I’ve been following the saga of Liverpool’s efforts to be able to use their new cruise facilities for cruise turn-rounds. You’ll remember that because the facilities were publicly-funded (at least partly) and were specifically for day-calls by cruise ships, they were originally limited to just that type of use. Then Liverpool City Council repaid some of the money and got the restriction lifted. They seemed to be on a roll, especially when they announced that they had bought the old Cunard Building near the waterfront to be a check-in building and ticket hall, as it used to be in the grand old days before Cunard left Liverpool for Southampton. Well, it seems that it has all come crashing to a halt. In its intended new role the building would have to be able to handle new arrivals into the country and the Border Agency and other bodies have all sorts of requirement that must be met. Doing so would be very expensive, especially as the building isn’t actually at the dock side and therefore new arrivals would have to be conveyed or transported securely from the quayside to the building. That could mean a covered walkway or even a monorail, at great expense. And that’s even if it could be built; that this is a World Heritage site means that these things probably can’t be built.
The truly astonishing aspect is that Liverpool City Council bought the building before they got the consultant’s report into the means and cost of converting it for its planned new usage; indeed, it’s possible that they bought the building before they’d even commissioned the report. I can’t help feeling that someone at Liverpool got far too carried away with history, romance and all that stuff and didn’t look at the practicalities, and now there’s a “D’oh!” moment going on. I’m sure there will be a price to pay, both financial and political. As Malcolm says in his blog post “I think the Council have suddenly realised that building a big B&Q style shed (like Southampton’s new ‘Ocean Terminal’) is a lot cheaper than adapting a historic building.”
Finally, here’s a link to all the posts I’ve done so far on the topic of Liverpool’s cruise terminal.