Work could get underway next month demolishing the multi-storey Waterfront Car Park in Liverpool ravaged by fire on New Year’s Eve.
A report to the Cabinet on Friday 28 September says detailed logistical plans have been drawn up to take down the car park, which has 1,191 vehicles inside it – of which 1,033 are completely burnt out.
None of the cars are able to be removed before demolition because of safety concerns about the residual strength of the building. Mersey Fire and Rescue Service recently concluded that temperatures during the blaze reached 1,000 celcius, far higher than the previous estimate of 600 degrees.
Work will only start once agreement is received from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) regarding the approach to the demolition and the process of removing personal belongings from the cars that are not burnt out.
An application for a new, nine-floor car park for 1,650 vehicles at Monarch’s Quay will be considered by the planning committee on October 9. It will be funded by a combination of general council spending and money generated from the insurance pay out from the fire.
The new car park will be fitted with state of the art CCTV and payments system, electric charging points, sprinkler system, 15 motorcycle spaces and 50 cycle spaces. It will also have 100 disabled parking spaces and fully accessible fire evacuation lifts.
A series of highway improvements are also being proposed to improve access into and out of the car park, especially after sell-out events at ACC Liverpool, to reduce congestion in the city centre.
Mayor Joe Anderson said: “Working out how to take down the existing car park has been a hugely complex and detailed piece of work which puts public safety first.
“It has been nine months since the fire, and in that time an incredible amount of hard work has gone in to coming up with a temporary facility to enable ACC Liverpool to continue functioning as normal but also designing and submitting plans for a new car park.
“We must not forget that it has been a traumatic process for those whose cars were inside and have had to go through the process of negotiating an insurance claim.
“The new car park will be built to latest specifications and will give ACC Liverpool a facility that will more than meet its growing needs.”
Subject to planning approval, the new car park will be built in front of the Exhibition Centre on former infilled docks by constructors Willmott Dixon, and is planned for completion by spring 2020.
As a temporary measure the council is also erecting a four floor, 550 space car park adjacent to the current car park to support events at the waterfront venues. This will be completed and ready for operation in November. The car park will also have 100 disabled parking spaces and fully accessible fire evacuation lifts.
Once demolished, the previous car park site will be flattened and made safe before being incorporated into a masterplan.