News | 18/10/19

Consultation to begin on Mersey music masterplan

A public consultation on a masterplan aimed at transforming the epicentre of Liverpool’s musical heritage is to begin next week.

Starting on Monday, 21 October the public will be invited to give their views on a draft Spatial Regeneration Framework (SRF) for the Cavern Quarter, including Mathew Street – home of the world famous music venues the Cavern Club and Eric’s, and nearby Williamson Square.

The draft SRF contains a range of recommendations to help attract new investment and to enable the council to steer the future use of existing buildings in the area. The document aims to address a recent tourism report that called for the city to curate a clearer proposition around Liverpool’s pivotal role in the story of popular and contemporary music.

A UNESCO City of Music, Liverpool’s music heritage industry – which is centred around The Beatles – is now worth more than £90m a year, but the tourism report found visitors are increasingly looking for a quality experiential visit.

The Cavern Quarter/Williamson Square draft SRF has been approved by Liverpool City Council’s cabinet and as part of the five week long consultation, a series of events will be held for the public to ask questions on the proposals and recommendations.

The public events will be held on:

• Thursday 24 October 10-3pm One-Stop Shop, St Johns Market
• Friday 8 November 10-3pm One-Stop Shop, St Johns Market
• Tuesday 19 November 2-5pm at RIBA North, Mann Island

The draft SRF will also be available to read online at www.liverpool.gov.uk/cavernwilliamson and will be accompanied by a questionnaire to garner feedback.

The public consultation will close on Friday, 22 November after which the responses will be reviewed to inform an updated version of the draft SRF. This revised version will then be presented back to Liverpool City Council’s cabinet for endorsement.

After final approval it will be used to guide all future planning applications within the area. It will eventually become a Spatial Planning Document when Liverpool’s Local Plan is formally adopted in Autumn 2020.

WHAT’S IN THE DRAFT SRF?:

The Cavern Quarter/Williamson Square draft SRF makes a number of recommendations across three specific zones:

Cavern Quarter
– Enhance the area’s daytime offer and resist proposals for further bars and nightclubs.
– Re-purposing upper floors and specific support for music related businesses
– Enhance the quality and mix of attractions related to the city’s music, culture and heritage to promote a multi offer experience to visitors
– Upgrade gateways into the Cavern Quarter
– Activate key nodes within the quarter, which offer opportunities for events and public art
– Restore and enhance the character of the area including improving street furniture and building facades
– Animate blank walls and surfaces as part of a wider art and digital strategy

Whitechapel
– Enhance the approach to Williamson Square and the Cavern Quarter via a mix of new public art, trees, lighting, balanced street principles and improved wayfinding
– Develop a strategy to celebrate and interpret the street as the original “pool of Liverpool”

Williamson Square
– Re-design the square to include flexible performance space and enhanced public realm including seating and planting
– Refurbishment or redevelopment of the St Johns extension building to improve the northern elevation of the square
– Consider re-development of Dawson Street site if the taxi rank can be successfully relocated
– Enhance the Playhouse’s presence on the square – spill out areas, programme of events
– Activate the façade of the vacant Marks & Spencer building

The draft SRF also suggests creating Stakeholder Boards to assist in delivering a programme of events and activities and states that funding could come from a variety of sources be it via Section 106, city region grants and the European funded Urban GreenUP programme.

Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, who has also created a Beatles Legacy group, said: “Liverpool’s musical heritage is an asset of global significance. This draft masterplan presents an opportunity for the city to examine how we establish an experience which reflects and celebrates that unique offer. I welcome these proposals and look forward to the public’s thoughts and feedback.”

Peter Hooton, Chair of The Beatles Legacy Group, said: “Mathew St is undoubtedly one of the most famous streets in the world, being the cradle of British pop music and home to historic venues like The Cavern and Eric’s. This masterplan is an important step to ensuring the area continues to thrive and is a memorable, quality experience for both visitors and locals. That is why it is so important that the public engage in this consultation in order to shape the future and enhance the city’s music, culture and heritage offer.”

Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company, which represents 1,500 businesses in Liverpool city centre, and chair of the Liverpool Visitor Economy Network (LVEN), said: “Liverpool is renowned around the world as a pop culture epicentre but as a city there is always more we can do to improve the visitor offer to ensure our rich history shines through. It is key that businesses, employees and locals are part of the process of writing the next chapter for these distinctive areas in Liverpool city centre and I’m sure this public consultation will go a long way towards doing just that.”

Fiona Gibson, Interim Chief Executive of Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatres, said: “The Playhouse has stood on Williamson Square for over 100 years and the history of both are inextricably linked. It’s our home, and we want our home to be a fun and welcoming place – a space for people to linger, be creative, enjoy; a destination for socialising and celebrating the rich tapestry that is Liverpool’s cultural heritage. This will only happen if the Playhouse square feels alive. We see this draft SRF as a tremendous opportunity to bring theatre and its power to inspire inside and outside of our doors, spilling out onto the square and its surrounding areas; being a stage in its own right, where the people can tell tales of Liverpool, and create their own stories for the city’s next vibrant chapter.

 

NOTES:

The draft SRF was created by a team led by regeneration experts team P-IE (Planit Intelligent Environments). The team included: Arup (Planners); Fourth Street Consulting (Destination Development and Economics); GVA (Property); Dave Pichilingi (Music History and event planning) and Rob Burns (Heritage).

Liverpool City Council has recently produced and endorsed an SRF for the Ten Streets Creativity District and is currently in the midst of refining further SRF’s for the Upper Central area of the city centre, as as well as the expansion of the Baltic Triangle and the Commercial District.