Hope Street award

HOPES and glory

Liverpool City Council has thanked a community group for their important role in helping the city scoop a prestigious national award.

Liverpool’s iconic Hope Street has just won The Great Street Award in the national Urbanism Awards 2013. Co-ordinated by the Academy of Urbanism, the awards recognise the best urban places in Europe.

Now, the city is paying tribute to HOPES: The Hope Street Association, for the part it has played, for more than a decade, in shaping Hope Street into a leading cultural and knowledge hub.

The charitable organisation, made up of volunteers – many of whom work in the fields of regeneration, community development and culture – developed a vision in the 1990s for Hope Street as a Quarter.

They held a number of conferences in the city – in the run-up to and immediate aftermath of the Millennium – to explore how the potential of the area could be unlocked.

Their efforts led to the development of the Hope Street Papers in 2000 (www.hilaryburrage.com/the-hope-street-papers-1999-2001/) which laid the groundwork for the development of the area. HOPES also developed these proposals via the dozen annual Hope Street Festivals – the HOPES Millennium Festival was chosen by the Millennium Commission as their national exemplar – and many other community engagement and stakeholding events which the charity created and delivered.

This important work was followed in 2006 by the city council and partners delivering a £2.9 million regeneration programme for Hope Street. It included improved paving and kerbs, the transformation of the Mount Street Triangle into a fitting home for the “Suitcases” artwork, new traffic signals and pedestrian crossings, new lighting, and resurfacing.

Work was also been carried out by Liverpool City Council, following consultation with HOPES and their identified stakeholders, to make Hope Street more pedestrian-friendly and inviting through the use of public art and a community space.

The public realm works which have taken place on Hope Street – along with the area’s unique cultural, architectural, arts, educational and hospitality offer – helped it beat of competition from Exhibition Road in London and Chapel Street in Penzance to win the national Urbanism Award.

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, said: “Winning this prestigious award is fantastic news, not only for Hope Street, but for the city as a whole.

“A range of partners – businesses, arts organisations and our cathedrals and universities brought together by HOPES – have worked together with the City Council to make Hope Street the place it is today. It’s important that we pay tribute to the volunteers at HOPES, who proposed and worked tirelessly for this idea to happen. Hope Street is now a vibrant and unique part of Liverpool life.

“I’d like to thank HOPES for their fantastic contribution over the years, which really helped to put this important cultural and historical asset on the map.”

Hilary Burrage, founding member and honorary chair of HOPES, said: “I am very proud that the work over a decade by HOPES: The Hope Street Association has had such a profound and positive impact on our city. In the decade spanning the Millennium we brought together a very wide range of organisations and interests, and we were delighted when the Council agreed to work with us to deliver the vision which we carefully developed and shared for this unique and hugely significant area of the city.

“The Award by the Academy of Urbanism, like the Millennium Award of a decade ago, reminds us that all our hard work and faith has been well worth while. I know that everyone on Hope Street will be delighted by the Academy of Urbanism’s exciting new vote of confidence in the vision for the future which we, together with the City Council, have delivered.”

Located at the heart of the city’s Georgian quarter, Hope Street and the surrounding vicinity is an area of stunning architectural beauty with some of the finest 18th and 19th Century housing and buildings in the North West.

It is home to Liverpool Cathedral and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, and some of the most significant performing arts organisations in the City Region, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Everyman and Unity Theatres.

It is also a cultural hub for some of the City’s leading arts organisations such as Hope Street Limited and Merseyside Dance Initiative and is its academic heart, with Liverpool University, Liverpool John Moores University and LIPA all based there.

It counts the Victoria Gallery and Museum, The Hardmans’ House and the annual Hope Street Feast amongst its attractions, several historic pubs and locations significant in the Beatles history, the independent boutique Hope Street Hotel and the 60 Hope Street restaurant group.

Between them, Hope Street’s organisations, businesses and attractions have attracted numerous regional, national and international awards recognising the excellence of their cultural, tourism, food and dining offers. The Everyman Theatre will re-open in 2013 following a two-year £28 million redevelopment programme, and there are plans for a £12 million refurbishment of the Grade II* listed Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.