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Posted by: John Brace | 28th April 2014

Will a £365,000 loan to refurbish the Pacific Road Arts Centre be enough?

Will a £365,000 loan to refurbish the Pacific Road Arts Centre be enough?

                           

Yesterday I was reading a story headlined Liverpool Council chiefs to invest £8m in private developments to kick-start stalled schemes which had a sub headline of “Mayor Anderson backs plans to allocate £8.2m to nine projects in Liverpool, Halton, Knowsley and Wirral”. I wondered what the project in Wirral was that was getting this funding as the article didn’t mention it.

So I went on Liverpool City Council’s website and found an item with the rather dull agenda item title of Growing Places Fund Round 2 (M/13) had been decided at Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet meeting on Friday morning. This is a link to the report for that agenda item. Liverpool City Council is the accountable body for loans to be made by the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership. A table of the loans agreed (subject to due diligence) from that report is below.

LOCAL AUTHORITYPROJECTLEP LOAN RANKLOAN REQUEST
HaltonG Park Logistics Warehouse – Former Bayer site remediation11,000,000
KnowsleyHornhouse Lane – Warehouse/Production facilities21,500,000
HaltonJohnsons Lane – Spine Road to unlock land3500,000
KnowsleyRail Freight Terminal4800,000
LiverpoolStonebridge Cross – Mixed Use51,000,000
HaltonVenture Fields – Mixed Use6510,000
LiverpoolMartins Bank – Hotel71,500,000
WirralOcean Plaza – managed workspace8365,000
KnowsleyTratos – manufacturing premises91,000,000
TOTAL8,175,000

I was born on the Wirral and have lived on the Wirral all my life. I’ve never heard of an Ocean Plaza on the Wirral, although a reader thinks that Ocean Plaza could refer to the renovation of the Pacific Road Arts Centre. The only Ocean Plaza I know of currently on Merseyside is a retail park just outside Southport town centre.

At the last meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority a number of the projects in the table above were referred to during presentations. Mayor Joe Anderson chairs the Liverpool City Council Cabinet, who decided last Friday where the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership loans would go (subject of course to due diligence). The projects bidding for the money have to be linked to new jobs, economic growth and/or new houses. So when will Wirral get its fair share of this £8 million in loans to be spent on encouraging economic growth and creating jobs?

*Edit 28/4/14 A person leaving a comment suggests that Ocean Plaza could be the project name for what’s happening to the Pacific Road Arts Centre. This appendix to a Cabinet report suggests that the £365,000 loan referred to above is going towards that, even though the cashflow forecast shows that a loan of £485,000 is needed.

Sixteen projects were invited to give presentations to the Local Enterprise Partnership but only nine were chosen, were there any Wirral ones in the seven that weren’t picked and if so why didn’t any other Wirral ones make the top nine?

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Responses

  1. Where was Phil Davies when all this was agreed at a free lunch somewhere rather than at the chair of the Liverpool city region.
    It beggars belief that the chairman didn’t open his mouth when all this was agreed or is it Joe Anderson’s payback for not being made chair and keeping all the monies for his side of the water. John I truly despair the way local politics work its a disgrace.

    • Sorry if what I wrote was unclear. Liverpool City Council is the accountable body for the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership. Therefore decisions about these loans go to Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet (chaired by Mayor Joe Anderson) to decide.

      The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is a different body (which are the leaders of each of the councils plus a representative from the Local Enterprise Partnership) chaired by Councillor Phil Davies.

      I couldn’t really comment on why those nine (out of sixteen) were chosen. The report goes into detail about the criteria used for ranking the projects, but the way criteria are referred to in the report are using rather vague terms like being “shovel ready” (whatever that means!)

  2. Perhaps “Ocean Plaza” is projected name for revampoed-to-be Pacific Theatre.
    Not so long a leap Pacific=Ocean; was a theatre now a condominium for businesses a Plaza

  3. How come Halton gets the ‘lions share’ of 3 developments? It always mysrifys me,as to how come Halton is in Merseyside,I thought it was in Cheshire,if it is what are Cheshire doing?

    • Halton is in Cheshire, but Halton is also part of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. There are Halton councillors that sit on the Merseytravel committee too. So because the local enterprise partnership boundary is the Liverpool City Region it includes Halton, organisations in Halton can make bids for loans from the Local Enterprise Partnership.


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