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Call for key Liverpool waterfront players to ‘align and integrate ambitions’

Liverpool waterfront needs to “align and integrate the ambitions, programmes and actions” of its key players, according to a new report.

The University of Liverpool’s Heseltine Institute for Public Policy and Practice has released the document, which aims to reflect on the impact Albert Dock has had on the reinvention of the city.

Entitled ‘Albert Dock: What Part in Liverpool’s Continuing Renaissance?’, the research was co-commissioned by Gower Street Estates and the dock’s owner Aberdeen Asset Management, and has been described as “hard hitting in parts”.

Describing the landmark Albert Dock as a “catalyst for the renaissance of Liverpool city centre,” the report highlights the mixed-use destination’s importance, success and popularity amongst visitors, but also calls for action to improve its retail and leisure offer, making its quality more consistent and in line with neighbouring attractions.

It adds: “The waterfront needs a more powerful organisation which can align and integrate the ambitions, programmes and actions of all the different players who now operate on the waterfront.

“This would include Peel in the north docks through to the Pier Head, across into Albert Dock and beyond into the convention and conference centre and across the Strand into the Liverpool ONE area.”

Responding to the findings Sue Grindrod, chief executive of Gower Street Estates, says: “We accept the report is hard hitting in parts, but we have taken that on the chin and understand that it highlights how we cannot allow the dock to slide backwards ever again.

“We launched the Albert Dock 175 strategy in May 2016, and many of this report’s findings already form part of the wider Planit-IE masterplan for Albert Dock that was commissioned in 2014. It includes a number of major public realm projects which will go into planning very soon.

“More than ever we are committed to a long-term strategy of investment in both the infrastructure of the dock, Aberdeen Asset Management’s evolving retail and leisure offer, and our major events programme which we will continue to invest in to drive growth in visitor numbers each year.”

Richard Wilson of Aberdeen Asset Management, adds: “As part of our long-term investment strategy, we recently announced our vision for Albert Dock’s retail and leisure offer. Albert Dock deserves a quality offer that it can be proud of and benefits the whole city.

“This report is welcomed. It is hard hitting and it is clear that we are in a time of great change, however our combined strengths are in the shared strategy of Gower Street Estates and Aberdeen Asset Management, working together to deliver the improved Albert Dock, and we can only hope that the wider Liverpool waterfront also takes action based on the findings in this report.”