Work has officially started on site as part of plans to transform Liverpool’s former Littlewoods building into a “world-class” film and TV campus.

Developers Capital&Centric have begun work to prep the 1930s Edge Lane icon for restoration. The developer is working with Liverpool City Council as freeholder of the site and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority as funders.

A remediation team has today started on site. The first step will be a comprehensive strip out of the buildings while securing their structural integrity, preparing them for repurposing and restoration. This first phase of work – expected to run until next summer – will pave the way for main contractors to move in, with two new 20,000sq.ft studios for big budget productions the first to be constructed on the neighbouring land.

John Moffat, Joint Managing Director of Capital&Centric, said: “Whilst Liverpool is the UK’s most filmed location outside London, the city needs to keep upping the ante. Not only will The Littlewoods Project draw in productions, it will unlock opportunities in the creative sectors for locals for years to come. Having submitted detailed plans to Liverpool City Council last month, getting started on site is a major moment and the beginning of realising shared ambitions for the Littlewoods Project.

“There’s loads to be done before the main restoration can get going. The next six months will see an intensive period of remediation activity inside the iconic building, which will then pave the way for construction of the new build studios and Littlewoods’ re-birth as a cultural destination that Liverpool can rightly proud of.”

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has committed up to £17m to develop The Depot – two 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 as part of a Mayor Rotheram’s vision to turn the city region into the ‘Hollywood of the North’.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “The past few years have seen our area become a backdrop to some of the biggest film and TV productions on our screens. It’s safe to say that we’re building an enviable reputation as the most filmed location outside of London – but I’m never content with resting on our laurels.

“The £17m we’ve invested into Littlewoods and The Depot will ensure that our area can continue to cater for every stage of the production process and attract the thousands of jobs and training opportunities it will bring with it. Today takes us one massive step closer to turning that vision into reality and staking our claim as the Hollywood of the North and I can’t wait to see this development start to take shape.”

The planned new sound stages would take around a year to be built and become operational. The programme for repurposing the existing building is longer due to the complexity of dealing with the existing structures which are set to feature spaces for offices, workshops, studio support facilities and an education facility.

Jon Creamer

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