Earlier this month, we hosted the latest in our ten year long series of “what’s coming” meetings for Liverpool Waterfront residents. And once again, it was a packed house, with residents joining us from almost every Waterfront development, from Armstrong Quay in the south, up to Waterloo Warehouse in the north.

Our first speaker, Pete Swift of Planit, shared the latest news on Liverpool Waters Central Docks development, at the north end of the Waterfront – including some absolutely amazing renders of a new ‘central park’ planned to run right through the space:

Laura Pye, CEO of National Museums Liverpool, shared details of their Waterfront Transformation Project – including the foundations for a long-awaited bridge across the Canning Graving Docks. She said the bridge will be a massive improvement for foot traffic during high capacity events, with NML able to operate a proper circular one-way flow for improved safety and speed. We’re sure residents at Mann Island and the Colonnades will appreciate spending less time stuck in crowds of visitors at pinch points during big events!

Talking of big events, Andi Herring from LCR Pride Foundation shared plans for this year’s Pride in Liverpool festival, which returns to the Pier Head on Saturday 27th July. Last year’s march through the city centre included over 20,000 people, and the event site on the Pier Head was packed all evening. This year, in addition to the free Pride even on Saturday 27th July, there’ll be a smaller, ticketed music event, with a very different feel, in the evening of Friday 26th – more news on that to come!

Chris Coupland, of architecture firm The Manser Practice, gave a fascinating presentation on the planning and development of the new Isle Of Man Ferry Terminal on Princes Half-tide Dock. Residents were impressed by the quality and integrity of the redevelopment, which saw the (re-)discovery of over 190 heritage assets on the site, from Liverpool’s maritime past, of which almost half have been able to be retained on the site, as a reminder of what came before. Meanwhile, the terminal’s all-glass first floor offers 360 degree views of the docks, while the zinc-clad ground floor pays homage to the Isle of Man’s history as source of up to 20% of the UK’s zinc at one time. This feels like a development worth waiting for!

James Long of the Canal and River Trust gave an insight into their ongoing plan for the Waterfront’s docks and canal, as a unique natural environment. This year they are focussing on education on the site, with activities that let people get closer to the water to understand more about the natural environment, such as “what lies beneath” sessions. Residents will also remember that Canal and River Trust has been involved in the South Ferry Quay residents meeting, which we look forward to continuing to support throughout 2024.

Bill Addy, CEO of the Liverpool BID Company, and Paul Kallee-Grover, of Ki Partnerships, followed with a briefing on their new Liverpool Waterfront Positioning Paper. (Further details HERE about the document) , which is the first official document in the city to connect the whole of the waterfront from Bramley-Moore Dock in the north to Festival Gardens in the south – a shift of perspective that Engage has been campaigning for, for over a decade. In the Q&A session, Councillor Nick Small noted that this new Positioning Paper also complimented work Liverpool City Council is commissioning this spring, to bring global expertise to Liverpool, to drive forward a new vision and masterplan for the waterfront which is to be delivered over the next 10-15 years and beyond. We look forward to reporting back on how this develops over the course of 2024.

Other speakers on the night included Jemima Pyne, of TATE Liverpool, sharing more details on the £30m renovation work on TATE’s Albert Dock home, while it holds special exhibitions in the gallery spaces of RIBA North, Mann Island; Josh Boyd, of the Daffodil project, announcing the imminent return of a restored and refitted Royal Daffodil ferry, to the Strand wall of Canning Dock, as a restaurant and event space; and Kerry Villa, sharing upcoming events at the Arena and Convention Centre.

And finally, Tony Storey, of Cruise Media Services, brought the night to a close with details on the launch of Cunard’s new ship, the Queen Anne, in Liverpool, on Monday 3rd June. With space for 3000 guests, the Queen Anne is bigger than Queens Victoria and Elizabeth, but smaller than Queen Mary 2, and cost approx $600m to build. Her first voyage will be a celebratory lap around the British Isles in May, which will include the naming ceremony and official launch party at Liverpool’s Pier Head on Monday 3rd June.

What did people think?

Attendees of any past Engage Liverpool events will be aware that we don’t let you leave until you’ve filled in a feedback form! Aside from helping us measure our impact, these forms are also a great way to surface new issues that residents would like us to focus on over the coming year.

At this month’s event, 98% of attendees said they learned something they didn’t know before (we wonder whether maybe the 2% had fallen asleep after a long day at work, and missed all the brand new stuff that was shared!), while 82% said they met someone they didn’t know before, and 90% said they would come to an event like this again. These are incredibly encouraging figures.

Comments left by attendees included requests to know more about:

  • The new Cruise Liner Terminal (which Engage first covered back in 2018)
  • The Everton Stadium development at Bramley-Moore Dock.
  • The new parking restrictions “causing chaos for residents” on South Ferry Quay (which we must admit, even an Engage board member was caught out by last year!)
  • And who is taking responsibility for the “rubbish, weeds, and graffiti” in the city centre.

We’ll factor all of this feedback into our plans for 2024.

Every year we rely on a kindly donated venue and refreshments (in recent years always courtesy of the wonderful ACCL) as well as the volunteered time of our board members to organise and run these events – but Engage still incurs a cost running these events, through ticket booking fees and flyer printing costs. It was encouraging, then, to see feedback like this on the forms as well:

  • “Great work by Engage”
  • “Looking forward to the next 10 years of Engage”
  • “Keep up the good work. We need you!”
  • “Very interesting event. Lots learnt, and glad we came. Thank you!”
  • “Really great to get an overview, thanks very much”
  • “Thanks for the refreshments”
  • “Informative and very well managed”
  • “Brilliant as usual”
  • “Wonderful! Very informative”

And finally, one resident left a note that they’d “like a website to review tonight’s info afterwards” – so to you, dear resident, here’s the page you requested. Your wish is our command!