Speke is one the most deprived wards within Liverpool and across the Merseyside region. For a number of years it has suffered dereliction and under-investment. In 2005, Liverpool Land Development Company (now Liverpool Vision) successfully brought forward plans for a new District Shopping Centre which incorporated a superstore for WM Morrison, four larger retail units (successfully let to well known names such as Iceland and TK Maxx) and 11 smaller district style shop units to assist in the relocation of businesses from the old District Centre. This ultimately provided the catalyst for wider regeneration in the Speke area, with improved educational and social facilities. As part of this regeneration scheme, Liverpool City Council also required the old shopping centre to be demolished and replaced with additional sport and recreational facilities.
Estuary Commerce Park
Established in 1998 as a flagship business park for the region, Estuary is now recognised as the premier business location on Merseyside within the southern International Gateway approach.
The site has provided a prestigious high quality setting for a wide variety of new business occupiers. Estuary totals 40 hectare of development land within a well-established, landscaped infrastructure of wide boulevards and striking water features on the site of the first Liverpool Speke Airport.
Estuary is located approximately 10 km to the south of Liverpool City Centre within in the city’s International Gateway Strategic Investment Area. It lies alongside Speke Road, the primary southern arterial gateway route for the Liverpool conurbation, with strategic links to regional and national transport routes.
Estuary is linked via Speke Boulevard (A561) to the national motorway network, to Junction 6 of the M62 and the M57 by the Knowsley Expressway (A5300) some 3 km to the east, and to the M56 at Runcorn.
Development of Estuary is being led by Liverpool Vision on behalf of the landowner, Northwest Regional Development Agency. Infrastructure, landscape and public realm areas at Estuary are managed by the Estuary Management Company (EMC). Both Liverpool Vision and EMC play a key role in overseeing the quality of new development at Estuary.
The site is designated and adopted by Liverpool City Council, for primarily commercial and industrial use, including industrial and business uses (B1, B2 and B8).
The Matchworks has been one of Speke Halewood’s success stories. Urban Splash has now completed the second phase of redevelopment work at the former Bryant and May site. The refurbishment of the 1948 building has added 7,200 sq m of office and light industrial space, while a spectacular signature building - the Matchbox - has been created in a prominent position at the front of the site. 1,670 sq m of high-quality accommodation is contained within the four-storey, glass-fronted development.
Dakota Business Park
Close to the Matchworks scheme Priority Sites has brought forward the Dakota Business Park development on a former Speke Aerodrome hangar site on Banks
Road. This hybrid development offers eight industrial units and seven office suites. When fully let it is expected to have generated 165 new jobs.
Venture Point forms part of the wider area known as Speke Industrial Estate located off Speke Boulevard. The International Gateway is located at the southern end of the Liverpool conurbation and forms the main southern gateway into Liverpool from the M57 and M56 motorways.
Established in the 1930s, Speke Industrial Estate was at the heart of the ‘engine room’ of Merseyside and attracted some of the region’s major industrial and manufacturing companies. Covering an area of some 74 hectares (183 acres) Speke Industrial Estate is today still one of the largest industrial areas in Merseyside and is home to many national, regional and local businesses.
The proximity to Liverpool John Lennon Airport as a major employer and airport is also a key attribute for the Venture Point site as well as the proven success of the International Gateway area as a whole since development has progressed and grown.
The Speke area was seriously affected in the post war period by nearly 30 years of economic downturn and by the lack of investment in the physical environment.
However, during the last ten years, substantial investment in environmental improvements in the public realm have been co-ordinated initially by Speke Garston Development Company (SGDC) and now Liverpool Vision. This coupled with the creation of high quality, prestigious business developments, such as Estuary Commerce Park, The Matchworks and Liverpool International Business Park, has driven the area forward and it is now recognised as the premier business location on Merseyside.
The transport links themselves are unrivalled in the area, consisting of major rail links to the West Coast main line to London, the close proximity to Liverpool John Lennon Airport (1mile away), and a major motorway network close by.
In addition, Manchester airport can be reached by rail in just over an hour via the Manchester to Liverpool line and the Manchester Airport rail link. During 1998 SGDC (now Liverpool Vision) embarked upon the assembly of a number of sites within the heart of Speke Industrial Estate that were vacant, derelict or in low quality land use.
These sites and premises combine to create a
development opportunity of approximately 6 hectares (gross),15 acres (gross).
With access available from both Speke Boulevard (A561) and Evans Road, the development complements Estuary Commerce Park and Boulevard Industry Park, providing a range of high quality fully serviced sites to be developed for B1 (Business), B2 (light industry) and B8 (distribution) uses.
Speke District Centre Regeneration Scheme
Speke District Centre
In December 2007, development funding of £2.5M was agreed to regenerate the former district centre site. The project was granted LCC executive committee approval and work commenced early in 2008, with the appointment of Consultants 2020 Liverpool as lead project managers and designers.
Following completion of all environmental and contamination surveys, work started in earnest in July 2008 to clear hazardous materials and waste from the derelict shopping centre. Once the site had been made secure and all Utilities had been successfully disconnected and diverted, demolition of the old district centre began. The demolition work was undertaken by the projects main contractor Carillion plc and commenced in September 2008. The shopping centre was completely demolished, cleared and levelled by December 2008. During this period Liverpool Vision worked closely with the students of Parklands High School to organise an art project, with the resultant artwork being reproduced and installed on the site hoardings. Throughout this time the team worked closely with the school, sports centre, local businesses and councillors to ensure that the new facility would benefit the community in the Speke area.
Following a short break during the winter period, the second phase of the project the construction of 2 junior and 2 mini football pitches with improved access into the adjacent Parklands School and Austin Rawlinson Recreational Centre commenced in March 2009, and were successfully completed in June 2009. The project will also be installing 2 new infrared CCTV cameras for added security. These new cameras will cover the new playing pitches as well as the perimeter of the facility.
Environmental and sustainability issues were considered during the scheme as the demolition waste from the old shopping centre was recycled on-site to provide the foundation for the new sports and recreational facilities. This significantly reduced the construction impact on the local community by reducing the number of vehicular movements. This recycled foundation layer will also enable the sports pitch to be used all year round, providing a much needed community facility, for the school and local football clubs.
Finally, as part of the project further works were undertaken to demolish and remove a nearby disused petrol station and to generally improve and enhance the environment of the surrounding area.