Published: 12th Nov 2019
Tim Foster, Transport for the North.

Last Wednesday (November 7) New Start attended the Regen 2019 conference in the grand surroundings of St George’s Hall, Liverpool, to hear presentations from several key players in the sector.

In the week that both the Conservative and Labour Party made huge spending election pledges for the north, transport connectivity was one of the big topics of the day.

Tim Foster, head of economic advice for Transport for the North (TfN), was first to speak. He gave an overview of TfN’s Strategic Transport Plan, which argues how £70bn worth of investment into infrastructure by 2050 could revolutionise northern economies.

According to Mr Foster, the lack of connectivity between smaller towns to larger cities in the North of England is preventing places from growing and thriving because they cannot benefit from global and national opportunities.

He spoke in detail about their plan which is designed to build connectivity between places and assets. Mr. Foster called it a: ‘Strategic development corridor.’

The building plans should begin by the mid-2020s, but in a familiar story, the main challenge that TfN is facing is political uncertainty.

Richard Mawdsley, project director for Peel Land & Property was the next to present about the £5bn Wirral Waters Development project.

This development is set to involve three main areas in the Wirral – Mea Park, Four Bridges and North Bank – where there will be over 1,000 new homes.

Mr Mawdsley said the development is ‘place-led but job-driven,’ and is about creating opportunities within the community of the Wirral.

Steve Parry, managing director of ION Development, then went onto discuss the Festival Gardens development in Liverpool.

The Festival Gardens site is just South of Liverpool, around 3 miles from the city centre, it opened in 1984 and closed in 1996.

Liverpool council acquired the site in 2015, and regeneration planning has been underway since.

According to Mr Parry, sustainability is at the heart of the project and they have grand plans to turn the derelict brown-field site into a site that will be used for generations for years to come.

Mr Parry said that the ethos behind the development is: ‘Homes in a garden.’

In practice, this means that the proposed 1,500 properties will be placed within replanted land, with plenty of green space for the residents to enjoy.

The Festival Gardens were previously a waste site. Rubbish was buried under the ground below a layer of clay, and because of the clay, the rubbish has never biodegraded.

So before any development begins, this project will remove all of this waste, according to Mr. Parry this is the largest remediation project in the UK, with enough waste to fill 140 Olympic swimming pools.

Did you attend the conference? Email [email protected], and we’ll publish your thoughts.

Photo Credit – Pippa Neill

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