Plans to turn the former Littlewoods building in Liverpool into one of the biggest film and TV production facilities in the UK are set to take a step forward with the local council revealing more details about its plans for the site.
The former art-deco HQ of the Littlewoods empire has been vacant for decades and is in a state of severe dilapidation, including fire damage in 2018.
Liverpool City Council has set out proposals to begin a major redevelopment in two phases, with approval being sought to begin an £8 million remediation of the building in early 2022.
If approved, phase one funding will come from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and be granted to developers Capital & Centric to carry out site investigations, remediation and main scheme design works.
If given the go-ahead the studio complex will include an 85,000 sq ft of studio and ancillary space for Twickenham Film Studios, to be operated by TIME+SPACE Studios.
John Moores University plans to take over 75,000 sq ft for an education space that will include and Entertainment Technology Centre to ensure local young people develop high-level skills to work in the industry.
A further 95,000 sq ft of flexible employment space for creative industries, which will be advertised to market for expressions of interest.
The council believes the studios could lead to around 4,000 new jobs being created in the area.
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Littlewoods Studios would also complement the recently completed studio, known as The Depot. The two 20,000 sq ft temporary filming stages, managed by the Liverpool Film Office, opened last month.
Councillor Sarah Doyle, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet member for economic development, said: “The Littlewoods Studios scheme has the potential to be a real game changer for the city’s TV and film sector, underlining our growth as a truly world class location.
“Liverpool’s offer has blossomed over the past decade to the point that it feels like your bumping into a TV crew every other day or seeing the city on the TV or in the cinema every other week. The move from being the ‘go to city’ for exterior shoots to one that can provide productions with the studios and talent supply to match our stunning backdrops is one the city needs to deliver, as the economic and educational benefits are there for all to see.”
Capital & Centric acquired the old Littlewoods Pools building in 2017, proclaiming they wanted to turn it into the “Pinewood of the north.”
Twickenham Studios announced their plans to open a new £50 million northern base at the studios in 2018, and reaffirmed that commitment later in the year following a fire that caused substantial damage to the building.