Firstly, the bad news. By whichever metric you choose, Liverpool is in trouble. Our economy is shrinking. Over the past half decade the Office of National Statistics (ONS) records a drop of 0.8%, while every other core city has seen significant growth.

Our population, relative to other cities, is shrinking. Ten years ago, Liverpool’s population – at 441,900 – was larger than Manchester’s 422,900.

JS78565217Now, after a 19% rise, Manchester’s has broken that symbolic half-million mark, clocking in at 503,100. Liverpool’s has limped to 466,000. Crucially, Manchester has seen its greatest rise in the essential 20-30 year old band: young, wide-eyed economic time-bombs eager to pollinate our post-industrial cities. Liverpool’s population is projected to rise at the lowest rate of increase of all of the core cities.

Tax revenues from jobs and businesses in Liverpool lag way behind those of other cities, according to a recent study by the Centre for Cities. The reason? Not enough high skilled jobs.

Our broadband provision is poorer than other cities – according to the ONS, the rate of social and digital exclusion in Liverpool is 69 per cent compared with a national average of 40 per cent. Some 92,000 people in the city have never been online.

Looking at how well connected city centre firms were to superfast fibre optic broadband, Deloitte found that only four of the companies they surveyed were up to speed. Their conclusion? With the rise of cloud computing the need for high internet speeds has become more acute and a slow connection can have a serious impact on business productivity.

Part of the reason for our city’s broadband not-spots? Liverpool missed out on a slice of the government’s £150m Urban Broadband Fund which could’ve extended access out to areas like Kensington, Everton and Anfield where it’s really needed. 13 cities bid for 10 slots and somehow we managed to finish in the bottom three, and failed to secure a single penny.

Notwithstanding the very real and pressing problem of Government funding cuts affecting how the Council pays for essential services (problems affecting other northern cities doing way better than us, by the way), the question we must all focus on now is, where do we go from here?

Because this is no party political rant. These are the facts. This is where we’re at.

Old Tribal Allegiances Won’t Get Us Out of This Mess

In this city, tribal allegiances – religion, football, politics – always produce more heat than light. It’s a way to shut down conversation, disengage, divert attention: oh, another anti-labour piece from SevenStreets, is the knee-jerk reaction we’re totally expecting. But the state of our city, and the scale of the problem, is way more important than empty political posturing. Our duelling politicians – within the city, and its greater combined authority – have to accept: they’re part of the problem. Their playground tantrums (we’re looking at you, Joe) have made us a laughing stock. Greater devolution? Let’s evolve out of the sandpit first, eh?

Now is the time to interrogate our most fundamental belief systems, to test if they still hold water. And it’s a simple question: can we trust our politicians – alone – with the keys to our future success? With their failed Joint Ventures, their selling off of landmark buildings to known criminals for £1, allowing prime property deals to be secured without due tendering process, dithering over an essential cruise terminal location, presiding over the horror that is Anfield’s tinned up community, refusing to engage with the Localism Act by blocking the introduction of a neighbourhood plan for the waterfront – a plan that would have allowed residents to have a greater say in how their community develops for the benefit of residents and businesses alike.

We sat in on a full Council meeting recently, and it was the most depressing evening we’ve had in a long time. It was, in Friends-speak, ‘The one where Joe defended his £90,000 legal fees to keep his pension for a job he was dismissed from’. To a wo/man, the labour councillors all cheered and back-slapped our leader’s defence. Labour councillors in wards like Clubmoor, where households’ average annual income range starts at £10,400. It was a grotesque display of shoring up the sandbanks while, outside, our city was shrinking. Our young people were leaving. Our broadband was sputtering. Not one Labour councillor, throughout the entire meeting, dared even hint at a disagreement with anything. They acted less like sentient beings, and more like parts on a production line at Halewood. This wasn’t democracy in action. It was a closed shop.

Our Council is Disconnected to the Real Story

Time and again, our Council shows how blindsided it is with what’s really happening – and fails to capitalise on what may just be the most brilliant route out of our situation. Demolish the houses and scatter the community, it says of the Granby Four Streets, just before they scoop the Turner Prize. Get into bed with Geraud, it decides, just as the ground-up localism food movement takes off everywhere else. Silence the nightclubs, it demands, as the Kazimier’s finale makes national press. Destroy Hope Street with ho-hum student flats, it approves, just after it wins best Street at the Civic Awards. Let the speculators and the investors build, it concludes, after the world wakes up to the fact that that model is over.

