A major new event space is to be created outside Liverpool’s iconic St George’s Hall as part of a radical, multi-million pound regeneration programme.
The proposal, which involves expanding the current plateau into Lime Street to create a world-class “gateway experience”, is one of eight major projects that will transform how people move around Liverpool city centre – by foot, bike, car, coach and bus.
Another key element includes the transformation of The Strand from an eight to a four lane, tree-lined highway with the simplification and removal of key junctions including the bus interchange at Mann Island to the Pier Head.
The changes, which involve altering traffic signal timings, will lead to a better traffic flow and improve the visitor experience for pedestrians walking from the city centre to the waterfront. The new look Strand would also include a cycle lane connecting the north and south of the city as well as the creation of more public space and street furniture.
The Liverpool City Centre Connectivity Scheme (LCCC), which goes before Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet on Friday, August 19 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.
A key aim of the far-reaching scheme is to achieve a major reduction in congestion by creating a new hub for buses to park and layover in, which will reduce bus traffic, and the repositioning of Queen Square bus station for all northbound routes and Paradise Street station for all southbound routes.
Liverpool’s first dedicated coach park will also be created to accommodate the boom in coach visitors to the city centre, which last year equated to 160,000 more tourists than those who arrived via the cruise terminal.
Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: ‘’Liverpool’s international appeal to visitors and investors has blossomed over the past decade and this has set many new challenges and new opportunities.
‘’This new transport scheme addresses many of our current and future needs to improve the city centre welcome and provide an experience befitting a world-class city.
‘’With a growing residential population, a huge rise in visitors and major developments in the pipeline, how we navigate around the city centre needs a radical rethink in key locations and some major improvements.
‘’The creation of an extended St George’s plateau, a new look Strand, a new bus hub, a new coach park, new dock bridges and upgrades to cycling and pedestrian routes from the Knowledge Quarter to the Waterfront will open up a new world of possibilities for investors, event organisers and travel operators to further accelerate the future growth of the city centre and wider city region.
‘’This is a scheme that will make a huge difference to how everyone from residents, workers, shoppers, students and tourists can enjoy Liverpool.’’
To be completed before the end of 2019, the proposed eight LCCC projects are:
- St George’s Plateau – New Event Space: To be created by reclaiming northbound lanes of Lime Street increasing current event capacity.
- The Strand: New four lane highway, new north-south cycleway, enhanced animation of public space and road enhancements to improve pedestrian links from waterfront to the Commercial District and main retail area.
- New City Bus Hub: To be established near Queen Square bus station accompanied by a new bus routing strategy that will cut congestion and pollution.
- New City Coach Park: New off-street layover facility and rest area for drivers and reduce congestion in the city centre.
- New Canning Dock Bridges: Four new bridges will be created to link Salthouse Quay (opposite Albert Dock) with Mann Island opening up land for future development
- New Moorfields entrance: Upgrade to Moorfields station and surrounding public realm to enhance quality of arrival in the Commercial District.
- Brownlow Hill: Upgraded public realm and new cycle links from Lime Street station to the Knowledge Quarter, which is undergoing a £1bn renaissance.
- Dale Street: One of Liverpool’s ‘Great Streets’, forming part of World Heritage site, will see public realm upgrades plus introduction of new east-west cycleway from Lime Street station to Waterfront.
The city council report is proposing that the eight projects are split into two contracts – the Strand being a standalone piece of work – and once approved by cabinet will go out to tender.
Once the tender exercise is complete, the cabinet will receive a new report with detailed costs, timescales and further recommendations.
The LCCC scheme will receive £38.4m from the Local Growth Fund with local match funding of £6.3m.
Consultation with stakeholders on the scheme has already begun and a series of public consultation events will begin in September.