What happened to projects planned for Liverpool five years ago (2024)

The last five years have felt like a long time for us all.

We’ve faced a global pandemic, elections, turmoil and we’re now coming to the end of the Parliamentary term as we go to the polls next month. That is just nationally, of course.

Liverpool has been through its fair share of challenges and changes since 2019. From political shake-ups to major international events, our city looks very different from the one about to enter the 2020s.

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Or does it? What happened to the major projects earmarked to reshape Liverpool just five long, or short depending on your point of view, years ago.

Bixteth Street Gardens

If you’re new to Moorfields or the surrounding areas, you would be forgiven for not knowing there was once a green space there. Among the imposing office buildings, historic pubs and increasing numbers of coffee shops once stood tree and park land in the heart of the working district.

That was until the £4.2m plan to create more office space was set up in Bixteth Street Gardens. Black hoardings blocking off the site were put up as trees were felled at the start of preparatory work.

And then, nothing.

The boards - which bare the moniker of the Mayor of Liverpool as an indication of the pace of change - remain up with weeds overgrowing them. Progress has stalled with no sign of work around Pall Mall.

Last June, a spokesperson for developers Kier said: “Following the covid pandemic we have been working hard with the partnership to bring forward the commercial scheme. They added: “We appreciate the history and interest with Bixteth Street Gardens and can confirm that once the space is redeveloped we will be creating a new and improved green space for local people, at the heart of the development.”

For now though, the wait goes on.

George Henry Lee’s

For years, the historic former department store has stood vacant after Rapid Hardware closed its doors for the final time in 2018.

In October last year, Landlab Developments Ltd secured planning permission from Liverpool Council to transform the former George Henry Lee building on Basnett Street into a 175-bed hotel and casino. It was hoped the firm, which lists its registered office location as Mossley Hill, would deliver the venue under the Accor Mama Shelter brand.

However, according to an update on Companies House, the developer has fallen into receivership, placing the renovations in jeopardy. When planning permission was secured last autumn, it had been hoped contractors could begin work almost immediately.

This has now seemingly stalled, with London-based Antony Batty & Company appointed as the official receiver. Applying for such an option is an insolvency move in which a bank or lender takes control of the company to recover their debt.

Martin’s Bank building

Never mind five years, delays have set back progress at the Water Street site since 2009. The 210,000 sq ft site was due to be transformed by the end of this year having remained vacant for 15 years.

Much like Bixteth Street Gardens, it is also bordered by large barriers to the exterior with progress seemingly slow on any work to repurpose the building into a 215 room hotel. During the city’s filming boom, the site has served as a backdrop for a number of major international projects.

According to the building’s own website, developers want to create a work, social and restaurant space off Water Street but whether 2024 will be the year, remains to be seen.

Festival Gardens

Having been underused and left dilapidated for years, the huge waterfront green space was bought by Liverpool Council for £6m almost a decade ago. In 2019, the local authority secured government funding to help prepare the ground for future housing.

Over the past two years, more than 400,000 cubic metres of soil and waste has been removed from the Festival Gardens development zone, land that was used as a public waste deposit facility for more than 30 years. Last August, a 24-acre recreational space called Southern Grasslands opened for the first time as a result of a huge remediation programme to prepare the neighbouring site for new homes.

Situated three miles south of Liverpool city centre and walking distance from St Michael's Merseyrail station, Southern Grasslands is the largest transformed green space to open in the city this century and is almost five times as big as Chavasse Park in Liverpool One.

Liverpool Council’s principal contractor, VINCI Building, began work to transform the former landfill site and Southern Grasslands in early 2021. The mammoth excavation programme has also included an additional £6m programme of ground infrastructure works to lay drainage and construct a substation to provide power supply for the future development.

The package of works has been jointly funded by Liverpool Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Homes England and OFGEM.

Kier Construction and Lendlease were contacted for comment.

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What happened to projects planned for Liverpool five years ago (2024)
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