Let’s think again about Lime Street & the Futurist


The futurist in its heyday

The decision by SAVE to go to court to try and protect the Futurist and the need to tackle safety issues at the site have given the council the opportunity to think again about the whole of the Lime Street development. Not only is the legacy of the Futurist being ignored by the current proposals but a highly inapproriate, ‘Benidorm style’ property is to be built at what should be an important and unique entry point into our City.

We don’t know the outcome of the legal action which has now been going on for more than 6 months but we do know that there is a huge cost here which has been caused by the council not dealing properly with developers. The delays and the expense have largely come about because the council has not had a strong enough vision for the future for this key site. It should have been tougher from the outset.

I don’t believe that the Futurist as a whole can be saved but I believe that we could yet end up with a development there which incorporates the facade and in its form and function recognises the past and legacy of that site.

This is what I have said to Cllr Malcolm Kennedy the Labour councillor responsible for regeneration.

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,

Leader, Liverpool Liberal democrats,

509 Smithdown Road,

Liverpool 15

 Cllr Malcolm Kennedy,

Cabinet Member for Regeneration,

Liverpool City Council

By E-mail

Dear Malcolm,

Re:       Futurist cinema

The original programme for dealing with Lime Street has been badly set aside by legal moves from SAVE regarding the site; its ‘capturing’ of the Futurist element and the inappropriateness of the proposed development.

I believe that this gives us a final but good opportunity to consider the future of this site. The council has incurred vast expenditure in closing Lime Street and removing Futurist artefacts and putting them safely in storage to prevent danger to pedestrians.

That is a major piece of expenditure which the council should seek to recover from the developers by insisting on a drastic redesign of the proposals to incorporate the Futurist facade in the new build.

The current development is completely unacceptable. It grossly imposes on the Lime Street frontage; completely dwarfs the two pubs which will ‘bookend’ the site and has no relationship to the form, function and history of what has gone before.

I urge you to open discussions with the developers to rectify these errors and create there a design which is acceptable to the people of Liverpool and SAVE and which does not threaten the World Heritage site which is so close to it.

Yours sincerely,


Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,

Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats


I am delighted to have received the following endorsement for my view from the Merseyside Civic Society. This is an organisation I have always respected. Even more so now!!

From the Chair: Peter Brown
Department of Geography & Planning University of Liverpool
The Gordon Stephenson Building 74 Bedford Street South
Liverpool L69 7ZQ fax: 0151 794 3125
tel: 0151 794 3122 (with voicemail) e-mail: pjbbrown@liv.ac.uk
Answer phone : 0151 707 4300 website: http://www.merseycivic.org

13 June 2016

Cllr Richard Kemp,
Liverpool City Council,
Municipal Buildings,
Dale Street,
Liverpool L2 2DH

Dear Cllr Kemp,

Lime Street Rethink
We totally support your call for a complete rethink of the proposal to knock down all of the buildings in Lime Street between the Crown and the Vines. It would be far more than just a shame to demolish buildings that have been part of the Liverpool street scene for many years and an outright scandal to erect in their place the ‘poorly conceived’ structures which have been proposed.
We do not wish to be involved in party politics but we have to say that, if the City Council cares about maintaining and increasing employment in Liverpool arising from the tourism industry, it has to understand that Liverpool’s street scene is one of its major attractions.
Buildings like those proposed for Lime Street and those behind it (fortunately mainly hidden by other buildings) degrade the city – and are simply not of an adequate standard of design and local character to warrant a place in our city.
Yours sincerely
Peter Brown (Dr)

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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1 Response to Let’s think again about Lime Street & the Futurist

  1. I would say that this whole matter has been somewhat of an embarrassment for the Council, when matters end up before the courts you know someone’s messed up.

    I am lacking any structural engineering experience but I am more than aware how other buildings I know around the country have been made secure while works go on, I have debated the futurist and feel it was always the intentions of the Council to let the Futurist simply become so dilapidated saving it’s facade would be impossible and it was never in it’s grand plan for Lime Street.

    It’s simply a false economy tackling these issues in an backwards thinking way, I do hope the Developers and Council now look again how to preserve and secure the Futurist, if they need help I know some experienced developers who have saved many buildings and frontages throughout the UK, its not that difficult.

    Oh and while on subject the last historical building facade I know that was saved, when the builders were securing it, they uncovered the remains of an 11th century castle!

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