Cities are here to stay. But things are about to get interesting. Now, real questions are being asked: is growth, in and of itself, a good thing? And how big can they be before the current model eats itself? Already, the world’s megacities are witnessing power outages, water shortages and gridlocked roads. Yet, increasingly, the world’s cities are engaged in a breathless race towards some hyper-shiny vision of a sleek, monotonous metropolis, with monorails and malls, and villages in the sky.

But soon, a city will emerge that will break the mould. Because this model is broken in every possible sense. The pursuit of more has proved hollow. Urgently we need to find something to replace it. The vast problems of global pollution, the single minded pursuit of profit, and the social inequality that always follows. Within our own city the poverty gap is obscene, yet still we lionise the ‘Liverpool Look’ – the gaudy tat dripping down the padded walls of our new hotels. It’s insane. And, whatsmore, it’s unsustainable.

Time For a New Model of What a City Could Be?

Could Liverpool be that city? The city that rewrote the rulebook? The city that said ‘it doesn’t have to be this way’? We think it could.

Because here’s the good news. Something extraordinary is happening in Liverpool. Almost as if a fundamental law of physics is being enacted: as an equal and opposite reaction to the paucity of vision from our leaders, there are industrious, inventive and passionate people engaged in real change. Sure, not speculative flats thrown up overnight offering a 7% yield to pension funds. But schemes and start-ups appropriate for a city with an 800 year old history. New businesses, CICs and social enterprises with a viable future – delivering products and services that we need, and want.

SevenStreets believes that real jobs come from a feedback loop between customers and businesses. We are the true job creators, not Amazon barns and Sainsbury’s sheds. And, yes, it takes time to grow and nurture a good job. But, boy, is it worth it.

The world is changing. Just look at the scandal of zero hours contracts, chain restaurants’ tipping furore, the rise of ‘tax shaming’ the multinationals. People are realising that big corporations don’t offer the panacea we thought they did. So why should our cities continue to carat-dangle incentive schemes and prime plots to fabricated Chinese investors?

Burned out by McJobs, more of us are willing to risk entrepreneurship, crowdfunding and collaboration as a viable alternative, creating wealth for themselves – and wealth that, crucially, circulates in the local economy. That’s why Bold Street has seen over 30 new businesses start up in the past couple of years. It’s why Independent Liverpool seized the moment so successfully. It’s why Homebaked keeps the home fires of Anfield burning, and why Engage invites the world’s best urban thinkers here for their seminars.

The City Needs to Connect Stronger, and Deeper, With Us

Increasingly, people are tapping into a new source of energy. Why we give a damn about the future of Lime Street, of libraries, and of our green spaces. Because we’re all, more than ever before, aware of what we stand to lose if we continue on this path. We stand to lose the city. Look at what we’ve lost already, and project forward what we stand to lose if we don’t, now, say enough.

Liverpool’s creative sector is resurgent. Moreover it is resilient. We know how to magic up inspirational co-working hubs, art, virtual race tracks, smart technology, biennials and festivals. And we have the warehouses, the infrastructure, the talent and the drive to punch persuasively above our weight. What could we have done with Millennium House? With St Andrew’s Church? With the streets and history we’ve wiped from the map? If we were only given the keys, rather than them going to another identikit hotel or student castle. Heck, let the city’s creative communities run a hotel: imagine how amazing that would be. No padded headboard required.

We’re not saying we want a city full of cocktail bars, artisan bakers or vintage festivals. But these people have already proved their mettle. They are our raw materials. They have conjured up something from nothing. And this is an infinitely transferable skill. A skill that’s way more useful than a life spent being paid by the public purse. People determined to make something of themselves, better their communities, create a social infrastructure that’s built on what we need now, not on some artists’ impression of how we’ll live in a vague, Sci-Fi future.

Not every city can be Shanghai, or even Manchester. Not every city should be. But every city that stands a shot at survival needs to be distinctive. Make us a city that is inherently different, and then we become a much easier sell. When you become a place that people want to live in, it’s a sure bet that you become a place where people want to invest in. And with every new development that pushes us – and our culture – out of the picture, that future looks ever more uncertain.

We think it’s time for a change. We think collaboration – true, sleeves-rolled-up, honest collaboration – is the only way forward.

