What's next for the £5bn scheme aiming to transform Liverpool?

Princes Dock is part of Liverpool Waters
-Credit: (Image: Colin Lane/Liverpool Echo)


Described as an "ambitious 30-year vision to completely transform the city’s northern docks", the Liverpool Waters plans were approved more than a decade ago.

The £5bn scheme is being delivered by property giants Peel and spans 2.3km along the banks of the River Mersey. The full site stretches from Princes Dock to Bramley-Moore Dock, where Everton FC's new stadium is nearing completion.

Its aim is to regenerate the post-industrial landscape of Liverpool's northern docks through a wide range of residential, commercial and cultural developments and it was granted outline planning permission in 2013. In the years since, some progress has been made, including a number of office and residential developments which have sprung up around Princes Dock.

READ MORE: 'Good food culture is a sign of a maturing city'

READ MORE: New waterfront hotels could be built as part of city centre masterplan

On Tuesday (May 28), the ECHO reported that at least one waterfront hotel could be constructed as part of Liverpool Waters. This comes as Peel has refined its masterplan for the project, following a consultation on the project.

As Everton's new stadium is nearing completion and in response to the effect that a rise in home working is having on city centres, the Liverpool Waters plan will be tweaked in line with the consultation's results - with a full announcement expected next month.

Here, we look at what has happened so far with Liverpool Waters and what is to come.

What's happened already?

The Liverpool Waters project is split into five neighbourhoods - Central Docks, Clarence Docks, King Edward Triangle, Princes Dock and Northern Docks.

More than 200 new homes have been built in Central Docks since the scheme began but most of the completed work has been seen in Princes Dock, which is the first phase of Liverpool Waters. A number of apartment and office buildings have been constructed around Princes Dock in the past decade.

In the Northern Docks, Everton FC's new stadium has dominated. Ground was broken in 2021 and the stadium is set to be ready for the beginning of the 2025/26 football season.

Everton had not chosen Bramley-Moore as their location for their new £750m home when the Liverpool Waters plans were initially launched, but the scheme includes ancillary plans to develop the area around the ground.

A photograph taken on May 13, 2024 showing the construction of Everton's new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock
A photograph taken on May 13, 2024 showing the construction of Everton's new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock -Credit:PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

In general, the idea of development in Liverpool's docklands has been opposed by a number of heritage organisations. English Heritage objected to the plans and the Liverpool Waters scheme was cited as a factor behind the controversial decision to revote Liverpool's World Heritage status in 2021.

In response to that decision, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: "A deeply disappointing recommendation from UNESCO. We are proud of our history but our heritage is a vital part of our regeneration.

"I'd urge them to take up our invitation to visit rather than taking their decision sat around a table on the other side of the world."

What's next?

The next milestone for Liverpool Waters would be the opening of the Isle of Man Ferry Terminal. Work began on the terminal at Princes Half Tide Dock in 2019 with an initial planned completion date of August 2021.

However, it has been hit by a number of delays since and costs have risen significantly. The expectation is that the new terminal will open at some point this year.

The Central Docks part of the scheme will be home to a range of developments, including a park, in the future. Last March, Liverpool City Council approved plans for what is being called 'Central Park' - a 4.7 acre green space just south of Collingwood Dock. Central Docks will also include new residential and commercial developments - as well as a new cultural building.

How Central Park at Liverpool Waters could look
How Central Park at Liverpool Waters could look -Credit:Peel L&P

In Clarence Docks, Peel wants to build a mix of residential developments, including townhouses and apartments. It wishes to develop community space, retail and workspaces to exist alongside the Ten Streets area.

Another significant project making up part of Liverpool Waters is a cluster of skyscrapers in an industrial estate near the city centre.

In March, Liverpool City Council's cabinet agreed to a £1.5m deal that would enable the construction of residential skyscrapers on the King Edward Triangle site. Peel sold the site near the waterfront to KEIE Limited in a move that will see a high-rise residential scheme comprising 1,200 apartments built at the estate.

KEIE Limited is part of the TJ Morris group which owns Home Bargains. KEIE is working with Hugh Frost, whose Beetham Organisation built the 40 floor West Tower in Liverpool.

Next month, Peel will present its revised masterplan for Liverpool Waters to the city council. Due to the fact that Everton's stadium is nearing completion and the impact of home working on city centres in the years since Peel published its first masterplan, the company carried out a consultation to refine the plan.

The feedback saw requests for the masterplan to include more public green spaces and further preservation to unique elements of the docks; through the creation of more dockside open space. People who responded also asked for a more diverse and affordable housing offer - and for community, connectivity and accessibility to be at the heart of the new masterplan.

Included in the revised plan is the possibility for multiple hotels to be built on the waterfront. Peel intends for one to be constructed next to the Liverpool Cruise Terminal and is currently looking for a hotel operator to develop the site.

The revised plan also includes the new Everton stadium, which wasn’t part of the earlier masterplan. The new plans are set to include additional new spaces for visitors, as well as designing the surrounding area to complement the Blues' new home, which is set to open for the start of the 2025/26 football season. The Northern Docks part of the scheme will include a predominantly residential neighbourhood at Nelson Docks.

Looking to the future, Chris Capes, director of development for Liverpool Waters, said: “Liverpool Waters now has greater certainty over the new cruise liner terminal, and we are actively looking at all of the fantastic development opportunities this presents at prime locations within the Princes Dock neighbourhood. We are shortly to go out to market seeking a hotel operator to develop the site opposite the proposed cruise terminal site. We are also in discussions with leisure operators to develop complementary activities alongside what we already have with the sauna and open water swimming.

"We are most excited to bring forward the site of the current temporary cruise liner terminal. This is the most prominent plot in Liverpool Waters so it is essential we work with an operator who will deliver a high-quality development to benefit Liverpool Waters and the wider city. The footfall that the cruise liner terminal brings will be a huge benefit for developing this plot.

"Our master planning supports the opportunity here for at least one waterfront hotel to accommodate the growing number of tourists expected to visit the city over the coming years.”

The Liverpool Daily Post newsletter delves into the biggest stories on Merseyside

Win a 55" Hisense TV and American-style fridge-freezer worth £2,200 to enhance your UEFA Euro experience