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Balfour Beatty appointed to construct Lime Street Gateway

The final stage of Liverpool’s Lime Street Gateway project is set to begin with the appointment of Balfour Beatty Regional Civil Engineering to construct an exciting new area of public space at the front of the station.

The award of the contract marks a milestone in the project which is designed to transform the present area into an attractive gateway to the city. Liverpool Vision, the city’s Economic Development Company, the Homes and Communities Agency (formerly English Partnerships), Liverpool City Council, Network Rail and Merseytravel are working together to deliver the project, which is funded through investment from ERDF, English Partnerships and Northwest Regional Development Agency and the Railways Heritage Trust.

The Gateway has been designed by award winning practice Glenn Howells Architects, working to a detailed brief from the project partners. It uses gentle slopes and steps to address the difference in levels from the station concourse to Lime Street itself, and will help to create a more direct pedestrian link to the city centre. It includes seating areas using carefully positioned steps, an area of lime tree planting, and feature lighting to highlight the station’s magnificent façade. Renowned artist Simon Faithfull has been commissioned to design a series of etchings which will be incorporated in the glazing to the station arches and in the surrounding paving. The paving materials will be natural to reflect the setting of the gateway overlooking the city’s Cultural Quarter.

Completion of the project is due in Spring 2010. 

Work on dismantling Concourse House and the row of shops that have obscured Lime Street Station’s listed Victorian arched gable end since the 1960s was started by North West-based demolition contractor Walter Forshaw Ltd in July 2008, and is now close to completion.

Despite the challenges of working in an area of heavy footfall immediately adjoining a main line station, demolition has been carried out without any major disruption or inconvenience to rail and road users or neighbouring premises. Work on stripping out the interior of the buildings continued even when goliath mechanical spider ‘La Machine’ chose Concourse House as a ‘nest’ during Capital of Culture celebrations in September.

Forshaw’s demolition work has received extremely positive feedback from the Considerate Constructors Scheme, an independent initiative by the construction industry to encourage ‘best practice beyond statutory requirements’, based on its consideration of three main measures of performance – the environment, the workforce and the public.

Eliot Lewis-Ward, the Homes and Communities Agency’s Area Director, said:  “This has been a hugely complex programme and we would like to thank users of the station and the local business community for their patience and also for their continued support for the project. 

“We are also delighted that the demolition aspect of the project has received industry recognition for its good working practices.”

“Our focus has always been firmly on opening up the front of the station, complementing St George’s plateau and transforming the landscape of this part of the city.  We are confident that the outcome is going to be a major improvement for the city.”

Liverpool City Council Leader Cllr Warren Bradley said: “When the people of Liverpool put Concourse House at the top of a ‘Blot on the Landscape’ poll, they sent a clear message that they wanted to be proud of this part of the city.  The new space will allow people to flow across to the World Heritage site or into our wonderful shopping areas and, most importantly, the station will be easily accessible by everyone.”

Paul Brown, Regional Director (North West), Balfour Beatty Regional Civil Engineering, said: “We are delighted to be selected to deliver such a prestigious project which will create a great first impression to the thousands of people who pass through this busy part of the city.”

Martin Pain, Associate Director of Glenn Howells Architects, said: “We are proud to have contributed design input as part of a project team for the development of such an important area of public space.”

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