Sir Terry Leahy’s vision for Liverpool
Sir Terry Leahy, chief executive of Tesco, is contributing to the renaissance of his home city as a board member of urban regeneration company Liverpool Vision. Liverpool Vision is steering the transformation of the city centre and is set to join forces with its suburban neighbour Liverpool Land Development Company to create a city-wide regeneration body. Development activity continues apace, with Grosvenor’s 40 building Liverpool One project under construction and Peel’s 50-building Liverpool Waters scheme announced last month.
With Liverpool Waters and Liverpool One, the city has two mega-schemes in the pipeline. Is there enough market demand for both of them?
When I was growing up in Liverpool the city was number three in the country for shopping. Since then it has dropped down the table. The Paradise Project’s Liverpool One will bring the city back up to number four. Peel’s development is further into the future – in finding a market it has to be viewed over 40 to 50 years. It is fantastic to have a company of Peel’s track record making a commitment of that level. Peel is already committed to the city, as owner of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company and Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
Will development be sufficient to attract people to the city?
People will come to the city because of the quality of its life, not because of the industry you have nearby. Industries nowadays can go where they want to be so locations have got to be attractive to them.
What are the lessons from Liverpool Vision's efforts to date?
Strong civic leadership is key. Liverpool Vision has been very important as it has set out a strategic framework for investors in the city so that they can see what they are investing in – they have certainty and confidence.
And what are the greatest challenges for the future?
We have to maintain and keep the momentum, so the more you achieve, the higher you set the barriers. The problems you face in planning can exhaust the process. After physical development you have to make sure you get the economic development in terms of employment and training.
6 March 2012