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KINGSDOCKToday’s announcement of £1.5 billion’s worth of developments is a welcome shot in the arm for some of the city’s most blighted areas: the buddleia-infested facades of Lime Street, and the grim procession of Mount Pleasant especially. It’s also, of course, a welcome bit of positive PR ahead of next week’s elections.

The proposals show the transformation of Lime Street, Mount Pleasant, and King’s Dock – with major redevelopments including the old ABC cinema – to be turned into some kind of TV and music studio hub, while the old Futurist cinema would be converted into a hotel, cinema, family restaurants, shops and (of course) student accommodation. The hideous Mount Pleasant car park, and the iconic 051 building (and, therefore, Smokey Mo’s karaoke) is set to become a new landmark building.

Kings Dock is set to see an Olympic standard ice rink to the city – to further boost the city’s ambitions to stage the Commonwealth Games here – along with an extreme sports complex, restaurants and residential developments.

zzabccinema150514“These schemes demonstrate there is a vibrant, exciting future ahead for Liverpool,” Joe Anderson says. “The projects we are developing for Kings Dock and Lime Street will make the city an even greater place to live, work and invest.

“Crucially though, they will bring thousands of jobs into the city which will ensure we have a sustainable future,” he adds.

Lime Street is one of the city’s most shameful stretches of real estate: a shabby row of dilapidated store fronts and crumbling Art Deco stonework. Worryingly, the artist’s impressions show the total demolition of the beautiful Futurist facade, to be replaced with an anodyne wall of any-town shop fronts: let’s hope some more thought is given to the real thing. We don’t want the baby thrown out with the bathwater again, do we? The Crown’s just been revamped and is looking lovely – what it doesn’t need is a bland row of chain stores as neighbours. Lime Street could be a real independent boulevard: the shop units are nice and small (one of the only city centre streets left that can offer start-up retail spaces). What a great way to welcome visitors that would be. Left unchecked, we know what happens in Planning. Two words: student flats. Oh, make that four: student flats and Tesco.

“It is one of the first things visitors to our city see when they step off the train and I am committed to transforming this into the gateway our world-class city deserves,” Anderson says.

It is, however, despite the glitzy, computer generated renderings, something of a wish list – with funding still being negotiated. How it will happen, who’ll get the contracts, where the money comes from: the fine print is being hammered out.

Still, the priorities are to be commended: and the timescales are impressively trim: with Lime Street set to be completed within two years (“although if HS2 happens, we’d have to amend the scheme, so that might delay things,” a Council spokesperson told us.)

Kings Dock will take three years to complete – and might be the work of a single developer, or the combination of a number of successful bids.

Shiny new developments at Kings Dock are fine – and will fit in well with the new Exhibition Centre – but Lime Street is one of the city’s great streets, and the student ghetto looming above the station is a real horror story. Let’s hope a sympathetic development scheme, finally, brings it back to its former glory.

We applaud this development, but we have one wish of our own to pass on to Planning:

Let’s keep Lime Street local, eh?

We’ll know more by the end of the year.

  • Stephen Cunningham

    The artist’s impression of Lime Street looks woeful. Soulless and no character.

  • Ronnie Hughes

    Yes, Lime Street looks like a posh version of the cladding they did on Edge Lane to hide the empty homes during City of Culture year. Futurist facade gone?

  • sócjo

    agree!

  • Greg Epton

    I’ve always thought that the Futurist cinema would make a great specialist Sci-fi and Fantasy cinema – perhaps with a Worlds Apart screen and a Forbidden Planet screen to involve local businesses?

  • Nessy76

    I wouldn’t get too hung up on that. The final design for that part of the plan will probably be totally different to what’s shown there. It’s little more than a concept at the moment.

  • bornagainst

    Until someone actually explains where the money is coming from then this is just a paper exercise. All the permissions and agreements will be in place so when the big developers turn up there will be no delays….

    More student flats anyone?

    Good for sending everyone on a few jollies, but I’ll remain cynical til somebody shows the money.

