Huge cultural cash injection for Liverpool Waterfront
Plans for a new global visitor attraction, the redevelopment of two of Liverpool’s leading cultural institutions and a new public realm have been given a £22 million budget boost.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced two separate financial investments for the city which will inject a new lease of life in and around the city’s docks, and cement Liverpool’s ambition to put culture at the heart of major regeneration projects.
The Chancellor has announced:
£2 million to fund the initial development stage for The Pool – a transformative waterfront project.
£20 million Levelling Up funding for Tate Liverpool and National Museums Liverpool.
Championed by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries, The Pool (a working title) will be a new development taking over an area of the waterfront, which will create a new destination dedicated to celebrating and creating music.
Liverpool’s waterfront and the city’s musical heritage are recognised and loved across the world with The Beatles and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra attracting tens of thousands of music fans each year. The city proudly holds the title of UNESCO City of Music, and the ambition for The Pool is to build on these incredible foundations and create a unique collection of visitor experiences, music performances – aligned to Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) – which would be a centre for elite and emerging talent and a place to bring artists, communities and ideas together.
The project will offer sustainability inside and out: changing the way we use the city centre to encourage more walking and cycling, and building towards net zero.
National Museums Liverpool and Tate Liverpool will receive a £20 million (£10 million each) investment following a successful bid spearheaded by Liverpool City Council.
Tate Liverpool will use the money to modernise and update its gallery enabling it to accommodate new forms of contemporary art, and to reconfigure the external public realm so it connects more clearly with the Royal Albert Dock Liverpool.
The funding allows National Museums Liverpool to take forward the transformation of the Canning Dock Project, part of the organisation’s 10-year masterplan of reimagining the waterfront. This landmark project will transform the area between the Royal Albert Dock and Mann Island, increasing access to museums and galleries and conserving the fabric of historic buildings for the next generation. This will contribute to the visitor economy by levelling up economic and cultural opportunities across the city.
As a result of the funding, improvements will be made to the public realm which will have a positive impact on health and wellbeing.
The Government’s Levelling Up Fund is worth in total £4.8 billion and is being invested in infrastructure to improve everyday life.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson said: “Liverpool is known around the world for its historic waterfront, but it is really important that it doesn’t stand still and we continue to invest in it. This announcement feels like a real line in the sand moment in the wake of UNESCO’s World Heritage decision, and we can now move forward and do things differently.
“This significant new pot of funding will make sure that our docks will continue to be a major draw for tourists and locals alike for many years to come.
“This city is synonymous with incredible music and The Pool will create a world-class visitor attraction, a blueprint for the future of music education but most importantly it will create opportunities and joy for the people of this city.
“National Museums Liverpool and Tate Liverpool are national institutions, with track records of successful delivery operating at a scale unique for cultural organisations outside London so we’re proud to have worked with them to help achieve this investment.
“Levelling Up is not just about transport – it’s about creativity, innovation and inspiration – three things Liverpool thrives on.”
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “What a result. Anybody who comes from Liverpool knows that this is already one of the best cities in the world – and now there’s even more reason for visitors to flood in, helping to create new jobs and opportunities for local people.
“If anything personifies Levelling Up, it’s the story of The Beatles. They came from humble backgrounds in Liverpool and went on to be the most important band in history. This funding will help unlock opportunities so that any child, no matter what corner of Liverpool they come from, or beyond, can become the next Lennon or McCartney.”
Laura Pye, Director of National Museums Liverpool, said: “We are incredibly excited and thankful to have successfully secured funding which brings us a step closer to realising our ambitions. The news follows the appointment of a design team last month, who will take forward the transformation of the public realm, which includes new bridges spanning from the Pump House to Mann Island and bringing historic dockside buildings back into use.
“With support from the Levelling Up Fund, National Museums Liverpool and Tate Liverpool are proud to work together on this flagship development for the North West which will see the next evolution of our world-famous waterfront for the benefit of everyone. We will combine our sites, resources, and shared vision for the waterfront to create a new inclusive public realm that connects people with place and drives economic recovery and growth for the region.
“The scope of our vision creates an unrivalled offer that spans the Royal Albert Dock and the neighbouring Canning Docks. Not only will this raise pride in Liverpool’s cultural offer, it will boost the local economy and significantly increase our annual income creating greater financial sustainability. Together we will deliver jobs and skills development opportunities in our region, drive visitors to the North West and better serve our diverse communities.”
Helen Legg, Director Tate Liverpool, said: ‘We’re grateful to the Government for this investment and for their vote of confidence in us to help Liverpool build back better.
‘We want to be bold with the work we show and to tell the story of modern and contemporary art through the lens of Liverpool and the North. The money from the Levelling Up fund will be invested in remodelling our gallery spaces to meet the scale and ambition of today’s most exciting artists, while also creating social spaces that better connect with our city and the communities we serve.
‘When Tate Liverpool was established in 1988 it was a pioneer for arts-led regeneration of industrial cities. This investment will enable us to remain at the cutting-edge for the next 30 years and beyond.’
Kim Johnson MP, said: “I am delighted that NML and Tate Liverpool have been awarded Levelling Up funding, which will enhance their important place at the heart of Liverpool’s cultural offer. This will boost our vitally important tourist economy but equally importantly improve the connectivity with the diverse communities on their doorstep, improve accessibility and place the often unspoken stories and heritage at the centre of our city’s cultural history and storytelling.”