In his new year message, Joe Anderson says that ‘Liverpool has a long, proud, tradition of protest for social change, but we are at our best when we ARE the social change. Liverpool is famous around the world not for complaining about things, but for changing things.’

Fine words. But, Joe, but no one complains more than you. We should know. And, also, what’s your definition of change? Because, if it’s New Wolstenholme Square (pic r), we’ll pass, thanks. That looks like our definition of ‘more of the same’.

So how can we work together when you block anyone who disagrees with you on Twitter? How can we effect change when you surround yourself with yes people? How can we start a dialogue when you refuse to listen?

So, What Happens Now? 

JS67772718Maybe, just maybe, the answers to our problems have been here all along – that DoES Liverpool could have helped map out a smarter broadband provision than the millions wasted on BT, that our local food heroes could have created a better market offer than Geraud’s sorry sheds, that the Kazimier collective could have imagined a brighter future for Wolstenholme Square, that the Liverpool Lantern Co could have engineered our own Giants instead of us importing them, that our gaming community could have been given the breaks we were so keen to give to Sony. That Granby and Homebaked could work with the fractured communities that encircle our city, and give them hope.

But all of this takes time. And money. But not much money. We’ve spent over £40,000 on awards ceremonies in the past couple of years. For what? A big night out and some bad press. Imagine how many startups that could have seeded?

In smart cities, the rise of collaboration is unstoppable. Cities mature enough to admit that their politicians don’t hold all the answers. Many people have figured out that it doesn’t make any sense to work in silos, when it’s never been easier to pull together. What sense does it make to turn your back on the thousands of people in our city who want to be part of the change?

Collaborative economy concepts are being implemented right now. Sharing, helping, learning, opening up. We are not passive consumers. We are citizens. And we, not transient public servants, hold the keys to our future.

Over in the States, MIT’s Dayna Cunningham believes in the power of listening. With big problems – like ours – the solution requires out-of-the-Town-Hall-box thinking. “We consider people from different social positions as colleagues,” she says. “Poor people actually are experts on problems, from illness to dealing with life without money. Yet in a bad economy, no one asks them how they make ends meet, often because they’ve been told what they think doesn’t matter.” Does that sound like a story close to home, to you?

Her Community Innovators Lab now works with community organizations – with people at the margins “because they offer tremendous insight,” she says, adding that the lab casts the poor not only as those with problems but as inventors of creative approaches.

“We have people—from soccer moms to police chiefs to kids in hoodies—whose life experiences are counterintuitive, whose life truths are opposite, and we put them together around the table and get them to co-create solutions.”

Guess what? We haven’t got the answer. But here’s what SevenStreets suggests: Liverpool does the same. Sets up a parliament of the people, for the people. No one can hold a light to our creativity, so why is no-one talking to us? We might never be an economic powerhouse again. But is that so bad? Surely our goal is to live in a city that functions better, that cares for its citizens, that offers opportunities for all. A city that’s generous and tolerant. That connects with itself at a deeper level than retweets of sunsets. A city that knows where it’s going.

Because, make no mistake, we’re all connected like never before. And if we don’t work together, we’ll continue to fall apart.

Main image: Jeff Wong

62 Responses to “Happy New Year: Liverpool, We’re In This Together”

  1. Jane Nolan

    I agree for the most part but we DO need help from outisde ageencies too…..The Giants was a fantastic experience and kindled the imagination (and we have lots of that) of young and old alike. It brought in welcome revenue for us. I’m not sure a homegrown event could ever have had the same impact? Look. When you see what’s happening in Bold Street it’s a symbolic finger sign to Liverpool One and I love that; but I also believe they can run side by side and they do. What we need to realize is the Bold Street phenomenon was created independently, organically and gained momentum spontaneously. So my bugbear is that vision not being tapped into enough. Sure, let the Duke of whoever buy up half of the city but hey, couldn’t he have at least embraced the local businesses whose love for their home city was stronger than any fste indexed motivated share holder?

  2. Would really disagree re: Giants. There’s so many amazing creative collectives across the region who could do something impressive and engaging and wide-reaching given the right energy and support. You only have to look at the success of the Lantern Parade or something to see the potential’s there.

  3. Liverpool has plenty of potential to be an “economic powerhouse”.

    I think the biggest problem is how poorly people are informed and how little they now seem to know about any economic or political issues, or how that might impact on them and their futures.

