Liverpool leaders have clarified that the “new Beatles attraction” awarded £2m in the UK Government’s budget last week is for an existing tourism project that will form part of the city’s waterfront transformation.
The announcement last week led to some surprise, with critics saying the city did not need another Beatles museum and the money would be better spent elsewhere.
Liverpool Council has since unveiled details of a “musical destination hub” that has been in the works for several years.
The project, which has the working title The Pool, is led by the council’s culture team, Culture Liverpool, along with its regeneration team and local stakeholders. It aims to make the city a global destination for tourism.
The venue has been championed by newly appointed culture secretary Nadine Dorries, a native of the city.
In a press release, Culture Liverpool said the £2m had been awarded to scope out the “transformative waterfront project”.
Cabinet members Harry Doyle and Sarah Doyle issued a joint statement clarifying that the development was focused on more than the Beatles. They said: “Although some people are dubbing this as a ‘Beatles Museum’, this is only an element of what the proposal offers.”
The attraction will include a creative music hub incorporating a new secondary school for disadvantaged children, additional rehearsal space for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and an immersive visitor experience that could see holographic technology employed to recreate past Beatles performances.
The statement continued: “Ultimately, this will be a centre of excellence in music which we hope will inspire the next generation, providing opportunities for our most disadvantaged children to explore new hobbies and nurture their talent.”
The cabinet members added: “We know that there are some people who may question spending money on these projects when we have such great financial pressures elsewhere, but this money is ringfenced and can only be invested in cultural projects.”
In addition to the £2m, Liverpool also received £20m in the budget as part of the government’s Levelling Up agenda, which will be split between Tate Liverpool and National Museums Liverpool.
Tate Liverpool will use the money to modernise and update its gallery enabling it to accommodate new forms of contemporary art, and to reconfigure the external public realm so it connects more clearly with the Royal Albert Dock Liverpool.
National Museums Liverpool will use the funding to take forward the transformation of the Canning Dock Project, part of its 10-year masterplan of reimagining the city’s waterfront.
Laura Pye, director of National Museums Liverpool, said: “We are incredibly excited and thankful to have successfully secured funding which brings us a step closer to realising our ambitions. The news follows the appointment of a design team last month, who will take forward the transformation of the public realm, which includes new bridges spanning from the Pump House to Mann Island and bringing historic dockside buildings back into use.
“With support from the Levelling Up Fund, National Museums Liverpool and Tate Liverpool are proud to work together on this flagship development for the North West which will see the next evolution of our world-famous waterfront for the benefit of everyone. We will combine our sites, resources, and shared vision for the waterfront to create a new inclusive public realm that connects people with place and drives economic recovery and growth for the region.”
Liverpool mayor Joanne Anderson said the budget announcement would enable the city to move on from being stripped of its Unesco world heritage status earlier this year.
She said: “This announcement feels like a real line in the sand moment in the wake of Unesco’s world heritage decision, and we can now move forward and do things differently.
“This significant new pot of funding will make sure that our docks will continue to be a major draw for tourists and locals alike for many years to come.”
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