Give your views on Liverpool’s proposed Cavern Quarter transformation

Liverpool City Council wants to build on the city’s music and Beatles heritage, worth £90m a year and centred around key venues such as the Cavern and Eric’s. Tony McDonough reports

Mathew Street
Liverpool’s Mathew Street is at the centre of the city’s music heritage industry

 

People in Liverpool will this week be asked for their views on a masterplan to transform Liverpool’s Cavern Quarter.

Starting on Monday, 21 October the public will be invited to give their views on a draft Spatial Regeneration Framework (SRF) for the area which, include Mathew Street and nearby Williamson Square.

Its aim is to enhance the appeal of the area, capitalising on the city’s music heritage industry, and its status as a UNESCO City of Music, which depends heavily on The Beatles. The Fab Four’s legacy is an industry employing more than 2,000 people and generating more than £90m a year.

Key assets that have been identified in the SRF include the Cavern Club and iconic music venue Eric’s, both on Mathew Street. 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 and offer their own views. The public events will be held on:

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

The draft SRF will also be available to read online by clicking here 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.

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. 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.
Mathew Street
The Beatles are worth more than £90m a year to Liverpool. Picture by Tony McDonough

 

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.

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.”

And 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), added: “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.

“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.”

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