    One of the biggest roles of “the media” in the UK is in holding the political machinery to account through public examination of issues, querying and checking any statements made, following up on and testing commitment to issues important to the public. Through putting politics on the front page and keeping it there, ensuring that politicians are answerable to the public for their performance.

    Other than this blog (of limited reach), where now is this political examination evident in our city, for our city, in either quality or quantity?

  4. Liverpool’s creative sector is a joke, inward looking, unimaginative.
    You might not like the flats on Hope Street, you may have preferred the car park but all the independents you like could never have scraped up the money to do anything. It would rot along with Lime Street for another 20 years.
    No one has held the independents back but they have still not achieved the rebirth of Liverpool. The ideal that “a prophet is without honour in his own land” does have some weight in Liverpool belittling everything that does happen but this article is as much a part of that attitude as it is a reaction to it.
    The people who did the creative stuff at the Kasimir will move on to knew things having learnt from what they have done. The ones who moan the loudest will be those who tagged along and have now lost the coat tails the hitched a lift on. The one thing that Liverpool does need is change but the reactionary forces of the cultural sector are just as strong as those in other areas. It is just different things they want stopped.
    BTW Why has no one mentioned that the destroyers of Mello Mello were non other than their fellow independents the Shipping forecast? The idea that independents are in for cooperation is a ludicrous concept.

  5. Jane Nolan

    The Lantern company or such like could not even begin to compete with what Jean Luc produced. That is apparent. However, community based projects are to be welcomed and encouraged.

  6. Geoff Gaskell

    Hope Street “would rot along with Lime Street for another 20 years”….what sort of fresh Council Shill gibberish is this your spewing out now Bradley?…Hope Street was thriving, blossoming and blooming and would have continued to do so before the nondescript and completely inappropriate slab of student pod trash was foisted upon it….we all know you are programmed to slavishly defend every single action performed by your paymasters…but at least put a bit of thought into it eh

  7. I assume you hold shares in the Car Park companies and the companies that rent out the scaffold surrounding other that blights on the city. You wouldn’t know a good building from a bad one, you simple hate everything new or at best.
    I doubt you know anything about anything you just a little automaton that says “nyet nyet” when anything looks like changing. You ancestor were against coming down from the trees and protested against the building you now idolise. Now one ever needs to doubt what you reaction will be nyet nyet.
    Where were when the Futurists closed down hey, where you there of a weekend checking it was water tight, keep the roof in good order, nah you were just complaining others where doing nothing.
    You cannot be programmed you don’t have that degree of freedom a little model with a mechanism to push scraps of paper with nyet written on them.

  8. Following the 2001 Census there was an exercise called “The Census Matching Project for Manchester”. This estimated that 14,000 addresses were omitted from the Census. There was no explanation where these addresses are and no indication who or what was responsible for such a colossal error. Not a single other Local Authority out of the 300 plus in the Country made such an error – presumably because they kept their Census address database updated throughout the decade as part of a maintenance regime. Manchester also take into account people living outside of Manchester’s city boundary. HMG wants Manchester to be No. 2 in the UK and are frigging figure to indicate it is bigger than what it is – until people visit the place of course.

    HMG, the Tories, are dividing and ruling. They pit Liverpool against Manchester and ensure the south east power triangle reigns supreme. Liverpool is desperate for its metro to be extended and especially the dangerously overcrowded Central station – the most used underground station in the UK in passengers per platform. Manchester over the last few decades has had a shed load of money throw at its tram network while Liverpool’s urban metro, the second oldest underground in the world, has had buttons spent on it. To his credit the mayor is talking of building a rail station in one of the disused underground tunnels – without rail lines. This is to lever Whitehall into spending money and laying the rails.

    Liverpool’s mayor said after the HS2 announcement, when Liverpool was omitted from a full full HS2 service, that HS2 was good for Liverpool. Most wondered what world he was in. He is scared stiff of being branded a Derek Hatton for shouting Liverpool’s case. In fact Hatton was right, he fought back, something the mayor should take a lead from…..Letter to the Guardian….

    “In suggesting that Liverpool wanted to “engineer” confrontation with the government in the 1980s, after he praises Kinnock’s mendacious attack on the council in 1985, David Brindle (Report, 11 November) regurgitates the childish notion of so many detractors that Liverpool really didn’t face a crisis but that the “Militant council” just fancied a joust with Thatcher. The reality is different.

