Mersey music masterplan aims to hit right note
A masterplan aimed at transforming the epicentre of Liverpool’s musical heritage is set to go out to public consultation later this month.
A draft Spatial Regeneration Framework (SRF) for the area around Mathew Street – home of the world famous music venues the Cavern Club and Eric’s – goes before Liverpool City Council’s cabinet next Friday (11 October).
The draft SRF, which also encompasses the adjacent Williamson Square area, contains a range of recommendations to help attract new investment and to enable the council to steer the future use of existing buildings.
The document is being created to address a recent tourism report that called for the city to curate a clearer proposition around Liverpool’s pivotal role in the story of popular and contemporary music.
Although the city’s music heritage industry – which is centred around The Beatles – is now worth more than £90m a year, a tourism report has found visitors are increasingly looking for a quality experiential visit.
On approval, the Cavern Quarter/Williamson Square draft SRF will go out to a five week consultation containing a series of public events for people to examine the recommendations in detail and provide their feedback.
The draft SRF makes a number of recommendations across three specific zones:
- 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
- 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
- Strategy to celebrate and interpret the street as the original “pool of Liverpool”
- 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 and Spencer building
The draft SRF 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.
Following a review of all the representations received, a final version of the SRF will be presented back to Cabinet for final approval. At that point the SRF will be used to guide the determination of all future planning applications within the area.