Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet is set to approve the £1.8m purchase of 4.64 hectares (11.47 acres) of land, known as the MTL site, next to the former Littlewoods HQ which will soon be home to the new ‘Liverpool Film Studios’.
That multi-million project will be built by developer Capital & Centric which has planning permission to develop the 250,000 sq ft scheme with work expected to begin this summer.
It is envisaged the MTL site, owned by Homes England (formally known as the Homes and Community Agency) will become the heart of the media and creative industry in the city and will deliver comprehensive regeneration, job creation and promote further investment across the Central Liverpool Mayoral Development Zone.
The MTL site, which is also part of Liverpool Innovation Park on Edge Lane, is considered key to any potential future expansion of the studios and has been earmarked for Phase 3 of the development which once completed would be a comprehensive creative and digital media campus of national significance.
Liverpool is already the UK’s most filmed city outside of London last year alone and the award winning Liverpool Film Office recorded its busiest ever year in 2017 with 289 film and TV projects shot here, resulting in a massive 1,359 filming days which generated a £11.1million boost to the local economy.
Productions included both silver screen hits such as the BAFTA nominated Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool and the Emmy nominated Broken as well as TV favourites from BBC Two’s award winning Peaky Blinders and A House Through time to Channel 4’s One Born Every Minute documentary.
Early indications show 2018 is going to be yet another strong year for the city with the hotly anticipated TV adaption of War of The Worlds by Mammoth Screen for BBC already confirmed to film later in the spring and there’s a huge amount of anticipation around ‘City and The City’ which stars homegrown TV star David Morrissey and is due to hit the small screen later this year.
The city council has also identified the site as critical to the development of Liverpool’s ‘Television, Film and Digital Media Infrastructure’ in order to attract further inward investment, support the local creative industry, generate additional economic activity and employment and create wider benefits including enhanced image and improved skills.
The studios, which lies just two miles from the city centre, would also provide a huge boost to the city’s creative and digital hub in the Baltic Triangle and the emerging creativity district in the Ten Streets are to to the north of the city centre.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, who is championing Liverpool’s bid to be the new home for Channel 4, said: “Liverpool’s digital and film industry has reached a tipping point where a major film studio would complete our world class offer and supercharge our plans to create one of Europe’s leading creative centres.
“We have unbelievably talented writers, actors, directors, technical crews and programmers, our Film Office and locations are second to none, and now with the Liverpool Film Studios we will soon have the very best in green screen filming and editing suites.
“This is a growing multi-million pound industry with the potential to deliver hundreds of highly skilled jobs and the purchase of the MTL site ensures the future growth of these studios and is a major statement of intent to cement our reputation as the Hollywood of the North.”
John Moffat, of CAPITAL&CENTRIC, said: “We’re well on our way to delivering a world-class filming destination for the UK, with one of Liverpool’s most iconic buildings at its heart.
“This is an important milestone in securing the land for our work at Littlewoods, where we’ll mix heritage and new build development to form a creative hub for the North. Demand for the space has blown us away and we can’t wait to announce our first residents in the coming months.”