As the Mayoral campaign heats up, it’s good to see Joe Anderson beefing up his credentials in front of an invited audience this morning (ie – we weren’t there) talking up plans for the city’s continued Renaissance. There was a touch of hubris in the phrasing: “Since I’ve been Council leader, we’ve done great things…” – when, in reality, the train was already well in motion, Joe, as well you know. And the great things have been thanks to all of us, too. No, really, thanks.
Still, there are some intriguing promises amid the rhetoric. We’ve picked the highlights out from the press release (because, like we say, we weren’t invited)…
A major events programme from 2012-2015 will be delivered by a dedicated marketing team in Liverpool Vision – the city’s energetic inward investment company.
The creation of a Liverpool Fund of £350,000. Liverpool Vision will manage this resource and seek match funding from the private sector, to support key projects.
The new body, Marketing Liverpool, will be established within Liverpool Vision, the city’s economic development company, to promote the Liverpool brand nationally and internationally, working closely with Culture Liverpool and Tourism (part of the new LEP body)
Cllr Anderson pledged that Liverpool will:
· host an annual Festival of Entrepreneurship, building on the success of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress
· host an International Trade Fair to boost the city’s status as a centre of digital creativity, life sciences and clean, sustainable technology
· build on the success of Mathew Street Music Festival to host Europe’s premier festival of music (wonder what Sound City’s involvement will be?)
· make the waterfront the city’s greatest stage, enhancing its status as a global visitor destination through the creation of a £40 million Exhibition Centre adjacent to ACC Liverpool
· develop an expanded Cruise Liner Terminal (we’re not sure how – the wrangling over Objective 1 money being repaid continues)
· celebrate the city’s role as a gateway to the New World with an International Migration Centre
· celebrate the city’s maritime heritage by developing a new River Festival to become Europe’s biggest maritime event
· assert Liverpool’s status as a global brand by attracting and hosting business, cultural and sporting events of international significance.
SevenStreets thinks it’s great to see such ambition, and some of these projects look very juicy indeed. The Exhibition Centre, opening in two years’ time, sounds intriguing – you can read all about it here. We think that, despite staff cut backs and budget restrictions, the fact that our Council still preserves its Culture team is a very positive stand indeed. We like the sound of what we hear. We only hope more integration with the real people, on the ground, doing the business forms the core of these initiatives. We’ve seen parachuted in cultural events before, and they say little to us about our lives.
No mention was made of the city’s failure to secure extra funding to become a ‘super connected city’ (the ten winners were announced in yesterday’s budget), so we wonder how that will affect Cllr Anderson’s plans to bolster the city’s ‘status as a centre of digital creativity’.
Still, there is much to be encouraged about in this announcement. And we’ll be keeping a close eye on how things unfold. What are your thoughts?