Mr Ashworth is one of the most high profile and respected individuals in the North West property and business sector and his replacement will be former Muse executive Darran Lawless. Tony McDonough reports
One of the leading figures behind Peel’s £5bn Liverpool Waters project, Lindsey Ashworth, is to retire from his role as development director.
Mr Ashworth, one of the most high profile and respected individuals in the North West property and business sector, revealed he was standing down at the MIPIM international property expo in Cannes, an event he has attended for a number of years.
His replacement at Liverpool Waters will be Darran Lawless who brings more than 28 years’ experience to the role, including most recently establishing development consultancy Petre Properties.
Peel unveiled its Liverpool Waters 30-year plan more than a decade ago with breathtaking designs of both office and residential skyscrapers in Liverpool’s northern docklands. However, the financial crash in 2008/09 had a seismic impact on the property sector and securing investors for Liverpool Waters became a much more difficult task.
At an event in Liverpool last week Mr Ashworth admitted the office space element of the scheme had not gone as originally envisaged. Low headline rents for grade A office space in Liverpool remains a major obstacle to speculative development.
It has also been caught up in a dispute between the city council and UNESCO over the city’s World Heritage Status. UNESCO has objected to the proposed height of some of the buildings at Central Docks and the masterplan for the site is now being revised.
“When we first unveiled the plan for Central Docks we thought we would get big enquires for office space – but they never came,” said Mr Ashworth at the Town Hall event.
“A lot of occupiers are staying put and not moving. We cannot control the market but when it takes off then we will build. This was always a 30-year plan.”
Other sections of Liverpool Waters are moving forward. Work has started on one of three residential towers in the already well developed Princes Dock. Residential schemes are in the pipeline for West Waterloo Dock and Everton FC is planning to build its £500m new stadium in Bramley Moore Dock at the far end of the scheme.
Add to that the city council is progressing plans for a new cruise liner and Isle of Man ferry terminal to be built off Princes Dock and West Waterloo Dock. This will include a new access road from nearby Leeds Street.
James Whittaker, Peel Land and Property group development director, said: “Lindsey has done an incredible job in obtaining planning consent, delivering residential development, securing Everton FC’s interest in relocating to the site, assisting Liverpool City Council in its plans to bring a new ocean liner terminal to the City and working with the Manx Government to secure the relocation of the Isle of Man ferry.
“Darran will build on this success as we enter the next exciting phase of Liverpool Waters development.”
Mr Lawless has also spent 15 years as development director at Muse Developments responsible for numerous schemes throughout the North West including St Pauls Square, Liverpool on behalf of English Cities Fund.
He added: “I’m delighted to join Peel Land and Property at such an exciting time and am looking forward to working with the Liverpool Waters’ team in building on the excellent progress made to date as well as delivering projects that continue to realise the ambitions of Peel and its partners.”