Crowdfunding gets Liverpool’s elevated park off the ground
Rejuvenation plan for concrete flyover is likened to New York’s High Line
If the urban planners had had their way in the 1960s motorway traffic would have thundered along elevated highways above the streets of Liverpool on its way to the Mersey docks. Luckily it never happened.
Today all that is left of that brutal concrete vision are two inner city flyovers – widely regarded as white elephant reminders of the post-war love affair with the speeding car.
Now local people have an extraordinary plan to transform the unloved structures into a cycle and pedestrian-friendly parkway-cum-venue which will return a key area of the city to the people.
More than £40,000 has been raised by public donation through civic crowdfunding site Spacehive to begin a feasibility study on whether the Churchill flyover might become a promenade in the sky complete with arts spaces, landscape gardens and coffee shops.
The project has been compared to New York’s High Line – a hugely popular 1.5-mile linear park built on the site of an old railway, which has revitalised an area of Manhattan’s West Side.
Designer and independent retailer Kate Stewart of Friends Of The Flyover – one of a group of local professionals and their supporters campaigning on behalf of the project – said the scheme could bring spread the benefits of city centre regeneration.
“What has become really important to the campaign is how strongly people feel about it. That is the benefit of the crowd funding process. The city has really taken this to heart and seized the ambition,” she said.
At present the Churchill Way soars above the public realm hastening traffic past the municipal magnificence of the Walker Art Gallery, World Museum and the new Central Library acting as a forbidding barrier to the north and south Liverpool.
“It is emotionally grim. It is grey, dank and wet. It is also structurally grim in terms of light and water,” Ms Stewart said.
The plan was hatched in response to a strategic investment document published by Liverpool City Council, which proposed the removal of the flyover, the only surviving part of a wider plan to give Liverpool an urban motorway network in the 1970s which would have seen the M62 brought right down to the banks of the Mersey.
It is estimated the cost of knocking it down would have been up to £4 million – nearly twice as much as it would cost to turn it into a park, it is claimed.
Under the plan the walkways would be rejuvenated and used for staging events followed by the traffic carriageways themselves. Supporters say that in the past the flyovers have been closed without bringing traffic chaos to the city.
Andrew Teacher, policy director of Spacehive, said the funding model had already delivered citizen-led new projects elsewhere in the UK such as a free wi-fi area in Mansfield town centre, a London sculpture walk and transforming a Welsh phone box into an art gallery.
“This represents a growing trend for people taking the public realm into their own hands and using civic crowd funding as a way to enhance the environment. Anyone with a great idea can get it out there,” he said.
- 1 Windows 10: man updates PC, wakes up to find porn slideshow on repeat
- 2 The 'world's most beautiful vagina' has been debunked by science
- 3 John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
- 4 Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
- 5 Doctors declare war on Jeremy Hunt over weekend working 'myths' amid plan for seven day NHS
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...