Capital&Centric, a social impact development firm, has submitted plans for the Littlewoods Project TV and film campus, which will incorporate Liverpool’s former Littlewoods building.
The team is collaborating with Liverpool City Council, the site’s freeholder, and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, the site’s funder. A detailed planning application has been submitted to Liverpool City Council, and new images of the finished project have been revealed.
The plans include restoring and repurposing the 1930s Edge Lane building, as well as reinstalling a working clock on the iconic tower.
On the adjoining land, the plans include two new 20,000 sq.ft. studios for big-budget productions, as well as offices, workshops, studio support facilities, and an education facility. A new roof garden will also provide tenants and visitors with spectacular views of the city.
There are also plans to improve accessibility to the building for the surrounding communities. The former canteen, which was housed in a barrel-vaulted hangar, is to be transformed into a multi-purpose screening and performance zone that will be available to site occupiers and then open to the public after hours. Five small-format cinema screens, an outdoor performance space, and a permanent food hall will be included.
Capital&Centric also wants to make the derelict site greener and more welcoming to locals. Plans call for a lush, green courtyard open to the public, as well as extensive greenery and landscaping honouring local screen stars past and present.
A new public link between the site and Wavertree Park is also planned. This is not part of the planning application, but it is a vision shared by Liverpool City Council and Capital&Centric to improve access and connectivity. The teams will collaborate to obtain the necessary permissions to enable its delivery and future maintenance.
As part of Mayor Steve Rotheram’s vision to transform the city region into the ‘Hollywood of the North’, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has committed up to £17 million to develop The Depot, two 22,000 sq ft film and TV studios now open off Liverpool’s Edge Lane and managed by Liverpool Film Office, and larger studios in the adjacent Littlewoods building.
The Littlewoods development is expected to generate approximately 4000 full-time equivalent jobs in the region’s creative sector.
The submission comes after an extensive consultation earlier this summer, with overwhelming positive feedback from people eager to see a new chapter for the historic building secured.
John Moffat, Joint Managing Director of Capital&Centric, said:
“From the Batman to Taylor Swift, Liverpool’s stellar reputation as having every ingredient to make shoots a possibility has drawn big stars and production companies here. The Littlewoods Project is all about doubling-down on the city being a compelling home for the sector, providing a missing piece of the jigsaw with more indoor studio space and vital support facilities.
“People have known for some time that the site is down to become a TV and film destination, but it’s a massive step forward to work up the detailed plans and show people what we’ve got in store for this iconic site. We listened to the feedback from our consultation and have made sure the Littlewoods Project won’t just be buzzing with those working in the creative industries, but will also open up to the community. We’ve done that with the lush gardens and the screening & performance space, where people will, for the first time in the site’s history, be able to visit and hang out.”
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
“The Liverpool City Region has a longstanding role as the country’s cultural capital and the development of the Littlewoods building is central to ensuring that we remain there. Establishing ourselves as an international hub for film and TV with world class facilities will be a really important string to our bow.
“We have become a magnet for film and TV productions from around the world in recent years – making us the UK’s most filmed location outside of London. But I want to take our region to the next level, to stake our claim as the ‘Hollywood of the North’.
“The £17m we’re investing into both Littlewoods and The Depot will be central in turning that ambition into a reality – helping us to cater for every stage of the production process and creating new jobs and training opportunities for local people.”