15-year masterplan for regeneration of Liverpool’s Islington gateway
Source: Liverpool Echo
Liverpool's Islington district is in line for a multi-million pound facelift over the next decade.
There are plans to transform up to 1.5m square metres of land with hotels, houses and offices in a bid to revamp one of the main routes into the city.
The council and developer Downing hope that the growing demand for high-quality student accommodation and the need for homes for ‘key workers’ like nurses and doctors will help stimulate the project.
If successful, the masterplan will contribute towards a complete rebirth of the district, which is also in line for a £400m-plus rebuild of the Royal hospital.
Council divisional development manager Peter Skates said: “We’ve found our way through the difficulties and we think there’s enough confidence in this market now.
“These are still challenging times but I think there is an opportunity to get momentum back into the development of Islington.”
The plans, originally conceived in 2005, were shelved in 2007, when it became difficult to raise finance for the scheme because of the credit crunch.
And for businesses already trading in the area, the lack of regeneration was accompanied by lack of custom and falling sales.
Tom Boardman, of the Furniture Factory in Devon Street – which is in line for redevelopment as student accommodation – said: “It’s definitely suffered from under-investment round here.
“A lot of places have closed down. At one time it was quite busy round here but now there’s no footfall, it became quiet about five or six years ago and got gradually worse.”
Council cabinet member for regeneration Cllr Malcolm Kennedy said: “This scheme stalled under the previous administration and we’ve been looking to work with businesses to re-start it.
“This is an increasingly important area for growth for the city.”
The plan is to phase the development so that businesses whose premises are required can be relocated until the new developments are built.
Although the project will take up to 15 years, it is anticipated that the first works in Devon Street could begin within the year, with a hotel on the corner of Islington and Norton Street to follow.
A Downing spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Islington master plan key to quality of development
The plan for the multi-million pound regeneration of Islington was progressing well before it became one of the many development victims of the credit crunch.
Now it has been re-started under the Labour administration, the council wants to make sure there is an overall master plan for the area because the quality of “sporadic”, independent developments would not be up to scratch.
A report to go before cabinet tomorrow states: “The area is currently economically active, although the uses are generally discount retailing and warehousing and storage for the textile trade.
“In addition to this, there have been sporadic new developments.
“It is, however, appreciated that to maximise the potential of this area and to ensure the redevelopment is appropriately targeted and regulated, there is a need to look at this area on a wider basis.
“In the absence of this comprehensive and integrated approach it is likely that the ad hoc approach, delivering development of only medium quality, will continue.”