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News Report Page 11 of 15
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Liverpool's world famous St George's Plateau is to be extended as part of ₤47m upgrade to Liverpool City Centre's road network

NEW details on the next phase in a ₤47m programme to change the way people travel around Liverpool City Centre have been announced. Liverpool City Council is undertaking the Liverpool City Centre Connectivity scheme to reduce congestion and improve air quality, but had to pause the Lime Street element whilst it removed the structurally flawed Churchill Way Flyovers and gained approval for a new Bus Hub.

Now that the 50 year old structure is almost gone and the bus hub is approved, the City Council have announced next steps in upgrading Lime Street and why a key City Centre bus service can continue. After public feedback and a reappraisal the Council is re-introducing a segregated cycle lane on Lime Street, which will also gain a new public square outside the train Station and an expanded plateau outside the Grade I listed St George's Hall, the segregated cycle route has been adopted.  To begin in May 2020, Lime Street will be reduced into a single carriageway in each direction, with the Southbound lane able to access St Johns Shopping centre car park.

South of Lime Street Station will be a single lane only, with Northbound traffic, including:- buses, no longer able to travel past the old ABC Cinema and Holiday Inn hotel and will instead need to take a left or right at the Adelphi Hotel junction. Bus users are being advised that due to the timings of these works that changes to routes through Liverpool City Centre will now come into effect later next year, rather than in January as originally planned. Once agreed, the revised date for route changes will be made available.  As a result of further traffic modelling and surveys, the City Council has also agreed in principle with the City's bus alliance that the 82 bus service from South Liverpool will be able to continue to use Hanover Street. This decision is subject to the introduction of new bus priority measures such as bus gate or dedicated bus lane, which is currently being mapped out.

The bus hub on Old Haymarket will begin to come into use in January before becoming fully operational later in 2020.  Its function will see Queen Square Bus Station became the focus for Northbound bus routes and Liverpool 1 Bus Station for Southbound bus routes, which will be underpinned by the Lime Street redesign. It is estimated the new hub and re-routed bus services will save over 900,000 bus km and 2,000 tonnes of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere every year.

Councillor Sharon Connor, Cabinet Member for Highways, said:- "For millions of people Lime Street is the gateway into Liverpool and we to provide them with a world class welcome. A new public square outside Lime Street Station and an expanded plateau at St George's Hall will transform the experience of arriving in Liverpool and how people interact with arguably the UK's greatest collection of iconic cultural venues. We've made some minor changes with the key 1 being the cycle lane which was paused whilst we could assess the removal of the Churchill Way Flyover. The City has also declared a Clime Change Emergency and the reduction in congestion enabled by the bus hub and changes to the forthcoming bus timetable, in April, such as the 82 continuing on Hanover Street, will be a big plus for our City's carbon footprint and air quality. This redesign of Lime Street is critical to the new bus hub and changes to Queen Square Bus Station both of which will ultimately create a cleaner, greener City Centre for everyone to enjoy."

The Lime Street designs also include the installation of a water feature at the southern end of the plateau, which lies within the City's World Heritage site. The Lime Street revamp will also see a widened, boulevard style pavement running the entire length up to the Adelphi Hotel, which sits within the newly branded Upper Central gateway to the City's Knowledge Quarter. The LCCC scheme aims to boost transport links and further fuel Liverpool's international appeal to investors, shoppers and tourists with its visitor economy, currently valued at ₤3.6bn/year, expected to grow by 25% over the next 10 years. The scheme is receiving ₤40.1m from the Local Growth Fund with local match funding of ₤7m and is a major part of Liverpool City Council's ₤500m Better Roads programme. Local Growth Funding is awarded to the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and invested through the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority through its Strategic Investment Fund.

Another element of the LCCC programme currently underway is Liverpool's 1st dedicated coach park which is being created to accommodate the boom in coach visitors to the City Centre, which was equated to 160,000 in 2018, more tourists than those who arrived via the Cruise Terminal.

Other LCCC phase 1 schemes include:-

► Moorfields:- Improving the footways to enhance the area and the entrance into Moorfields Station. Completed Summer 2019.

► Victoria Street:- This will include removal of bus layovers as well as tree planting and new public realm features, creating wider footways and options for street café's. Completing in March 2020

► Brownlow Hill:- Creating a new cycle link with Lime Street, and improved public areas that create a place for enjoying and accessing the Knowledge Quarter. Completing in March 2020

► Tithebarn Street: -Includes creation of new cycleway to enhance links with Lime Street and the waterfront. Completing in June 2020

► City Coach Park:- On Riverside Drive; a dedicated facility with provision to accommodate 30 vehicles. Completing in April 2020

The 2nd Phase will see a series of highways improvements along The Strand, with work scheduled to begin in Spring 2020. A series of public consultation events on this element will be held in the new year.

Liverpool ranks 2nd as UK regeneration hotspots are revealed

NEW research has revealed Birmingham as the Council area with the most opportunities for regeneration for investment in empty residential and commercial properties, with Liverpool not far behind. UK fibre broadband specialist Glide made a series of FOI requests to Local Councils in order to find the number of empty dwellings and commercial properties across the UK. Collectively, across both categories of building, in the month of September 2019 there were 617,527 empty buildings across the UK. Of those Councils which held the information, Birmingham was revealed as the leading Council area for the most potential space, with 8,086 residential properties and 7,622 commercial buildings in the City and its suburbs being empty. 2nd is Liverpool, where 15,339 buildings are currently not occupied, while Regions across the North dominate the top five, with Manchester, Leeds and Bradford also ranking highly.

Area and ranking Empty residential properties Empty commercial properties  Total
1 Birmingham City Council 8086 7622 15,708
2 Liverpool City Council 11073 4266 15,339
3 Manchester City Council 10531 4003 14,534
4 Leeds City Council 8331 4528 12,859
5 Bradford Metropolitan Council 2610 7908 10,518
6 Durham County Council 7330 1573 8,903
7 Bristol City Council 6403 1742 8,145
8 Cheshire West and Chester 5860 1897 7,757
9 Sheffield City Council 5063 2610 7,673
10 Cornwall Council 5795 1662 7,457

Bradford has the highest number of commercial properties currently empty, with 7,908 business premises currently unoccupied, which means that 4.5% of all empty commercial properties in the UK are located in that Council area. Birmingham has the second highest number of empty commercial properties (7,622), followed by Leeds (4,528) and Liverpool (4,266). The FOI requests found that there are a total of 172,217 empty business units across the UK, which perhaps suggests a huge potential for investment, particularly in Cities and Regions that have felt the harshest effects of recent financial uncertainty. Liverpool has the highest number of empty residential properties, with 11,073 sitting unoccupied, while the study revealed that there are a total 448,246 empty dwellings in this sector across the country; and that the top 5 Cities account for 10% of the total number of vacant homes. Name, Job Title at Glide said:- "The research has revealed the high number of empty properties and businesses across the UK, particularly across some of the major northern Council areas. But whilst it is troubling to see so much wasted residential and commercial space, it does represent a clear opportunity for developers, and hopefully this study will help prospective investors pinpoint where there is the most potential for growth."

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