    In 1983, Liverpool Labour inherited an appalling social and financial crisis. The defeated Liberal-Tory alliance had budgeted for 2,000 redundancies and unallocated cuts of £10m, about £25m in today’s money. Between 1977 and 1983, 60% of Liverpool’s manufacturing was destroyed; the docks industry had halved; council rents were the highest in the UK outside London. Heseltine had slashed £100m in grants from the council budget; 30,000 families were on the housing waiting list; not a single house for rent had been built by the council in the previous two years.

    We were elected on a programme of defending the city from further degradation and were proud to adopt the slogan of the jailed Poplar councillors that it was “better to break the law than break the poor”. We refused to implement cuts and clawed back funds cut from our budget to build houses, cancel redundancies, create jobs, and decisively improve the living standards of thousands. That is a record to be celebrated. If today’s “Labour” councillors emulated our stance, this current illegitimate government could be compelled to retreat.”

    Tony Mulhearn
    Ex-councillor and Liverpool Labour president

    They fought back and rightly so. A pity the current leadership doe not have the guts of these guys.

    The Centre for Cities? A joke. I stopped them sending me emails along time ago. So do not take these people too serious. They are not a public body.

    Let’s look at the positives. The city is opening up a new container terminal to co-inside with the widening of the Panama Canal. This will attract business to Liverpool, being the only deep water port on that coast. 50% of all containers entering southern ports end up of north of the Midlands. Liverpool is ideal to take this business.

    The city’s tourist industry, especially cruising, is on the up. The city is one the favourite destinations on round Britain cruises. New cruise facilities are needed and there are talks about this. OK nothing so far. Merseyrail is talking of adding new escalators at the far end of the James St underground platforms which will accommodate cruise passengers to the riverfront. The station has a disused platform ideal for cruise passengers direct from Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull, etc.

    The Northern Powerhouse is wanting a new rail line run into Liverpool, which “may” bring the city a dedicated link onto HS2 high-speed rail. But only maybe. But looking good.

    The Baltic Triangle is starting construction and hopefully will attract the tech/art sector business.

    Quality student accommodation is increasing in the city endearing a whole body of influential people.

    But, the city needs a mayor with guts. One who has vision, can see the potential of the city, knows the priorities, shouts to get Whitehall funds and shouts when the city is being mistreated.

  9. So Liverpool’s future is in night clubs and overpriced ‘independent’ shops? There are a few good coffee shops on Bold Street, but only the comfortable middle class can make a habit of going there, and the poor working class (who you so praise in the article) would take one look at the cost of a latte and leave.

    We need high quality, attractive student accommodation to continue to lure students (and their money) into Liverpool. If we move them out of areas like Kensington and Smithdown Road, perhaps we can do up those areas and change the student houses into homes for families. We can rebuild communities.

    The problem with the council is that it is dominated by the Labour Party. Now there’s no doubt that they have a wide range of popular support in Liverpool, but they are grossly overrepresented in the council. PR for local elections (since the councillor-ward link is much less important than the MP-constituency) would really shake up how the city is represented, throw the cat amongst the pidgins and spur some fresh thinking in the council chamber.

  10. That simply not true. Manchester has been aggressively seeking and getting regional government offices for years. Notably Blood Transfusion, VOSA and the Bank of England. In all these cases Manchester’s local office has taken over Liverpool’s role. These transfers have happened under the Tories. It was the Tories who decided HS2 should go to Manchester not Liverpool.

  11. And what about HMRC, which is being expanded in Liverpool? It’s very easy to blame governments of either parties for not continuing to support Liverpool through public sector jobs, but at some point we need to stand on our own feet. If our civil leaders (all Labour) could work with their comrades in Manchester we’d all be better off – but no, personal pettiness and short sightedness gets in the way.

  12. HMRC expansion is mainly the moving of people from its Bootle Office, which is moving them with the LCR.
    In what way has Liverpool refused to work with Manchester? Is what you mean that Liverpool’s hasn’t bowed down and accepted it subordinate to Manchester.
    When Osborne supports Manchester he is effectively supporting his own constituency which is dependent on Manchester.
    Then there is the BBC moves to Manchester, which boot strapped Salford’s Media City.

    You sound more like a Tory voters seeking to defend his party.