  • John Bradley

    I think Lime Street is lost to independents. I think Renshaw street would be a better place for independents. Merging with the top of Bold Street and Leece street. Some plans from the The Dispensary to the Taverna and for the site of the old labour exchange

  • Michael McDonough

    This is all great news. The Kings Dock visual is clearly a little dated (there are buildings missing from around the Arena multi-storey car park) but the concept for creating a mixed use/leisure destination of what is the last part of the south dock system jigsaw is very good.

    The Mount Pleasant scheme is perfect in that it’s a high standard of design, could provide this part of the city with much needed Grade A office space and it would create a new landmark that would help reconnect London Road to the Ropewalks/Renshaw St area more effectively.

    I’m also all for the re-invention of the former ABC cinema since Urban Splash’ plans to refurb have fallen short. I do however think something more holistic is needed to deal with the entire Blacklers/Mcdonalds/Lime St block that would include demolishing Clayton Square, Central Station Shopping Centre and St Johns and a total reconfigure of this clunky, tired and messy part of town!

    However the part of really don’t like has to be the visualisation of what is proposed next to the Vines on Lime St. This is a tired run of buildings this we can agree on but that visual is bland, cheap and looks like a photoshop 10 minute job. Something imposing, architecturally outstanding and vibrant needs to go here and there needs to be a serious look at the removal of the cheap, thrown up student blocks on shelhorne st – unless HS2 and an expansion of Lime St station does away with them eventually 😀

  • mark_scoz

    I had no idea there was that old cinema there I thought you were talking about the one on the corner, presumably that’s the old ABC. Here’s a thought instead of knocking them down – get the owners to actually maintain their buildings. at least they’ve got rid of the concrete monstrosity that blocked the entrance to the station, though that should have been done when the did all the steel work and glass on the roof.

    I’m no great fan of Mount Pleasant car park be glad to see that go but the replacement better be better than most of the new stuff on brownlow hill. the best thing is the psychedelic building the uni did. speaking of unis what’s going on with the old sorting office – redevelopment was supposed to have started in Jan – looks like nothing’s happening at all. except for turning the patch of grass on the brownlow hill side into an even worse car park than mount pleasant

  • John Bradley

    Futurist in a sad state https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2_JRTwP4J0 and the Scala next door now a pole dancing establihsment.

  • Nicko

    the money is coming from European and private investment. the council are selling the land to private developers as they genuinely are skint! without this nothing would happen. as for the quality of the images, no money has been spent on the architecture design as yet, its all done for free by some desperado. once the “concept”is approved, the design will start so don’t worry too much about the awful cgis (computer generated images

  • david_lloyd

    no, that’s the figure on the press release – but yeah, that’s one and a half LiverpoolONE’s!

  • bornagainst

    If they really wanted to do something positive they could start by forcing a reduction in the logjam of traffic and giving some space to pedestrians and cyclists… but that’s probably far too radical. Who would go shopping along Lime St when the pavements are narrow, congested with bus stops and crossing the road is like a game of Frogger?

  • liss

    All in town as usual!!!!

  • John Bradley

    Where would you expect it to be?

  • John Bradley

    No mention of St James station. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liverpool_St_James_railway_station which would make the kings Dock area more accessable.

  • Philip Stratford

    Is there even a possibility of getting HS2 into Liverpool? I thought the route was pretty much a done deal, and I haven’t read anything in the national press about Liverpool making a strong case to have it changed.

  • Adam Bray

    This reeks of ridiculously capitalist ideas, on a city which doesn’t have the money or means to support such developments. It would be likely that if any developments went ahead, that they would fail or stagnate, as has the renovation of the Lewis’ building. Neither the economy of the country, the economy of Liverpool, or the culture of this city support these ideas. Replacing a beautiful, historic building such as the Futurist is crazy. I can appreciate the building is in a bad state of repair, but what is wrong with renovating what is currently there into an arts space, such as East Village Arts Club, which would be far more successful than another Odeon? (why would people go to this cinema when there’s another massive modern cinema 5 minutes away in L1?). I just can’t understand how planners can begin to believe that these plans would go ahead. As if any of this is ever going to happen, particularly when considering these crazy plans; http://www.sevenstreets.com/whats-happening-with-central-village/

  • david_lloyd

    Yeah, very unlikely. Mind you, is HS2 even gonna happen?

