Guest Viewpoint: Future-proofing Liverpool’s waterfront
In June 2018, Royal Albert Dock Liverpool secured the prestigious Royal title, granted by Her Majesty The Queen in recognition of the pivotal role the Dock continues to play in the fortunes of Liverpool. This was part of the plans we had visioned for how we would communicate the Dock’s 175 strategy, which we launched in 2016, counting up to a year of celebration in 2021 – 175 years since the Dock was officially opened by Albert, Prince Consort in 1846.
Anniversaries are really powerful in mobilising activation and making big things happen. Over the next three years we aim to assert the Dock’s position as a world-class, leisure destination for the visitors of tomorrow, and a heritage asset that needs to be preserved and protected for future generations. Make no mistake, this is about future-proofing the Dock as a vibrant place for businesses to thrive and for visitors to return and discover new and exciting things here. Receiving Royal status endorses this ambitious vision and elevates the Dock’s position in the visitor economy, in a Liverpool City Region context, nationally and internationally.
Later this year the Dock welcomes international artist Ugo Rondinone with his first public artwork in the UK. Liverpool Mountain is a striking, ten-metre-high sculpture of rocks stacked vertically, painted in different fluorescent colours. Forming a key element in our place-making strategy, we are partnering with Liverpool Biennial and Tate Liverpool on this Liverpool 2018 project, supported by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, to bring this colourful piece of public art to the Dock.
2019 will see the first major new building on the Dock in a very long time as the Welcome Pavilion comes out of the ground – a stunning piece of architecture by K2 Architects which will be used as a welcome and heritage interpretation space. Realising the Welcome Pavilion is the first part of a masterplan developed by landscape architects, Planit-IE, for the future development of the Dock site. It will strengthen links between the city centre, the Dock and the surrounding area, and importantly communicate the heritage narrative of this iconic site. Combine that with the investment that is being made on the inner quay by the commercial landlords to improve frontages and the retail and leisure mix, and the Dock is in a very strong position to ensure it is fit for purpose for the future.
Royal Albert Dock Liverpool – home to the largest group of Grade I listed buildings in the country – is proud to be a key asset of Liverpool’s thriving UNESCO World Heritage Waterfront.
When I became chair of Liverpool Waterfront Business Partnership in 2012, the footprint of Liverpool’s regenerated waterfront was the area from Kings Dock and Princes Dock. This of course is no longer the case, and over the next five years we will see a transformed and expanding waterfront, encompassing all that lies between Festival Park in the south and Peel’s Liverpool Waters scheme to the north, including Everton Football Club’s proposed new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, the wider Ten Streets Liverpool Spatial Regeneration Framework (SRF), and the new Cruise Liner Terminal, set to open in 2020.
With this in mind, it is vital that both Royal Albert Dock Liverpool and Liverpool Waterfront Business Partnership is geared up to respond to this ever-changing landscape and the growing needs of the city region’s visitor economy.
Chief Executive, Royal Albert Dock Liverpool
Chair and Director of Liverpool Waterfront Business Partnership