Liverpool masterplan close to final approval

As part of its Local Plan for the next decade Liverpool City Council aims to oversee the creation of 35,000 new homes and 38,000 jobs. Tony McDonough reports

HEMISPHERE, a net zero carbon building, will be built in Liverpool’s Knowledge Quarter


A masterplan that would see the building of 35,000 new homes and the creation of 38,000 jobs in Liverpool is close to final approval.

In summer 2021 Liverpool City Council put its Local Plan, a document setting out its vision for the city for the next decade, out to public consultation. And now an independent planning inspector has concluded that the plan is ‘sound’.

This means that, subject to a number of modifications, it complies with all necessary legal requirements, meets the future development needs of Liverpool and is justified, effective and consistent with national policy.

It contains 100 detailed policies to manage the sustainable development of the city, protect parks and open spaces, build on work to protect the city’s heritage and ensure high quality development and ‘place-making’. It also includes a new policy for guiding and managing development in the city centre.

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Between now and 2033, the council is forecasting a 47,000 rise in the city’s population, taking it back above half a million for the first time since the early 1980s. In 1971 there were 610,000 people living in the city but economic decline saw this fall to 510,000 in 1981 and as low as 435,000 in 2001.

However, the city has undergone something of an economic renaissance that has accelerated since the mid-2000s. As of 2019 Liverpool’s population stood at just above 498,000. Policies in the Local Plan include: 

  • Setting out how nearly 35,000 new homes will be provided to meet the needs of a growing population.
  • Providing 145 hectares of land to provide for business and jobs growth.
  • Protecting open space and the natural and historic environment.
  • Promoting better quality new homes that are wheelchair accessible, meeting residents needs throughout their lifetime.
  • Increasing the supply of affordable homes.
  • Managing the over-concentration of developments such as hot food takeaways and homes in multiple occupation.

It also responds to climate change with policies ensuring energy efficient buildings, sustainable and active travel, enhanced green infrastructure, managing flood risk and minimising and mitigating pollution. In December the council announced plans for a £35m zero carbon office building in the Knowledge Quarter.

It will also enforce various area-based masterplans in the Baltic Triangle, Ten Streets (in the northern docklands), the commercial district, the Cavern Quarter and the Upper Central area of the city centre.

A Tall Buildings Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) – which includes a revised policy taking into account the sensitivity of key views, and a Public Realm Strategy SPD will be brought forward to supplement the plan.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said: “The Local Plan gives us a strong foundation on which to deliver our vision of improved communities, dealing with climate change and giving everyone an equal footing in life.

Joanne Anderson
Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson. Picture by Liverpool City Council


“It is a fundamental part of our work to improve the quality and type of new developments, to rebalance the relationship between cars, pedestrians and bikes on our road network, meet our net zero carbon commitment and embed social value in every decision we make.

“An important part of our work will be talking to landowners, developers and partner organisations to make sure they understand the new policy requirements in the Local Plan, and deliver positive outcomes on the ground for Liverpool’s communities.”

If the Local Plan is approved by Cabinet on Friday, January 7, it will then be considered by all councillors at a meeting on Wednesday, January 26. Provided the process and procedure followed in developing the plan is not challenged during a subsequent six-week judicial review period, it will then replace the existing Unitary Development Plan 2002 on all planning matters.

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