Liverpool City Council is to produce a masterplan to boost the city’s “Beatles Quarter” and develop its global tourism appeal.
A report to the council Cabinet next Friday (April 20) is recommending the city creates a Spatial Regeneration Framework (SRF) for the area around Mathew Street, home of the world famous Cavern Club, that will enable to council to control future use of buildings and attract new investment.
The Cavern Quarter SRF, which will be tendered following cabinet approval, will be accompanied by a new vision which will aim to enhance the quality of attractions and build on the city’s £90m a year Beatles Heritage industry which currently supports 2,335 jobs.
The masterplan, which is expected to go out to public consultation in the Autumn and would include giving the city council Compulsory Purchase powers, will be guided by the findings of a scrutiny panel established in 2016 which carried out an independent review of the area and recommended:
- A more diverse mix of complimentary uses of buildings that operate 24-hours a day
- An enhanced and more coordinated Beatles tourism offer with new visitor attractions and information/interpretation points
- The redevelopment of derelict, under-used and undesirable sites
- A comprehensive public art strategy for the ‘Cavern Quarter’
- A way-finding strategy to make the ‘Cavern Quarter’ more legible and permeable
- Active ground floor uses to create a more vibrant and inviting environment
- Create a more defined and useable public open space
The report comes as figures show Liverpool’s hotel sector is also booming, with occupancy levels now at a record breaking levels, and the number of hotel rooms across the city set to grow by 14% to more than 9,300 over the next two years.
A recent economic impact report found that the city’s Beatles related industry has been growing at 5-15% a year following the city’s year as European Capital of Culture in 2008 with Cavern City Tours and the Cavern Club now attracting 800,000 visitors per annum and 80% of the Hard Day’s Night Hotel guests classed as international.
But the Cabinet report also states visitors are increasingly looking for a quality experiential visit and there is a clear need to curate a Beatles Heritage offer to cater for this growing demand.
Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, who has also created a Beatles Legacy group, said: “The Beatles are known the world over and not just by those who grew up with them, new audiences are discovering their music all the time and wanting to learn about the bands roots.
“The fact is we have a good Beatles tourism offer but it’s not at the level it could and should be – one that has a world class wow factor that reflects the band’s timeless genius and global impact.
“A lot of progress has been made in the past decade and this new masterplan will seek to build on that and give us the tools to enhance the 24 hour appeal of the area around The Cavern and Mathew Street.
“This is a unique opportunity to establish an experience no other city can offer and one which will sustain thousands of jobs in the hotel, retail and hospitality sectors for generations to come.”
Bill Addy, chief executive, Liverpool BID Company, and member of the Beatles Legacy group, said: “Speaking on behalf of our levy payers within the Cavern Quarter there is a real appetite to further improve the visitor offer in this iconic area.
“We know that there has already been much private sector investment over the years. It’s now about all of us working together to capitalise on this, maximise the Cavern Quarter’s potential and create an even more vibrant destination that visitors will want to return to again and again.
“The Cavern Quarter is one of the city’s key assets and its role in the history of rock and roll should never be underplayed.”
The SRF will also aim to create a safer and more economically viable environment in the Cavern Quarter, which has a boundary encompassing Victoria Street and North John Street to Lord Street and Stanley Street.
Once the draft SRF is produced it would then be subject to a formal consultation period that will be undertaken over a period of six weeks. The feedback will influence the final draft of the document before the city council considers whether to formally adopt it.
Liverpool City Council recently produced and endorsed an SRF for the Ten Streets Creativity District and is currently tendering the production of further SRF’s for the expansion of The Baltic Triangle and the Knowledge Quarter Gateway.