UK: City Focus: Why Liverpool's Past Could Be The Key To Its Future Success

Last Updated: 9 July 2015
Article by Barry Crichton

Most Read Contributor in UK, August 2017

With the general election now behind us, and the Northern Powerhouse high on the agenda, we're already witnessing the beginning of what could be a transformative decade for our region. 

The Northern Powerhouse strategy promises to connect the major northern cities to one another, to London, then to the rest of the world. This rallying call to arms for regional cities to shout up and champion their own distinctive brands is gathering momentum, and the opportunities, we're being told, are anyone's for the taking.

Liverpool is a city with all the resources at hand, and all the opportunities to seize. Slightly smaller than its northern neighbour Manchester, but with the same spectrum of choice, and more exciting retail, industrial and city centre residential developments getting underway, the city is starting to connect the dots and establish its USP. 

So how we distil the Liverpool brand: do we champion its cutting-edge commitment to arts and culture, or look back at its rich industrial export legacy? Is Liverpool the home of the students that flood its bars and clubs, or the fledgling business sectors laying their foundations on its outskirts?

The answer is, all of the above. While Liverpool has, like the other northern cities, locked into the numerous creative and TMT industries that have helped London amass its enormous graduate population, it has also nurtured its roots in an approach that marks it out against other global contenders. 

Peel Ports' landmark investment in deep water container terminal Liverpool2 is a project that sets the city apart from other northern counterparts, a steadfast commitment to the ocean gateway that will bring a projected £5bn gross value to the local economy. Its placement as the central gateway for the UK and Ireland provides a springboard to further elevate the UK's growing export offering, and will revitalise an industry that has been integral to Liverpool since its earliest years. 

This reconnection with its origins has seen planning in Liverpool take a dynamic approach to not only its industrial offering, but to its position as a popular destination for visitors and residents. Developers have been drawn towards a brand that now sees the former HMRC building reimagined as the £30m PRS scheme at Queen's Dock, while the luxurious Titanic hotel helps move a rich history into the future of an autonomous, powerful Liverpool. 

But the story unfolding in Liverpool isn't all about legacy, but about viewing its ongoing development through a modern lens. Projects such as the Titanic and Queen's Dock demonstrate the ways in which developers are filtering the long-held perceptions of Liverpool through its younger generations, to project a new image of the city to potential residents and investors. 

It is this ability to combine the traditional and the modern that will provide much of the Northern Powerhouse's successes, as seen with the boost Manchester provides to its neighbouring towns. But more still needs to be done to show that the benefits are here: the collective effort to establish Liverpool globally requires more than business investment and government backing; the professionals living and working in Liverpool need to be the ones beating the drum. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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