I would like to take a minute to comment on the recent designs of the proposed redevelopment of Lime Street.
I am very proud of Liverpool, as someone who has lived here my whole life, bringing up my children and grandchildren here, I take great pleasure in watching the City grow and develop every day.
Every day I sing our praises to people all over the world, encourage people to move here, work here, invest here. I have complete faith that Liverpool can do all the talking and that once people are here to see it for themselves, they will fall in love just like everyone else – of that I have no doubt.
However, as in life, first impressions can be absolutely crucial, and if I am honest, as far as first impressions go, walking out of Lime Street does our great city a massive injustice – I am not happy with people forming an opinion on the City based on what they are met with as they walk out of the Station.
There is no doubt that it has improved over the years but there is still a long way to go. The situation as it stands means that we are facing an uphill struggle based on an unflattering strip in which initial opinions will be formed. I want people to arrive at Lime Street and immediately understand who we are and what we are about. I want them to step off the train and not want to get back on.
That is why I made it a priority to address that first impression and take a hard look at blight that is Lime Street.
It is no secret that I was bitterly disappointed with the original designs which appeared earlier this year. I voiced my concerns and urged developers to go back to the drawing board.
A City of Liverpool’s calibre deserves only the best. We are a thriving, creative, exciting place to be; a place that appeals to the rest of the world. It is absolutely vital that the gateway to the City reflects our ambitions. The soulless designs in March simply didn’t do that but I am delighted to see the latest designs and would certainly welcome them as a fitting a gateway to our great City.
I would like to take this opportunity thank the Futurist Campaigners for working closely and constructively with the Council. Their passion was unquestionable and their constructive contribution moving forward was a great example of how campaigners can work hand in hand with the council for the benefit of the City.
The campaigners will understand, like many others, that heritage is hugely important to this City and that we will always do what we can to save and embrace what is essentially our DNA. That is why we have been working tirelessly to address our buildings at risk and bring so many back into life.
We have made a significant difference over the last few years, so much so that by the end of 2016, our buildings at risk figures will be at 2.6%, which is less than half the national average of 6-7% and significantly lower than the 5.3% it was in 2009, but we won’t stop there. We will work to bring that number down even more, we will continue to monitor the condition of all our historic buildings year on year, something most authorities really struggle with but we do so to ensure our past a big part of our future.
But sometimes it is just impossible to salvage the unsalvageable, which has been the case with the Futurist. I would’ve loved to have rescued The Futurist and had it operating again but the damage was just too much. The entire structure is completely derelict – huge gaping holes in the roof are even visible on Google Earth!
But, by working closely with the community and the campaigners I am happy that the latest designs from Neptune Developments have been able to pay a significant homage to the Futurist and the heritage of Lime Street.
A drastic change is overdue for Lime Street, there is no doubt about it. I welcome these latest visions and hope to now move forward for a better Lime Street for us all.