Lime Street Gateway is a unique location: the iconic Lime Street Station at the centre, surrounded by the largest concentration of Grade I, II* and II Listed Buildings in the UK and the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. However poor urban development decisions in the 1950s & 1960s, combined with an uncoordinated land & property management and anti-social issues, meant that the area was significantly under-performing against its potential.
Kerri Farnsworth was appointed in late-2002 to lead the project. The first task was to lead the development of a new Strategic Vision for the area in collaboration with key stakeholders – namely Network Rail, Liverpool City Council, English Partnerships (now Homes England), UN-ICEMOS, Merseytravel (Liverpool City Region’s strategic transport authority) English Heritage (now Historic England) and Merseyrail.
DESIGN & DELIVERY
Kerri then led all aspects of the design and development of the complex £60m initiative. The site had a complex array of ownerships & rights at ground, subterranean and airspace levels; significant differences in levels; and sat within a highly-sensitive heritage environment. She led the design competition to appoint a professional design team headed by Glenn Howells Architects and Urban Initiatives, with support from Civic Engineers (then Martin Stockley Associates), BDSP, Speirs & Major, Liverpool Biennial and the renowned Berlin-based public artist Simon Faithfull. Required Planning, Listed Building and Conservation Area consents were secured (which involved legal challenges up to the European High Court), along with Statutory Legislation amendments and strike-offs. A complex lengthy Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) was also successfully completed.
The initiative required major highways realignment, which had to take into account the then proposed ‘Merseytram’ tram system. The site’s location next to two busy live railway stations, a bus station and busy highways required careful deconstruction of a large 1960s Concourse House tower block and retail parade. The huge arched gable-end of Lime Street Station was re-opend for the first time since the Victorian era. 4000 m2 of high quality new public realm was created to deal with level differences and enable compliant access routes, along with 2 new mechanised passenger entrances to the overground and underground railway stations. A 30-story landmark glass elliptical tower was also originally planned for the site but was negated by the adverse market conditions created by the 2009 recession.
COMMUNICATIONS & PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT
Throughout this 5-year process Kerri led a full communications and public engagement programme – including public exhibitions and consultation events, a dedicated website, etc. The quality of this work, along with record attendances and excellent feedback, was recognised by the UK PAMADA Award for ‘Excellence in Communications & Public Engagement’.
Kerri also worked several times with Liverpool Biennial on public art installations and competitions at Lime Street. These included:-
- ‘Happy Together’, a colourful dynamic installation within Lime Street Station, by acclaimed South Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa in 2004
- appointment of acclaimed artist Simon Faithfull to deliver an innovative live art project & installation that would permanently embedded within the fabric of ‘new’ Lime Street Gateway. Simon followed the route of 19th Century emigrees by ship from Port of Liverpool who founded the new town of ‘Liverpool’ in Nova Scotia. SImon made daily animated pixellated images from the journey using a “Palm Pilot (an early handheld smart device) and sent postcards of these images each day to 100 Liverpool citizens randomly selected from the telephone directory. The images are now engraved in footpaths, public realm paving and Station glazing, as well as in public locations in Liverpool in Nova Scotia. A book detailing the project, “Liverpool-to-Liverpool”, was published in 2009 by Liverpool University Press.
- working with Artichoke and the world-renowned La Machine on the early feasibility & logistical stages for the creation of “La Princesse”, one of the acclaimed productions for the city’s year as European Capital of Culture in 2008. “La Princesse” was a 37 tonne / 50 ft (15m) wide mechanical spider that ‘awoke’ within Concourse Tower, a vacant 15-floor 1960s tower block being deconstructed as part of the Lime Street Gateway scheme, before climbing down the building and taking a 5-day walk through the city centre before disappearing under the River Mersey.
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
- UN-ICEMOS: exemplar of development best practice in a heritage-sensitive environment
- UK Station Of The Year
- National Transport Award
- Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Award
- National Railway Heritage Award
- LDA Street Design Award
- PAMADA UK Award