Liverpool's Pier Head hosting the Eurovision Village

BLOG: How to build on the impact of Eurovision success

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Nuala Gallagher, Corporate Director for City Development, gives her thoughts on how Liverpool can convert the initial impact of hosting Eurovision into long-term benefits for the city.

Before the accolades for the city’s “best ever hosting of Eurovision” began pouring in, one word had already begun to focus minds: legacy.

Or to expand that into a question: How does Liverpool maximise on the global spotlight the biggest annual song festival provides?

The answer lies in five key steps:

  1. Understand the challenge.
  2. Identify the opportunity.
  3. Develop a plan.
  4. Attract investment.
  5. Deliver the scheme.

The city’s reputation for hosting major international events has long been a major asset – thanks in part to long-term investment in our cultural infrastructure, as witnessed every day throughout the Euro Festival as scenes from the Arena, the Pier Head, Liverpool ONE and the Royal Albert Dock were beamed into hundreds of millions of homes across the UK, Europe and the world.

Blessed with great weather, the city centre looked nothing short of spectacular. And wowed by an amazing host city cultural programme, visitors and the media universally fell in love with it.

But as we are acutely aware, Liverpool is not the city centre. Yes, it’s our shop window. And how it looks and feels is crucial in promoting the city’s appeal.

The initial success of hosting Eurovision contains some staggering numbers; potentially 300,000 additional visitors and an estimated £20m boost to our tourism and retail economy.

Fantastic. And in the long term?

That’s step 1. The challenge is to strengthen our appeal beyond tourism and further elevate the city’s standing as a great place to live, work and invest in – and deliver long-term social and economic impact.

The good news is a lot of thinking and hard work has been going on for some time to analyse which areas of the city’s economy need developing. And where.

The same can be said for steps 2 and 3.

So much so, that just days after the curtain dropped on Eurovision I’m in Leeds at the UK’s Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum to promote Liverpool’s major investment opportunities.

First held in 2022, this year’s has over 6,000 attendees – bringing the public sector, with every core UK city and region involved, alongside Government, investors, funders, developers, housebuilders and more.

Liverpool City Council is attending, with representations from myself, my deputy Sophie Bevan, Director of Planning Sam Campbell, Director of Culture Claire McColgan and Mark Bourgeois, as part of the LCRCA/Liverpool Place Partnership Delegation.

Building on the success of MIPIM in March 2023, we’re showcasing the scale of development and investment opportunities to developers, investors and occupiers, both national and international.

Along with Sophie, we’ll present some of Liverpool’s current development opportunities.

As well as being a key platform to demonstrate the council’s ongoing improvement, we’re highlighting the significant opportunities that exist and to initiate and develop strong relationships to support the long-term investment and economic growth needed to support businesses, jobs and revenue for the whole city.

The major projects we’ll be highlighting include:

  • Anfield Square – preparation is underway on a development brief for this iconic site – the next step in the £260m regeneration programme for the L4 community.
  • Festival Gardens – the development brief for this major housing scheme will be issued later this year, seeking a key delivery partner.
  • Littlewoods Film Studios – remediation works are to begin this summer which will be a landmark moment in developing the city’s booming filming sector.
  • Kings Dock – we’re at the stakeholder and masterplan scoping stage on these hugely attractive plots of land next to the M&S Bank Arena.
  • Paddington Village – with phase one almost complete, thoughts are turning to how phase two will further develop the city’s innovation district in Kensington.

Liverpool is a city of great potential.

New homes, new communities and new business parks are all in the pipeline – with a focus on building on and strengthening our high-skilled creative and knowledge based sectors.

Eurovision has reminded everyone how great we are at hosting a party. Our welcome and tourism offer is truly world class.

And the timing couldn’t have been better as we look to begin the task of attracting investment for these major schemes.

Individually and collectively they will showcase that as well as being a brilliant place in which to play, the city is also a great place to stay – to work and live in.

That is a legacy Liverpool and its residents deserve.

And one we will work hard to deliver.

Liverpool Waterfront