Helping to make the best use of land in the Liverpool City Region
How could a “brownfield first” approach help us make the best use of land in the Liverpool City Region? This was the challenge posed to Zoe Nixon and Aidan Semple, two students from the University of Liverpool, as part of an internship programme for the Liverpool City Region Year of the Environment.
The initiative, supported by the University of Liverpool and CPRE, explored the potential to accelerate brownfield regeneration in the Liverpool City Region.
“A brownfield site is a piece of land that has previously had some use, such as industrial or commercial,” explained Zoe. “A ‘brownfield first’ approach to development dramatically reduces the pressure to build on our vital countryside and green spaces. By making best use of suitable brownfield sites, the development we need can be made in the places we need them, while our vital green spaces are allowed to thrive.”
Contextualising brownfield sites
The first aim of the project was to work with each of the six local authorities to create a “brownfield mapping layer” that could be combined with other mapping information, to enable a better understanding of the location of sites in the context of existing infrastructure. This can then be used to help steer future decisions.
“Although each of the local authorities had a Brownfield Register of sites in their area, there wasn’t really an integrated map covering the whole Liverpool City Region and we just felt that seeing the bigger picture could help everyone,” commented Aidan.
The second aim of the project was to engage with a selection of key stakeholders to begin to explore the potential to accelerate brownfield regeneration, looking to develop future scenarios and draft recommendations that could be further debated and advanced in the coming year.
“Obviously, additional investment is critical if brownfield sites are to be used to their full potential”, Aidan pointed out, “so we were very encouraged to see the recent call by Steve Rotheram for an additional £200million from Government to help the regeneration effort, this sounds like a really positive first step.”
“In addition to pulling together the list of sites”, Zoe commented, “we also looked at access to publicly accessible green space and public transport as other ways to analyse which brownfield sites would be most suitable for development”.
The CPRE team was very impressed. “Although this was a relatively short internship, Zoe and Aidan have done an amazing job to reach this point, and we look forward to carrying their work forward with planners and politicians in the months ahead with support of colleagues across the CPRE network,” explained Jackie Copley, Planning Manager for CPRE Lancashire, Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester.
Building on the project
An initial opportunity to discuss the work will be at this week’s first Environmental Summit for the Liverpool City Region, Towards a Green Future, where we hope that brownfield regeneration can be prioritised as an important building block to the future of the region.
If you too are interested in protecting and enhancing your countryside and urban green spaces, and want to make a difference in your local area, get involved by becoming a CPRE member, volunteering, donating or simply sharing our messages with your own network of people.
Together we can push for change for the better.