  • david_lloyd

    yes, that’s gone ominously quiet hasn’t it

  • MattB

    The gateway our world-class city deserves? Come on Joe this is a truly awful design for Lime St….how totally unoriginal and bland. How about doing up the Futurist facade instead. i don’t suppose it’s crossed your mind Councillor (very little seems to usually) but maybe the visitors to the city might want to see the beautiful buildings we already have rather than some bland strip of shops that they could just as well see in Leeds or Birmingham.

    I’d rather look at the Buddleias than that bore fest. Designed by an 8 year old Minecraft addict? I do wonder how much was spent to get someone to mock that up? Why as a city do we never learn?

  • Michael Jh James

    Why not just fix up the buildings which are there now? Those buildings are the type of buildings which make Liverpool, which make Britain even. The building design is shocking. It’s as bad as that black building next to the LiverBuildings. #SaveTheFuturist

  • John Bradley

    Did you actually read the article? Do also understand that small local shops are capitalist?

  • Adam Bray

    I did read the article, and I can appreciate the author’s support of local shops, however these plans are in no way supportive of this. It appears Liverpool city council strike again with their unapologetic desire to remove old buildings which could be renovated. This is a letter sent from one of my lecturers at university, which questions the demolition process of old property in the city http://www.liv.ac.uk/mcs/lfs/consultations/welshstreetslet130314.pdf. When I refer to capitalism, I’m referring to the dominance of large corporations. I can appreciate that technically, small, independent shops are still capitalist (I should have been more clear). “Kings Dock is set to see an Olympic standard ice rink to the city – to further boost the city’s ambitions to stage the Commonwealth Games here – along with an extreme sports complex, restaurants and residential developments.” News such as this is enouraging IF funding can be guaranteed, however, this is a challenge when considering the difficulties which other projects have experienced when getting off the ground, such as Central Village.

  • Cliff

    There’s many more areas of Liverpool that would benefit hugely from having a mere fraction of that 1.5 billion spending on it. Have you been down County Road or Stanley Road recently?

  • Russ

    Obviously if the planning permission goes ahead, the designs would be reviewed and tweaked. Lime Street deserves better than what is shown in the photo there. It would clash against the great St Georges Hall, Crown and Vines.

    The ABC would look great refurbished, but what of the grotty row between that and Lewis’s (or Central Village). Lime Street defiantly needs more thought and consideration. As Joe says himself, this is the first impression tourists get of the city. Therefore, due care and consideration should be given, rather than a “Right Said Fred” botch job.

    Would St James Station make Kings Dock more accessible? We’re talking about a site behind the old Cains brewery aren’t we? That’s some walk along a pretty busy 6 lane road to the Kings Dock. I wouldn’t be inclined to use it.

    It’s a shame there are no references are made to Tithebarn Street…it’s time will come one day!

  • John Bradley

    The point of spending the money is more than to just make the place look good, it should create job. The same money spent on County road would not have that effect.

    If sport facilities where put on county road they would be difficult to access for large parts of the population.
    And as the money is not going to be the councils but developers do you think they could get the same return on county road?

  • david_lloyd

    tithebarn street needs the interactive sports bar back!

  • John Bradley

    St James would be the closest station, James Street being next nearest but with only Wirral line trains. I’d also suggest walking along the pavement. It is also only 450 yards down to the docks.

    Tithebarn street is in far better nick the Lime Street. What it really needs is that massive Car Park behind Exchange station used for something else and a bridge over Leeds street to begin regeneration over there, http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1232834, perhaps with a new station at Lightbody Street.

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  • mark_scoz

    that’s older than the “redevelopment begins january 2014” signs plastered all over the building

  • Philip Stratford

    I think so – too many people stand to make too much money for it not to happen, and both Labour and the Conservatives seem pretty committed to it.

  • JMC

    Dave (not the author of this article), but the little bore who went on about not caring what the inside of Liverpool hotels look like. You know nothing about design. So go and bore someone else about something else you know f*** all about.