Liverpool welcomes £55m brownfield housing boost

Liverpool City Council is set to receive a £55m investment boost from Homes England to accelerate the regeneration of Liverpool’s historic northern docklands.  

Liverpool’s Central Docks is earmarked to be transformed from a disused brownfield site into a state-of-the-art neighbourhood

Liverpool’s Central Docks is earmarked to be transformed from a disused brownfield site into a state-of-the-art neighbourhood

A report to the Council’s Cabinet next Tuesday (16 July) is recommending the council enters into an agreement with Homes England to accept Brownfield Infrastructure Land (BIL) grant funding.

The public funding relates to Central Docks, the largest neighbourhood within Liverpool Waters, and the city’s largest brownfield site. The site, owned by waterside regeneration specialists Peel Waters, is projected to unlock more than £500m in private investment.

Leader of Liverpool City Council, Cllr Liam Robinson, said: “This new funding from Homes England will help transform one of the country’s major brownfield sites and act as a huge economic catalyst for north Liverpool.

“I was delighted to hear the new Chancellor cite Liverpool Waters as a key scheme in her first speech in the Treasury. Liverpool City Council stands ready to help deliver that mission to unlock our brownfield sites to kickstart a new era of house building.“The Central Docks scheme has the potential to be a true flagship scheme of what can be achieved by a partnership between central and local government and the private sector.

“A huge amount of work has gone into our draft waterfront plan and housing strategy and it’s exciting to see such a key scheme getting ready to be delivered. Its success would mark a new decade of delivery this city deserves.”

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Britain is under new management and, in just a few days, we are already starting to see the difference. Working hand in hand with government at a national, regional and local level we can make an enormous difference and drive growth locally.

“The development of Central Docks, alongside the ongoing work to regenerate Bramley Moore and Bootle, has the potential to be a catalyst for growth and wider regeneration for great swathes of South Sefton and North Liverpool, creating jobs and attracting investment.

“The Central Docks site was identified in the Liverpool Strategic Advisory Panel’s final report as a site for potential development. The £55m we’ve received is an enormous statement of intent – on top of the £31m we secured for the city back in March.

“I’d like to pay tribute to the late Sir Howard Bernstein for all the support and expertise he brought to the Panel’s work.”

Homes England Chief Executive, Peter Denton, said: “I am beyond pleased to see continued progress at Central Docks as part of the city’s clear vision to completely regenerate Liverpool Waters for the people it serves.

“The provision of funding and expertise, as part of a long-term partnership with the council, the Mayor and the wider sector, is exactly what Homes England is here to do – supporting local places aiming to unlock the potential for change, growth and the creation of sustainable, vibrant communities.”

Councillor Nick Small, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Development, said: “Peel Waters’ Central Docks scheme is hugely ambitious and will transform this historic disused dockland into an amazing new neighbourhood in keeping with our iconic waterfront.

“The creation of 2,350 new homes, with supporting community facilities, a new park, cycle lanes, green streets and rain gardens, as well as the new businesses it would attract, will be a phenomenal boost to the city’s economy and environment. It would act as a beacon for what housing developments in this country in the 21st century can and should be.”

Chris Capes, Director of Development for Peel Waters, commented: “Central Docks will deliver thousands of new homes, alongside commercial, retail, leisure and community infrastructure and public spaces over the next ten years.

“However, the practicalities of developing brownfield sites are always a challenge for investors and developers, and so innovation and partnerships are essential to drive forward the regeneration we all want to see.

“Investment in this critical infrastructure will help lever in at least ten times the amount in private sector funding, leading to the complete transformation of the Central Docks neighbourhood and the creation of an inclusive, distinctive and healthy new community.”

The Central Docks scheme includes the establishment of a public park and vital infrastructure to accommodate approximately 2,350 new homes.

The funding for this site, which is subject to final approval from HM Treasury, comes just a week after Rachel Reeves MP, referenced the scheme in her first speech as Chancellor of the Exchequer in which she set out the new Government’s commitment to unlock stalled housing schemes.

The Central Docks scheme was also identified by the Liverpool Strategic Futures Panel, chaired by Mayor Steve Rotheram, and forms part of Liverpool’s ambitious 20-year plan for the whole of its iconic waterfront.

Liverpool City Council has also made a similar brownfield site commitment in its draft housing strategy, currently subject to a public consultation, which supports the delivery of 2,000 new homes every year to 2030 and to double the number of affordable homes across the city.

Peel Waters has stated that the key infrastructure within the 10.5 hectare scheme, which would comprise of utilities, thoroughfares, green spaces, and public amenities, would lay the groundwork for future investments and the development of housing and commercial ventures would also support new community, retail and leisure facilities.

With full planning approval for the site preparation work, the comprehensive plans for Central Docks include the creation of an interconnected network of public spaces.  The proposed new landscape will be enriched with the planting of hundreds of trees, with the centrepiece being ‘Central Park,’ a sprawling 2.1-hectare oasis, set to become one of the city’s largest urban green spaces.

Central Park’s design will celebrate the site’s industrial heritage and coastal location, blending coastal and woodland plantations, wetlands, community gardens, and open parkland. Embracing inclusivity and sustainability, the park will feature amenities such as shelters, recreational facilities, and wildlife habitats, to be enjoyed by both residents and visitors.

The development will also significantly enhance connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists, with the aim of creating seamless open access between the city centre, Princes Dock, Central Docks and Everton’s new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock.

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