Further significant progress in implementing the Devolution Deal announced last year is expected to be approved at Friday’s Liverpool City Region Combined Authority meeting, with major improvements and developments set to be agreed.
The schemes are to be funded from the £232m Local Growth Fund, secured by the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, which will invest in transport and skills projects across the city region.
Work on the £4.95 million A570 Linkway improvement scheme (the main route linking the M62 with St Helens) is expected to be cleared to get under way later this year. It will improve capacity, reduce congestion and address safety issues, and consists of junction improvements to Sherdley Roundabout and Sutton Hall Roundabout, and safety enhancements to the School Lane crossing.
The scheme in St Helens is one of seven major transport schemes planned for this year – the others include Silver Jubilee Bridge maintenance in Halton, A565 North Liverpool Corridors in Liverpool, Windle Island in St Helens, and M58 Junction 1 improvements in Sefton.
Work is already under way on other schemes to reduce congestion in Knowsley, including access improvements to Knowsley Business Park and improvements to the A5300 Knowsley Expressway.
Investment from the Local Growth Fund to improve college facilities are also set to be approved. Myerscough College in Liverpool is due to be awarded £1.997 million to create specialist new build facilities at the Croxteth campus for equine and animal studies, and Wirral Metropolitan College is in line for £2.2 million towards a University Health Campus at the Wirral Waters Enterprise Zone. These projects are expected to start on site later in 2016.
Plans to develop a technology centre in Halton are also due to be considered as part of a potential £5 million commitment from the Local Growth Fund to the project. The funding would support Alstom Transport UK Ltd’s plans to create a major new rail facility for the United Kingdom. The project could involve approximately 450,000 sq ft being constructed on the HBC Field site at 3MG Widnes, employing some 600 people and providing a new North West Rail Skills Academy.
The Combined Authority is committed to bringing empty buildings back into use. One such project which is also recommended for approval on Friday is the plan to transform the former Littlewoods building on Edge Lane in Liverpool into film studios. An allocation of £4.95 million from the Local Growth Fund is being recommended to support the Littlewoods Studios project. Work on this project will transform 11,000 sq m into a film studio, studio work and office space as well as developing a creative and digital hub and Liverpool Theatre school, which will see the creation of 345 jobs.
Mayor Joe Anderson, Chair of the Liverpool City Combined Authority, said “I am really looking forward to Friday’s meeting and am proud of the significant progress we already making. These are just the most recent examples of the positive work already started by the Combined Authority right across the whole of the City Region to the benefit of our residents, businesses and visitors alike. The investments and progress reported show that we are already delivering our commitments. I have every confidence that we will continue to secure economic growth, jobs, investment and development in our City Region.”