  13. “bowed down and accepted it subordinate to Manchester.” it’s that type of language which poisons political debate in the North. Take your blinkers off and see that we all need to work together, rather than fighting with one another for crumbs from the public sector.

  14. But working together is not what is on offer from Manchester or HMG, subordination is, control, power, jobs to Manchester with Liverpool becoming a dormitory town for Manchester, with Manchester sucking the life out tit surrounding area the way London does in the South east.

    Try suggesting to Manchester that Liverpool be the regional capital and they join in and accept it for the good of all and see how far you get. You could suggest Warrington and get the same reaction from both cities, but you choose to blame Liverpool.

  15. I don’t share your pessimistic reading of the politics of the North West – but the best way to stop Liverpool becoming a dormitory town for Manchester is for us to grow and develop. We need strong civic leadership (and to be fair to Joe, Liverpool Labour has done some good stuff) and fewer cllrs who toe the party line.

  16. Outside of London, the largest Asset management business is on Liverpool. The now defunct NW Development Agency cajoled the Bank of New York’s Asset team, Mellon, to locate in Manchester telling them it was all happening there. They did. They could not get the skills locally and many from the Liverpool Region now travel there. The NWDA also put pressure to restrict the size of new office blocks in Liverpool pre the 2008 crash so as not to impact on Manchester’s commerce. True!

    On a level playing field Liverpool would outdo Manchester and always did.

  17. I have never heard Manchester shout loudly that Liverpool should get a dedicated HS2 rail line into the city after being omitted. They went quiet over that. They want something their neighbour is denied to get ahead.

    Amazingly, Liverpool needs the new HS2 line to alleviate rail lines around the port for freight as it is to massively expand with the new Liverpool2 terminal and the biomass facilities. HMG wants freight trucks off the road as much as possible. An efficient port is to the benefits of the whole north of England and beyond, including Manchester. They appear so dumb they can’t see that.

    What Manchester does is their business and good luck to them doing it honestly, but getting ahead by putting your foot into the face of your neighbour is the only way they know how to do it.

  18. “the best way to stop Liverpool becoming a dormitory town for Manchester is for us to grow and develop. ”

    We cannot do that with one hand behind our backs. Please get real.

  19. NWDA was run by the despicable Steven Broomhead, when a staff member offered to withhold FOI data for use in a course case “if it would help to prosecute x”, which would have been a criminal offence, he was quite happy wit their conduct.

  20. He should have been sacked.

    Manchester was the world’s first manufacturing city. Liverpool is a traditional commercial port city. The Tories are hell bent on making the ex mill town a commercial city and depressing the traditional commercial city Liverpool. Going against the grain. Manchester and HMG should be aiming at high-tech manufacturing, their traditional base and what made the city. Liverpool and HMG should be getting Liverpool back full of steam in it commercial activities. None of this makes sense.

  21. The major needs to focus on two prime strategic points:

    1. Expanding transport and primarily the metro.

    2. Expanding the population of the city and incorporating all
    of Knowsley and most of Sefton into the city.

    2. Getting Liverpool Waters finished to a high specification
    reflecting the maritime history of the city.

    The Mayor needs to understand what makes large cities tick and what enables them to expand and attract business and professional people. All major cities in the world have excellent transport networks, predominately rail. They all have underground mass transit/rapid transit rail networks in the centres and even beyond. Underground rail mean the stations pop up in the centres of districts with not surface lines interrupting surface traffic flow or dividing districts. People in the world’s major cities use them to travel around the centre of cities from station to station. They are essential. Most of London’s budget goes on transport infrastructure. There is the key

    Hey presto! Liverpool has one. It is called Merseyrail the most used urban rail network outside London. One third of it was cancelled after work started in the 1970s. The trackbeds and tunnels are still there awaiting track and trains. This is where the mayor should give great focus. To get the Merseyrail metro finished, modernised and expanded. The mayor also needs to get transport links into North Wales via Dee tunnel. That means working with Cardiff.

    Liverpool was laid out in the early 1900s to hold a population of around 2 million people, hence the radiating boulevards that had trams in the central reservations. The current city area is larger than Paris. The city is the most central in the UK. It is the easiest city to expand. Do Whitehall know about this.

