Cabinet set to commit to future of waterfront complex with new governance and lease arrangements

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Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet is set to consider new long-term governance and lease arrangements for The ACC Liverpool Group which will reduce the financial burden on Council Tax payers and ensure the complex continues to drive the city’s visitor economy.

It follows a review by Local Partnerships which recommended a series of improvements to reduce the financial risk to the local authority.

Work has subsequently taken place with specialist consultants in collaboration with the team at The ACC Liverpool Group to develop new terms.

The new arrangement does not impact on the delivery of events at the waterfront site –  which incorporates the M&S Bank Arena and Convention Centre, Exhibition Centre Liverpool and the Pullman Hotel – but ensures the organisation can continue to attract and host major international events.

Under the new lease, which will be set at between 15 and 25 years, responsibility for the cost of repairs and maintenance of the complex is set to be transferred to The ACC Liverpool Group.

A repayment plan for outstanding rent largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic forms part of the agreement. The amount owed has already reduced from £7.1m to £3.46m, with a further £1.1m to be paid shortly.

The Council will no longer have to make good any losses made by the company, it will receive enhanced full commercial rent for the complex and will also benefit from a profit share after the outstanding rent has been repaid.

The Council will remain responsible for the cost of replacing mechanical and electrical equipment and repairing defects associated with the original development – currently estimated at between £11m and £14m as set out in the original management agreement from 2008.

The Council will provide a loan as part of its capital programme to refurbish the Pullman Hotel in 2025/26, which will be repaid after the rent arrears have been cleared.

Councillor Nick Small, Cabinet Member for Growth and Economy said: “The Arena, Convention and Exhibition Centre have provided an incredible boost for the city and the complex is a major success story for Liverpool.

“We want to make sure it continues to make a major contribution to our visitor economy, and the new lease and governance arrangement commit the Council to retaining ownership of these assets. .

“As part of our improvement journey, we are determined to get the best value from our assets and property, and minimise the risk to Council Tax payers.

“The new arrangement provides a stable and secure basis on which to enhance the delivery of events at the waterfront site and supports our strategic growth plans for the city.

“It will reduce the financial burden on the Council over the long-term, whilst also ensuring there is investment so it can continue to be one of the leading event complexes in Europe.”

“Over the last year we have also worked with The ACC Liverpool Group on the creation of its own Ethical Charter to make sure it fits with the values of the city.”  

Faye Dyer, Chief Executive of The ACC Liverpool Group, said: “We are delighted to continue our close working relationship with Liverpool City Council which has been hugely successful since our campus opened in 2008.  We are proud to have played a key role in the renaissance of Liverpool over the past 15 years.

“As a result of our continued business improvements, we are able to offer best value to Liverpool City Council while continuing to invest in our people, facilities, services and communities.

“In addition to our economic importance and driving jobs and growth in the region, we are proud to deliver cultural events which are socially important to our communities.”

The report will be considered by the Cabinet at a meeting on Tuesday 17 October.

ENDS

Liverpool Waterfront