Panel publishes ambitious plan to kick-start Liverpool’s future

Liverpool Town Hall

The Panel tasked with shaping Liverpool’s long-term strategic future has outlined an ambitious long-term plan to help get the city’s economy firing on all cylinders again, focusing on three core priorities: Rejuvenating Liverpool’s regeneration efforts, reforming public services for the 21st century, and turbocharging the city’s knowledge and innovation economy.

The Liverpool Strategic Futures Advisory Panel, chaired by Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram, has published the findings as part of its final report to support the city on its improvement journey.

It follows the news that the Panel secured £31m in government funding to help kick-start stalled regeneration projects in the city.

The final report builds on the groundwork laid by the Panel’s interim report published in November 2023.

The Panel emphasises the need for strong, unified place leadership and collaborative partnership working as essential ingredients for sustainable growth.

Steve Rotheram said: “This report is a culmination of nearly two years of hard work and collaboration. While we engaged with people from a range of experience and backgrounds, we were united in a common mission: ensuring that the city we love has a long term plan for success.

“Crucially, our work has not just focused on the city centre – we wanted to come up with a plan that will enable the whole of the city to succeed, particularly areas in North Liverpool that, for far too long, have been held back by a lack of ambition backed by funding.

“Our plan sets out a roadmap to accelerate growth, create jobs for local people and get the entire city’s economy back on track.”

He added: “Alongside our work, it’s been really encouraging to see the progress the council has made – reflected in the news earlier this month that some of the commissioners would be leaving the city.

“Liverpool is a place with enormous potential, and its success is crucial to the success of the wider city region. Now, with the right direction and strong leadership in place, I truly believe that great days lie ahead.”

Following an extensive period of engagement with stakeholders across the Liverpool City Region, the Panel has identified three priorities over the next decade to accelerate the city’s progress towards a stronger and more sustained future. This includes:

  • Establishing a new Regeneration Partnership to oversee new regeneration opportunities and accelerate development within the city. This work was integral in securing more than £31m to help kick-start regeneration in the city.
  • Launching a locally-led urban development corporation (LLUDC). Liverpool would be the first area to use this model, shaping national policy, and it would give the city new legal powers.
  • Developing an Accelerated Development Zone between Everton’s new stadium at Bramley Moore in North Liverpool to the Knowledge Quarter in the city centre.

Liverpool is set to become a public service innovation pathfinder, with the Panel recommending the creation of a Liverpool City Region Combined Authority-led Office for Public Service Innovation and the development of a partnership-led prototype in north Liverpool to test how the city can deliver better public services for its communities.

This first of its kind initiative will focus on leveraging data and community resources to reduce social inequalities and improve the delivery and effectiveness of local services.

The Panel also highlighted the potential of the Liverpool City Region’s Innovation Zone, backed by £160m in government funding.

This initiative aims to bridge infrastructure gaps, support the life sciences sector, and create high value, high skill employment opportunities, positioning Liverpool as a leader in global health innovation.

Mayor Rotheram added: “I would like to put on record my thanks to Cllr Liam Robinson, Andrew Lewis and the new leadership at Liverpool City Council, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities for their commitment and collaboration during this process.

“The work of the Panel has been an important reset in the way that strategic partners in the region work together and, I hope, offered a blueprint for better city region-wide cooperation and decision making moving forward.”

Cllr Liam Robinson

Cllr Liam Robinson, leader of Liverpool City Council, said: “I am grateful for Steve and the Panel’s commitment to Liverpool’s future, their proposals to generate new jobs, homes and investment, and to addressing deep seated inequalities across our communities.

“I endorse their conclusions, and commitment to their practical delivery. This report shows the council is on the right track and with our partners has the frameworks in place to grow the economy. There is a lot of work to do but the ambition and the desire to make Liverpool work for our residents and businesses is resolute.”

The report has been endorsed by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Michael Gove. He said: “Unlocking the potential of cities like Liverpool is essential to driving productivity and levelling up.

“I am delighted to endorse the final report from the Liverpool Strategic Futures Advisory Panel, which sets out a clear vision for building a better, stronger future for the citizens of Liverpool and the wider city region. As well as the Panel, I would like to thank all local partners for the spirit of collaboration in which they have approached this work.”

Mayor Rotheram has been joined on the Panel by two major local government figures, Sir Howard Bernstein, who was the chief executive of Manchester City Council from 1999 to 2017, and Baroness Judith Blake, the leader of Leeds City Council from 2015 to 2021.

Since it was established in 2022, the Panel has worked with Liverpool City Council and its Cabinet, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, external experts, and stakeholders to deliver a long term masterplan for the growth and success of the city.

Earlier this month it was announced that the Government’s Commissioners will hand back control of the finance and highways functions to Liverpool City Counil on March 31.

The hand over is earlier than planned, following publication of the latest revised directions.

The appointment of the most senior managers will be returned to the council with immediate effect.

Commissioners were parachuted into the local authority in June 2021, following a damning report into the Labour-controlled authority by government inspector Max Caller.