Weekender: Liverpool set to become Hollywood of the North

Liverpool City Council is to set spend £1.8m of more than 11 acres of land which will become home to the new Liverpool Film Studios.

The purchase of the land known as MTL next to the former Littlewoods headquarters is set to be approved by the authority’s cabinet next week.

The multi-million pound project will be delivered by Manchester-based developer Capital & Centric which has planning permission to develop the 250,000 sq ft scheme with work expected to begin in the summer.

It is envisaged the site, owned by Homes England (also known as the Homes and Community Agency) will become the heart of the media and creative industry in the city and will deliver comprehensive regeneration, job creation and promote further investment across the Central Liverpool Mayoral Development Zone.

The MTL site, which is also part of Liverpool Innovation Park on Edge Lane, is considered key to any potential future expansion of the studios and has been earmarked for Phase 3 of the film studios scheme which once completed would be a comprehensive creative and digital media campus of national significance.

Liverpool was the UK’s most filmed city outside of London last year alone and the Liverpool Film Office recorded its busiest ever year in 2017 with 289 film and TV projects shot there, resulting in a 1,359 filming days which generated a £11.1m boost to the local economy.

Productions included both silver screen hits such as the BAFTA nominated Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool and the Emmy-nominated Broken as well as TV favourites from BBC Two’s award-winning Peaky Blinders and A House Through time to Channel 4’s One Born Every Minute documentary.

Early indications show 2018 is going to be yet another strong year for the city with the hotly anticipated TV adaption of War of The Worlds by Mammoth Screen for BBC already confirmed to film later in the spring and there’s a huge amount of anticipation around City and The City which stars homegrown TV star David Morrissey and is due to hit the small screen later this year.

John Moffat, of Capital & Centric, said: “We’re well on our way to delivering a world-class filming destination for the UK, with one of Liverpool’s most iconic buildings at its heart.

“This is an important milestone in securing the land for our work at Littlewoods, where we’ll mix heritage and new build development to form a creative hub for the North. Demand for the space has blown us away and we can’t wait to announce our first residents in the coming months.”