    Two cities the size of Birmingham are needed in Britain to cope with extra immigrants, mainly from the EU, in the next 15-20 years. The city can take much of this immigrant overflow, meaning and expanded metro is essential to the city. So maybe the city centre will expand rather than move towards the waterfront and not leave London Road a desolate peripheral district. All the easily recommissioned rail and road infrastructure is there awaiting with large projects like Liverpool and Wirral Waters. The reserved rail infrastructure must be used for the local Merseyrail metro as the city expands. The city could easily balloon in size and cope. The government will need to invest in the city to encourage industry, as it did in London, to accommodate the population expansion.

    The mayor needs to understand this, I doubt he does, and push Whitehall to expand the city and cope with the influx. However the city does not need to be a dumping ground for third world asylum seekers. The city needs good, honest hard working people. A second foreign influx could be in the making, after the one that made the city initially.

  22. Merseyrail is not a Metro it is a classic Urban/Suburban rail system, you don’t seem to understand the difference. No one would want to travel Liverpool to Preston or Wigan on a metro the light weight carriages make the ride unpleasant.

    Your last paragraph is racists bigotry .

  23. “So Liverpool’s future is in night clubs and overpriced ‘independent’ shops? There are a few good coffee shops on Bold Street, but only the comfortable middle class can make a habit of going there, and the poor working class (who you so praise in the article) would take one look at the cost of a latte and leave.”

    Those coffee shops are there because the business is there and thank God they are there adding value to the city. The problem with Liverpool pre and post war was that it was changed into a large council house estate. The private sector were largely eliminated from the city centre and its surrounds. The city took over and dominated driven by its council house agenda – one encouraged by Whitehall, referring to home as units.

    The city needs to move upmarket to improve its image. The city needs to vastly reduce the fast-food eat on the street chip shops and betting shops in the city centre giving a downmarket image. 40 years ago the city was not defaced with these outlets.

  24. Eliminating Bold St coffee shops will not solve the non-existent problem either. Visitors to the city centre need somewhere decent to go. They can’t all go to chip shops and cheap greasy cafs.

    The great thing about Liverpool city centre over the last 10 years or so is that the middle class started to use the place for leisure not just a work place. Prior it was a no go zone for them with little to attract them with far too many low class yobs marauding the central streets.

    The average Londoner is largely priced out of the West End and always has been. The same in Paris, Tokyo, Milan, etc. Those with limited funds find place to go to suit their pocket. Nothing new in that.

    Having a vibrant city centre , with great night life. that attracts people from other cities and countries is a great thing. Get this class nonsense out of your head. Look around the world.

    You sound like a pensioner. Another problem for Liverpool. Far too many old people in the city.

  25. I don’t care what train spotters call Merseyrail, it is a metro and underground in the centres of Liverpool and Birkenhead. Like many other metro I have been on. London has a metro, the Underground with similar heavy carriages as Merseyrail. Merseyrail does not reach Preston. Get the points I am making the network needs expanding into whatever name you like to call to call it.

    You have an odd idea of racism – the grey vote. Where is the racist bigotry?

  26. You don’t
    care about any of the technicalities of your expensive and ill thought out
    idea. The Underground Carriages are not heavy weight and it is not referred to
    as a metro. You been kicked of just about every site from Wikipedia down for
    your constants mangled use of terminology.

    The point is that Preston is one of the targets for expansion and always has

    This is obviously racists. “However the city does not need to be a dumping
    ground for third world asylum seekers. The city needs good, honest hard working

  27. Your comments are showing you to be quite the snob. Just because London etc price their average citizens out of areas doesn’t mean Liverpool should aspire to do the same.

    This isn’t a form of class warfare, it’s just basic fairness. Liverpool city centre should cater to the whole of Liverpool, not just those who have done well in line.

    I’m not sure why anyone should listen to your prescriptions though, when you think pensioners are a ‘problem’. Hopefully you’ll be a pensioner one day, I wonder if you’ll see yourself as a problem…

  28. You are the one going on about class. The city was for far too long a low market destination with a predominate football tag to it. Look around at what highly successful cities do elsewhere in Europe. I have been to them all. The mayor needs to follow them.

    The problem with Liverpool is that there are not enough young, bright people to propel the city forwards; people with energy and vision. Not those who cry the coffee is too expensive in Bold St. They have to be drawn in from elsewhere, even other parts of the EU to add cultural value to give the city image and appeal. . That was quite obvious from what I have been writing. You are a pensioner then.

  29. I am not into train spotting. I do know that Merseyrail cars are heavy rail and that it does not reach Preston.

    If yon think this is racist, “However the city does not need to be a dumping ground for third world asylum seekers. The city needs good, honest hard working people”, you need your head testing. Are you another pensioner?

