Liverpool is shoring up the economic future of the River Mersey – here’s how
When I wrote last week about plans to commission a new state-of-the-art ferry in Liverpool, it got me thinking about the River Mersey and what it means to the city.
I’ve lived here all my life and the river is, as rivers are, about as perennial as a piece of the local landscape can be. A view of the water takes your breath away. The sweep of it as you look north from the Pier Head, or catch its blue-green glint through the Graces when walking down Water Street.
Some might think that these days, its significance is more as a geographical icon than an important stream of revenue for the city’s economy.
It might not be what it was at the height of the Empire (name a river or port that is), but it’s still an essential part of Liverpool’s gateway and transport infrastructure.
The city, switched on to this fact, is taking steps to safeguard the future potential of the Mersey and the areas at its banks. Here’s how.
Firstly, as I already mentioned, authorities here are working on commissioning a new ferry. Once built, it will be the city’s first in almost 60 years. The aim is to have it operational before 2021.
How the new Cruise Terminal could look
For those taking the circuitous trip from the Pier Head over to the Wirral, it could provide greater comfort and more modern facilities than the current (admittedly beloved) vessels.
It’s also hoped the ferry will be more versatile, with a design and makeup enabling it to be used as a venue for events.
But we’re not just thinking of our own when it comes to ships. Liverpool is a busy cruise hub – so much so that the City Council wants to create a new Terminal big enough to serve ships carrying as many as 3,600 passengers.
If approved it will be even bigger than the existing facility, located around 300m downriver and spanning two storeys.
The best known elements of the Liverpool waterfront are, of course, the historic Albert Dock complex and the neighbouring Pier Head. But go a bit further north and you have an area rich with development potential.
There’s the multi-million pound Ten Streets regeneration zone, resurrecting what Mayor Joe Anderson called a ‘sleeping giant’ and turning it into a Cultural Enterprise Industry Hub for artistic, creative and digital businesses.
Ten Streets spans 27 acres
It will sit alongside investment giant Peel’s £5.5bn Liverpool Waters project, part of the 30-year Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone vision of transforming Merseyside into a true economic powerhouse (along with the £4.5bn Wirral Waters scheme).
Pair that with Peel’s investment in its £400m deepwater container terminal, Liverpool 2, and you can see the phenomenal potential of the area – promising prosperity not just for Liverpool, but for the whole City Region.
Topping it all off is Everton’s plan for a new multi-million pound stadium in the north docklands area of the city.
There’s also the Mersey tidal energy project – an ambitious plan to harness the tidal power of the river and generate enough renewable electricity to fuel thousands of homes. Just a few weeks ago the project was backed by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
You can see from everything going on that Liverpool is taking full advantage of the Mersey’s economic potential – strengthening local infrastructure for the benefit of generations to come.
What are your views on the developments? Let us know in the comments.