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Spatial Regeneration Frameworks: steering development in the North West

Spatial Regeneration Frameworks: steering development in the North West

Councils are drafting Spatial Regeneration Frameworks (SRF) across the North West to steer development and enable areas to achieve their individual potential.

The past year has seen Liverpool City Council propose and appoint expert teams to work on masterplans for the commercial district, Baltic Triangle, Knowledge Quarter Gateway and the Cavern Quarter.

Move Commercial asks the local authority’s head of planning, Samantha Campbell, what difference they’ll make and how they’ll work alongside each other, existing policies and already approved schemes.

Words by Natasha Young

Why is it necessary to have a number of frameworks in central Liverpool, and why is now the time to bring them forward?

SRFs are a critical piece of masterplanning the direction and growth of a specific area, creating guidelines for future development.

Liverpool city centre has been expanding for the past 20 years and certain areas have reached a point where their future potential and usage needs to be reviewed. That’s true of Lime Street and its role as a gateway to the Knowledge Quarter and Paddington Village, whilst the commercial district is being impacted upon by its proximity to Liverpool Waters and Ten Streets, as well as the supply and demand issues relating to Grade A office space.

In terms of the Cavern Quarter and Williamson Square, their surrounding areas have undergone significant change which has changed the dynamics of the place and SRFs will seek to address that and set out a blueprint for their future growth.

The Baltic Triangle masterplan was seen by some as an attempt to save the area’s character after controversial developments have been approved. Is the aim to truly change the direction of development in some areas?

SRFs are unique to their own particular area – their history, characteristics, connectivity to its surrounding neighbourhoods and its usage and the mix of commercial or residential.

It’s important each SRF process gauges and engages the local community to truly understand the challenges and opportunities each distinct area presents. In part an SRF can be used to consolidate progress in a certain direction or to change direction.

How much power will SRFs have and how will they work alongside national planning policy?

It’s intended the SRFs for the Cavern Quarter, the commercial district, Knowledge Quarter Gateway and Baltic Triangle will be adopted as Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD) to supplement policies in the Liverpool Local Plan, once that has been adopted. The Local Plan has to conform with the National Planning Policy Framework and SPDs have to align with the Local Plan.

They’re being prepared to meet planning regulations with regard to the preparation of SPDs, and to provide a more detailed planning framework that expands upon policies in the Local Plan, and reflects and responds to the development demands and issues specific to the area.

If approved by cabinet they’ll then have weight in the development management process and be used to guide investment. The documents will provide clarity to developers and landowners.

The document for Pumpfields is a development framework as opposed to a formal planning document.

Some areas at the heart of masterplans are already the subject of approved transformational schemes. How much impact can these documents genuinely have when major projects have already been decided without them?

The SRFs are being prepared to set out a clear vision and policy for these areas to guide future development and will be a material consideration in the development management process.

They’ll set out the city council’s ambition for positive change in these areas and ensure a co-ordinated approach to their future regeneration. Development proposals will continue to come forward in the interim and will be determined using existing policy and guidance.

How noticeable do you anticipate the changes will be once these frameworks are in place?

These documents are being prepared to set out the city council’s ambitions for the areas and to deliver positive change.

They’ll ensure a co-ordinated approach to the future regeneration of the areas, and those that go forward for adoption as SPDs will carry weight in the development management process.

As well as providing clarity for developers they’re also aiming to attract public and private sector investment, and therefore should bring forward positive change in the areas quicker than if there was no regeneration framework.

A key element in attracting investment will be bringing together ideas and plans that partners, stakeholders and developers will have and which the SRF process will seek to engage with and develop. The city council has access to various public funds which could be matched to monies raised within the private and voluntary sector.

How are these frameworks being devised to work alongside each other?

All frameworks are being prepared to align with Local Plan policy, which includes over-arching policies for each area that complement each other as they’re all aimed at ensuring a strong ‘regional centre’.

Whilst each area has its own specific issues to address, all are aimed at achieving sustainable, vibrant places within the city centre that respect the area’s specific characteristics and facilitate and encourage economic growth to ensure a strong and distinctive city centre which makes a significant contribution to Liverpool’s economy.

They’re being co-ordinated by the city’s planning and regeneration department and the teams appointed for each framework are engaging with each other.