Friday, 23 October 2009

Liverpools Baltic Triangle to become a Cultural Quarter.

Not sure how you make a Triangle into a quarter, not sure if Pythagoras had an equation for that. What I am sure of is this is another slice of Regional European objective fund that some cosy developer will have his finger in the circular pie. Have I heard all this before, yes, all the same promises, a couple of hundred yards away, over in the ropewalks that turned out to be a load of new empty apartments and new bars for the kids who live in the town centre to swill away their weekends. I attended a talk by Bill Maynard at the then Moat House Hotel, in the now defunct Paradise Street. (as it has not even got a name plate up and is now been absorbed into Grosvenor-pool). Urban Splash were the experts at grabbing grant money from the public purse. This was over 10 years ago and all the same old same old is being rolled out again. We have to be a bit more imaginitive than bars shops and hotels. Oh what happened to all the promised culcha?
The recent press release from the North Vested Interest Development Agency says.
The Baltic Creative scheme, which its creators say gives the city a "once in a lifetime" opportunity to develop its creative sector, will see four buildings off Jamaica Street refurbished to house creative and digital businesses.
Regeneration officials say the creative sector will be vital to Liverpool’s economy in the future and hope the new centre, funded by the Northwest Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund, will house more than 60 businesses.
Yes I have heard that before.
Kevin McManus, director of Liverpool Vision’s creative support body Merseyside ACME, says Baltic Creative will be a home for growing creative firms in the same way that Liverpool Science Park is for hi-tech companies. Yes
He said: "We want a mixture of sole traders and small and large companies. We want to see a lot of collaboration and innovation, that puts Liverpool on the cutting edge of the industry. Oh Yes.

"Liverpool’s future is creative and digital. We want to have some of Liverpool’s great creative and digital firms in there – maybe visual artists, designers or musicians. This will be a space where people can spark off each other and collaborate – all the things they should be doing at the moment.
"We have to support businesses that are going to grow and bring money and jobs to the city." True Right, but you have been saying this for years.
Mr McManus said there has already been "a lot of interest" from firms wanting to move into the buildings. The industrial units include the one used by the New Picket music venue. Next to the garage that houses the amfibious yellow tour machine that ramps into the Albert dock and great fun was had by all.  
They will be run by a newly-formed "community interest company" called Baltic Creative.
The funding includes £3m from the NWDA and another £2.2m from the European Regional Development Fund. It covers the cost of leasing the buildings from the NWDA on a long lease and refurbishing them, as well as running costs for at least three years until Baltic Creative can stand on its own two feet financially through rents it brings in.
So considering you get for 5 million pounds of European slush money these days half of a Terminal Ferry Carbuncle. What chance.
"There’s still lots of work to be done. Getting the buildings is just the start," said Mr McManus.
You bet.
The Baltic Triangle is already home to the Contemporary Urban Centre and the new Elevator Studio complex, itself home to creative firms including design studio Milky Tea.
Jenny Douglas, head of city centre at Liverpool Vision, said: "The area is beginning to emerge as a vibrant business hub, with a real mix of activity from old established businesses to new cutting-edge concerns but we need to sustain this energy.
"It’s vital that creatives are in the heart of the city and not left on the edge and these plans for the Baltic Triangle will help support and increase the vibrancy by attracting new companies, new ideas and new connections." Heard it all before.
Music venue The New Picket moved into the Baltic Triangle area in 2005 and its venue director Phil Hayes has been "at the vanguard" of efforts to transform the area into a creative quarter.
He welcomed news of Baltic Creative and said he wanted to see the area cleaned up to become more welcoming to visitors.
Mr Hayes said: "What’s important is that the local organisations are at the forefront of this cultural area. It has got to have a uniqueness about it. That can only be maintained by unique organisations being based here."
NWDA chief executive Steve Broomhead said: "Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle area presents a unique opportunity to develop a natural network of creative businesses in one location, building on the strong creative activity already under way in the area."

Yes the Picket was forced out of its home and Phil Hayes recently received a phone call from the new owners of the Hardman Street premises asking if they wanted to buy the building. Its still empty.
Then they give us a picture of the artists impression of the new creative quarter thats in a triangle...which is not very creative and you think here we go again. You know we don’t stand a chance. The NWDA has wasted hundreds of millions of pounds ruining the world heritage site while 1 mile down the road where Louise Ellman lives is in the worst state of decay and has been for the last 25 years while she has stood by and watched.
Oh and what happened to all the previous promises from Windsor Developments who were the so-called buyers of Lamb & Sons that was owned by those that left us a hole in the ground next to the Baltc Fleet pub Doreen & Trevor Jones.
This article put together by Larry Neild who now works for the remnants of Windsors press agency October communications.


  1. Another wedge of public money being thrown at dubious projects. Could NWDA possibly try to put some fine existing buildings back into repair? For example the Wellington Rooms, St.James Church, St.Andrews Church, the Scandinavion Hotel