Plans for The Littlewoods Project – a TV and film campus designed by shedkm – incorporating Liverpool’s former Littlewoods building have been submitted by social impact developers Capital&Centric.
The team have lodged a detailed planning application with Liverpool City Council and revealed new images of what the project will look like when complete.
The plans include the restoration and repurposing of the 1930s Edge Lane building, with a working clock reinstated on the iconic tower.
As well as two new 20,000ft2 studios for big budget productions on the adjoining land, the plans also feature spaces for offices, workshops, studio support facilities and an education facility. Tenants and visitors will also be able to take in spectacular views across the city from a new roof garden.
There are also plans to make the building more accessible to 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, which will be for the use of occupiers on site, and then open up to the public out of hours. It’ll feature five small format cinema screens, an outdoor performance space and permanent food-hall.
Capital&Centric also want to make the site, derelict for decades, greener and welcoming for locals. Plans include a lush, green courtyard which will be open to the community, as well as extensive greenery and landscaping that will pay homage to local screen stars past and present. Elsewhere, a new public link between the site and Wavertree Park is planned.
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has committed £17m to develop The Depot – two 22,000ft2 film and TV studios now open off Liverpool’s Edge Lane – and larger studios in the adjacent Littlewoods building as part of Mayor Steve Rotheram’s vision to turn the city region into the ‘Hollywood of the North’.
It’s anticipated that the Littlewoods development will create around 4,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the region’s creative sector.
The submission follows an extensive consultation earlier this summer, with the feedback overwhelmingly positive with people keen to see a new chapter for the historic building secured.
Mark Sidebotham, Director of shedkm, said: “shedkm began regenerating iconic structures in Liverpool 25 years ago, and here we have returned to our re-use roots with The Littlewoods Project. With every project we design we work with the existing building, consolidating its inherent strengths and emotional connections and adding bold new interventions where necessary. Our designs are always considered as a piece of the city, with the connections and spaces between as important as the individual buildings in expressing history, community and place.
This much-loved but neglected city icon will be key in capitalising on Liverpool’s increasing reputation as a go-to place for culture.”
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.”