Plans submitted to Liverpool City Council yesterday (16 November) on behalf of developer Capital & Centric would create two 1,850m2 studios for TV and film productions within the Edge Lane landmark, which has been derelict for 20 years.
The proposals to retrofit and restore the 1930s Art Deco building and clocktower also include offices, workshops, studios and support and education facilities.
In addition, a multi-purpose screening and performance zone and food hall will be created in a hangar space which, the project team says, will be open to the public out of hours.
The planning submission comes five years after Capital & Centric first revealed plans to create film and TV production facilities within the long-empty former Littlewoods headquarters, which suffered from a blaze in September 2018.
The fire damaged the west wing of the five-storey building, stalling proposals for the Littlewoods restoration.
Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) had been due to take up space in the Littlewoods building under original plans but this is no longer part of the proposals. Capital & Centric says it is working with the university to ensure some connection with LJMU or other institutions.
Shedkm director Mark Sidebotham said the project would restore a ‘much-loved icon’ to Liverpool through restoration and ‘bold new interventions’.
He said: ‘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, said Sidebotham.
‘This much-loved but neglected city icon will be key in capitalising on Liverpool’s increasing reputation as a go-to place for culture.’
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has committed up to £17 million to develop a neighbouring site, The Depot, holding two 2,043m2 film and TV studios. The entire scheme, which has been dubbed a ‘Hollywood of the North’ is estimated at £70 million.
The main tenant is expected to be south-west London-based Twickenham Studios, which is planning to set up a northern outpost on the site.
The dilapidated Littlewoods Pools building was once home to the football predictions betting game that swept the nation. SAVE Britain’s Heritage has previously said it was ‘probably’ designed by Scottish architect Gerald de Courcey Fraser.
Shedkm originally drew up plans in the mid-00s to convert the structure into a ‘digital village’ featuring 250 apartments, a 100-bedroom hotel, offices, shops, leisure space and a crèche.
There were then plans to turn it into a school campus before Shedkm started again on plans to convert it in 2012.
Location Edge Lane, Liverpool
Local authority Liverpool City Council
Type of project Mixed use, destination project for film and TV
Planning consultation Avision Young
Structural engineer Arup
Quantity surveyor Arcadis
Funding Public and private sector
Gross internal floor area 25,548m²