre growth

Vision: Public consultation on future development of Liverpool's Upper Central area is to begin in mid-July

A newly branded area of Liverpool, with potential to create 2.5million sq ft of new development space creating an estimated 7,000 jobs over the coming decade, is to be launched next month. Upper Central; covering 56 acres in the heart of Liverpool City Centre; is to be the subject of a draft masterplan to create an international standard gateway site to a ₤2bn flagship regeneration scheme.

Running from Central Station to Liverpool Science Park and Lime Street to Bold Street, Upper Central is seen as key to the future development of the City's blossoming Knowledge Quarter (KQ Liverpool.) And Liverpool City Council's Cabinet will be asked next Friday, 5 July to approve that a public consultation begins on a Spatial Regeneration Framework (SRF) to help shape the future direction of the area.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, said:- "Upper Central is vital to this City's economic future and such is the scale of its potential it will be a huge employer for generations to come. This gateway project is now the final piece in the jigsaw to connect the site to the rest of the City Centre and complete the wider regeneration of:- Lime Street, Mount Pleasant and Brownlow Hill. Its impact cannot be underestimated and I'm sure this draft SRF report will create a much need debate about how we ensure the future growth of this hugely important area."

Its focus will be how Upper Central can become a magnet for digital, tech and creative sectors with the aim of providing 3 key goals:-

To maximise the opportunities of 2.5million sq.ft of new developments (larger than Liverpool ONE,) with potential to create up to 7,000 new jobs.

A new sustainable, walkable and recognisable gateway location within the City, promoting pedestrian movement, increased dwell time and a positive 1st impression to millions of residents and visitors arriving into the City Centre at Lime Street or Central Stations.

To ensure high quality public realm that creates a place that is distinctly Liverpudlian and attractive to occupiers, residents and investors.

Stakeholder feedback on the draft SRF identified a need to re-brand the area. As a result a new website will be launched to coincide with the start of the public consultation.  Led by a team of independent planning experts, the draft SRF has looked at how best to redevelop the Lime Street area around the:- Adelphi Hotel, Central Station and Mount Pleasant whilst dovetailing Liverpool John Moores University's Copperas Hill site, plans for the Fabric District and various private sector schemes such as Circus Liverpool at the old Lewis's building.

Neil Lucas, Director at Avison Young said:- "We are pleased to be able to share our vision and ideas for Upper Central. The SRF area represents the new heart of the expanded City Centre and is a key part of the ongoing regeneration of the City. The SRF sets out an ambitious framework to return this area to its former glory through positive placemaking with exceptional new public realm, infrastructure, and exemplary architecture, and we look forward to receiving feedback from the public."

To achieve this future development the draft Upper Central SRF is focused on 8 key themes:-

► Creation of a True Gateway for Liverpool.

► Improving linkages to the rest of the City Centre and pedestrian experience.

► A mix of uses to create a quality of place and identity.

► Striving for high quality design, appropriate massing and landmark buildings.

► Provision of high quality infrastructure.

► Holistic view of development context and creating a new City district.

► Preserving and enhancing heritage assets.

► Delivery and collaboration.

A major aspiration identified in the draft SRF is how to create a super crossing at Ranelagh Place, a new pedestrian experience along Renshaw Street and to promote a new pedestrian route to Lime Street Station from Copperas Hill to allow for improved access to the Fabric District and Paddington Village.

Peter Swift, managing Director of Planit-IE, said:- "The Upper Central project enables the connection between the City core, Knowledge Quarter and the communities beyond to happen in a focussed and imaginative way. Through a network of repurposed streets and new public spaces, this key City district will further reinforce the gateway to the City and its ambitions for future growth."

Liverpool City Council, which recently acquired Central Station shopping centre and is overseeing public realm proposals for St George's Plateau, as part of the ₤45m City Centre connectivity scheme, has also set out an ambition to redevelop the Mount Pleasant Car Park area to create an international standard gateway for the KQ Liverpool Mayoral Development Zone which currently employs 7% of the City's workforce.

The Council is also currently developing the ₤1bn Paddington Village scheme in the heart of the development zone and has identified the need to ensure development continues apace through to the retail district of the City Centre.

Colin Sinclair, Chief Executive of KQ Liverpool, commented:- "The phenomenal growth of KQ Liverpool, along with the ongoing regeneration of Lime Street, has shone the spotlight on Upper Central. It represents 1 of the greatest development opportunities in the UK and, alongside Paddington Village, will have a major impact on the City's economy, creating thousands of jobs, in science, tech, health, education, retail and leisure. The SRF will truly allow us to plan a world class development, enabling Liverpool to continue to compete with any City, within Europe."

Once approved by the Council's Cabinet, the SRF will be adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document to guide all future planning applications in the area and provide developers with detailed information of design and build issues including height, scale and massing of buildings.

Liverpool City Council, which is overseeing an unprecedented ₤14bn of development activity, has already adopted an SRF for the Ten Streets Creativity District and is looking to adopt further SRFs for the Baltic Triangle, Williamson Square and Mathew Street and is currently consulting on a draft SRF for the Commercial Business District.

The Upper Central SRF team consists of:-

► Avison Young - Strategic Planning and Consultation lead.

► K2 Architects - Masterplanning and Architecture lead.

► Planit-IE - Place making and Landscape lead.

'Voice of Liverpool' to Star in Prescot Festival Closing Weekend

A Merseyside arts festival draws to a close with the singing sensation known as the:- 'Voice of Liverpool' on Sunday, 30 June 2019. Mezzo soprano Danielle Louis Thomas joins the Maghull Wind Orchestra for the Prescot Festival Finale, bringing to an end 10 days of arts, music, culture and entertainment in the historic Lancashire town. Also known as Liverpool's 'Singer in Residence,' Danielle shot to fame on BBC1's Songs of Praise, performing alongside singer songwriter Rick Wakeman when she was just 11. Since then she has sung with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and for Lord Heseltine, the Armed Forces and the late Ken Dodd. But before Sunday's Proms style conclusion, the festival welcomes swing band Dr Jazz and the Cheshire Cats, on Friday, 28 June 2019 and hosts musical theatre company Opera Viva 'on Broadway' on Saturday, 29 June 2019, among other events. Seasoned audience members described the opening weekend as the strongest they could remember in the event's 14 year history. The spectacular line up included the Band and Drums of the Cheshire Constabulary and Liverpool Cathedral Choir.

Exactly 100 singers of all ages and levels of experience gathered to sing Vivaldi on Saturday, and Monday saw the 1st ever Prescot Primary Schools' Choir Festival, featuring singing groups from Evelyn Community Primary School, Prescot Community Primary School and St Mary and St Paul's CE Primary School. Wednesday sees another showcase of musical talent at Young Instrumentalists of Prescot. "As always, we've aimed to provide a diverse programme that's accessible and affordable to everyone. Community music-making is at the heart of what we do, so it's been a particular pleasure to see so many people, from young to old, performing at the festival this year." said founder and artistic director Robert Howard.  Full programme information is online, and tickets are on sale via the website (booking fee applies) and in person from Poco Coffee, at 30 Eccleston Street, L34 5QJ.

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