Mar 6 2008 by Alistair Houghton, Liverpool Daily Post
PLANS for a new creative quarter for Liverpool will take another step ahead this month as research is completed into whether a new trust should be created to look after the area.
Business Liverpool and creative sector business support agency Merseyside ACME are driving plans to turn the Baltic Triangle area into a hub for businesses in the creative sector.
The area, which stretches from Wapping to Parliament Street, Park Road and St James Street, already boasts creative concerns including the New Picket and the Novas arts and cultural centre.
ACME and Business Liverpool want the quarter to be backed up by a creative industries trust that would buy up properties to ensure tenants cannot be pushed out by other development schemes.
Business Liverpool chief executive Mike Taylor says research into the future viability of the trust has been “very positive”.
The research will be completed this month and the trust could be up and running by the end of the year.
Mr Taylor said: “A lot of businesses have been displaced not necessarily because of cost but because they’ve been caught up in a more far-reaching development strategy that has not yet been 100% inclusive of the needs of our creative businesses.
“The trust is not about giveaway prices, but it’s a strategy to secure the future of these businesses and make sure they don’t get displaced by other developments, for example high-value residential projects.
“By placing ownership with the trust, it removes the potential threat of high-value developments.”
Social charity Novas is spending £16m transforming former warehouses in Greenland Street into a Contemporary Urban Centre (CUC) complete with a music and entertainment venue, cinemas, a visual arts gallery, social enterprise areas and community office space.
Its first exhibition, Hawkins & Co, opens to the public tomorrow, with a private view tonight, and the venue will be fully open by May.
Novas founder Michael Wake said: “I think the creative quarter is a fantastic idea because at the moment it’s quite derelict yet there are a number of businesses in the cultural sector here.
“We hope that because of the size of the CUC it will become one of the hubs of the quarter.”
Philip Hayes, of the New Picket, in Jordan Street, says that with many of his neighbours already being creative firms, the area is ripe for transformation into a full-blown creative quarter.
He said: “I’m familiar with lots of cultural organisations in the city who feel they’ve been pushed out because of money or the development of luxury flats.
“I think a great response would be if this could be offered up as an area which can retain the buildings and put them in some ownership which reinvests in the organisations that are there.”