  30. You have point. Far too many prime sites in the city centre are given over to students. If Lime Street in front of St.George’s Hall was pedestrianised and the whole area made into a proper square (Liverpool does not have one), then the old North Western Hotel, the châteaux styled building, can then be viable as a hotel again, as happened at St.Pancras in London when HS2 was run into the station. The hotel will have a metro station yards away and right opposite a copy of the Parthenon. As the city centre expand the students have to be moved elsewhere for major revenue earning activities. Building permanent student accommodation complexes in the city centre is madness, like building on the Post Office sorting office site on the side of Lime Street station.

  31. You can have energy and vision and also think £5 a coffee is a con. As for being a pensioner… I’m 23. I’m probably the type of person you want to attract (back) to Liverpool – well educated, aspirational, and wanting the best for both my family and my city, willing to look at new solutions to old problems and free of the ideological dogma that’s held Liverpool back in the past.

    You keep looking down your nose at the poorer people in our city and I’ll keep pushing for a city that offers something to everyone regardless of income.

  32. I do not look down my nose at poor people. We need to attract richer people. At 23 yo cannot remember how bad the place was in the 1980s . The city got a working class tag, when much of it was not. What because they owned the city centre as such.

    No one put a gun at your head and forced you into the Bold St coffee shop. You can always walk by and go to cheap caff. You are aspirational? Wow. Learn from others who have been around the world.

  33. I note you haven’t answered the question. You been kicked of many sites mainly because you don’t seem to know what you are talking and just go along ignoring people.
    You cannot comprehend what you write and are just a general purpose bigot and are rather slow intellectually and to slow to realise it.
    I remember one of you other arguments that HS2 was unneeded because light weight Wankel engine would power person aircraft the only minor problem being you couldn’t understand that the lack of fuel efficiency of the Wankel means that the extra fuel you have to carry would more than make up for the light weight engine.

    You go variously by the names John Burns Morgan and John Burns, you claim to be something of an economists but evidence is scarce. You know nothing about engineering of any form but keep ignoring the opinions of those that do. Simple knowing something about engineering makes the speaker a “train spotter” of course economists have made such a great impact on the world building bridges, road, railways they ones who should be listened to after all look at their flawless record on the economy,

  34. “light weight Wankel engine would power person aircraft the only minor problem being you couldn’t understand that the lack of fuel efficiency of the Wankel means that the extra fuel you have to carry would more than make up for the light weight engine.”

    A council office worker knows all about propulsion now. LOL! Wankel engines are used in about half the drones flying about. When they are run at a “constant speed” at their most efficient sweet spot they are superior in fuel consumption to piston engines and one third of the size and weight with a far higher power/weight ratio, so ideal for planes and small cars. Mazda have a prototype hybrid car with electric traction motors and a Wankel genset. Anyone who knows about engine development would know that. In fact in 2013 a hybrid plane with an electric propeller flew for the first time using a Wankel in the genset. Go to wiki on the Wankel. Which many engineers refer to. I wrote about a third of it. 😉

    What colour is your anorak?

  35. Geoff Gaskell

    That’s a great idea…that location is – and has always been – the natural gathering place for Liverpool’s citizens….and it’s criminal that such a majestic building as the old Lime Street Station Hotel is being wasted as student digs….the building and that area deserves so much more

  36. Open spaces have been slowly and deliberately eroded. The city and wider powers that be always feared Liverpool would erupt if the people organised. Similar with other port and industrial cities. The civil disturbances in 1911 and in the 1919 police strike when the Royal Navy trained guns on the north end of the city put the fear of God in them.

    In the olden days people communicated in open spaces, which were were slowly taken apart. Clayton Square and other squares are examples. Yet the powers that be in Continental countries never had this phobia of the working masses encouraging squares as social necessities.

  37. chris jones

    I’ve lived in Tuebrook all my life…and that doesn’t make me a loser…I’ve worked 40 years and own my own home. We’re 4 miles from the river and just 3 miles from the cultural riches of William Brown Street but the neglect of Tuebrook by Labour has been horrendous. ( Where’s the Christmas trees for the kids, like they have up County Road, Joe ?) If it wasn’t for our longstanding, hardworking Councillor, we’d have hit the skids decades ago.

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