Liverpool City Council are discussing a recommendation next Tuesday 19th September 2023 to approve a report calling for the establishment of a team of specialists to devise a strategy and masterplan for the future development of the Waterfront. It is unlikely to be rejected as the Council are publicising it as if it is already approved.

Certainly it is great news for the city and we hope that there will be a good response to the open invitation to apply for the position from important national and international civic design professionals. This news comes hot on the heals of a previous announcement last month reported by Engage about the call for consultants to deliver a Development and Investment Strategy for the City Council: Another Strategy Beckons! 15.08.23.

What interests Engage is the requirement for the successful applicants to commence ‘significant and meaningful engagement with key stakeholders’ and the article goes on to name two, the Liverpool BID Company and Canal & River Trust. Residents aren’t mentioned explicitly but Engage considers itself to be one of those key stakeholders and will be requesting direct contact once the new consultants are appointed. We would intend inviting residents from across the Waterfront and City Centre to come together to reflect upon their ideas for how future development should be encouraged.

We constantly hear calls for better connectivity north-south and for the impressive work already done around the Royal Albert Dock and Pier Head to be extended beyond those quite narrow boundaries. Residents care about the uses to which the dock water-spaces could be put and would like to have a contribution to any future plans. The Council needs to agree that the ‘Waterfront’ runs from Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium in the north to the proposed development at Festival Gardens in the south. Concerns are raised about the poor quality of development and the absence of an overall plan for the entire former dock estate.

Liverpool is indeed coming late to this and has only slowly realised that it has an amazing opportunity to differentiate¬† itself from other English cities. However the focus has only been on a small part of the waterfront heritage and even that part hasn’t been particularly well designed – look at the decision to place a huge car park on Kings Dock at the most significant and key location of the whole site. And the atrocious quality of design of the apartment block (that managed to survive the 2017 New Year’s Eve disastrous car park fire) on Kings Dock and looks dreadfully out of place as neighbour to the more prestigious Pullman Hotel.

Some serious and important renovation works are to be carried out by National Museums Liverpool to the Maritime and International Slavery Museums and around the Canning Dock basin and adjoining land and also an extensive refurbishment starting soon at the Tate which will see it closed for the next two years. These developments certainly give an impetus to any further design works being explored for the waterfront as a whole.

More information can be found below:

Liverpool Express 12.09.23 ‘Liverpool looking forward to define next chapter for it’s world-famous waterfront’

PLace NorthWest 12.09.23 ‘Future of Liverpool’s waterfront under the microscope’¬†

IMAGE: Courtesy of ResearchGate and (C) Dennis Rodwell 2011