The Littlewoods Project has reached a major milestone with a deal signed that kick starts work on the high-profile scheme.
The developers behind the project CAPITAL&CENTRIC have entered into a partnership with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Liverpool City Council to deliver the first phase of the ambitious £70m regeneration project.
This follows the news that the Combined Authority has approved £8m of funding for remediation, design and planning for the project as part of a total funding package of £17m.
Having lain derelict for years, plans have been put in place to transform the iconic Littlewoods Building on Edge Lane into a new home for the big and small screen. The site has the potential to become one of the biggest film and television complexes in the UK, cementing Liverpool’s position at the forefront of the UK’s creative industry. The UK’s oldest film studios, Twickenham, is already signed up as the anchor tenant.
John Moffat, from Capital&Centric, said: “This is a huge moment for the Littlewoods Project and the Liverpool city region. Regeneration at this scale is always going to be complex, but the legal agreements are now in place so we can start delivering this transformational project. It has the potential to provide Liverpool’s young people with the opportunity to be part of the UK’s booming film and TV industry, generating millions of pounds for the local economy and creating thousands of jobs for generations to come.”
“The new team at the Council are really transforming things and working together with them and the Combined Authority we’re going to be able to help kick-start delivering something pretty special.”
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor Liverpool City Region, said: “Our area has become a magnet for film and TV productions from around the world in recent years – making us the UK’s most filmed location outside of London. But I want to take our region to the next level, to stake our claim as the ‘Hollywood of the North’.
“The £17m we’re investing into both Littlewoods and The Depot will be central in turning that ambition into a reality – helping us to cater for every stage of the production process and creating new jobs and training opportunities for local people. I can’t wait to see work start on the project!”
Councillor Sarah Doyle, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Development and Economy, said: “The remediation phase of the Littlewoods Buildings is the first major milestone in transforming this iconic venue into a film centre that Liverpool deserves – and needs.
“The journey to this point has been longer than anticipated but the history of the building has presented some unique challenges and it’s important we get the approach right. I’m already looking forward to the next stage when the remediation is complete and we can start looking at delivering world class studios and education facilities.”
The signing of the deal enables a contractor to be appointed with remediation of the site expected to complete by the end of 2023.
In its heyday Littlewoods employed thousands of people, with the local area feeling the impact when its largest employer closed. The new complex is set to recapture this success, helping to regenerate the local area, create jobs and drive investment. According to economic experts Ekosgen, Littlewoods Studios will support up to 3,650 jobs and result in an annual boost of £199m (GVA) to the local economy.