Massive news for the Baltic Triangle area (and the Liverpool development industry as a whole) as the new Chinatown site has been given planning permission for an amazing urban farm project to be managed by the people behind the Baltic Farm.
Plans for the new site were approved by Liverpool City Council yesterday and gives the green light to one of the most exciting and innovative schemes in the City region. Located on the corner of Great George Street and St James Street, the scheme is a great example of planners, developers, and the community coming together to produce something truly unique.
The Baltic Farm has been operating in the Baltic since last year and is a community ‘meanwhile use’ until the main Great George Street (GGS) Developments project (commonly referred to as the new China Town) will occupy this part of the site. The land behind The Wedding House is the final phase of the GGS project – which is due to reach this area in circa 2 years’ time.
Baltic Farm will expand its operations in the new partnership and will be creating a new and imaginative space for food growing production, awareness events, and community hubs. Prior to planning approval, Baltic Farm has already started engaging with the community and local stakeholders and have held events on the site and begun growing / allotment activities. Baltic Farm incorporates a permanent research lab, offices, and growing space for social enterprise Farm Urban who has been involved in the process from the outset.
The planners, community, and all nearby stakeholders and businesses have all been very supportive of the Baltic Farm proposals from the outset. With the recent expansion and development of the Baltic Triangle area, the planners were mostly concerned with the impact the development would have in terms of traffic and car parking. To this effect, they have conducted various transport assessments, parking provision surveys and beat surveys throughout the week at different times.
As the Baltic Farm ethos is centered around sustainability, the project heavily promoted the central location and the accessibility in terms of public transport, cycling and walking to and from the site.
The Baltic Farm will bring a new perspective to public space and facilities in the Baltic Triangle. As the area grows in terms of its nightlife, families and schools are finding less and less space for their children to play safely. This new offering has been designed to be accessible for all ages and to encourage a sense of community through shared learning. The project hopes to foster an interest in plants and their connection to art and creativity with the idea that participants will develop their skills base, connect with others, and become more active.
The over-arching vision is to create a socially-transformative, community-embedded urban farm and cultural events space that connects and educates people, builds a local food network, fills homes with fresh local food, and creates engaging and meaningful jobs. Through the project they aim to:
- Grow fresh high-quality food right in the heart of the city all year round with minimal environmental impact.
- Reconnect people with real food, empowering them to make informed choices that will lead to a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.
- Create a space that provides a true sense of place, where all members of our community can come and feel welcome, enjoy good food, take part in empowering workshops, watch inspiring performances and enjoy amazing events.
This project is another great example of the Baltic business coming together and working in consultation with the area. Another local business involved in the scheme is Unit3 was involved in the design of the Baltic Farm in October 2018 and has worked with the stakeholders since to ensure that the design fulfills and meets all their requirements and that the planning process ran smoothly and was successful.
In addition, the Baltic Farm will provide workshops, lectures, and citizen science to local schools as well as being open to the general public. Baltic Farm also intends to provide in excess of 10 jobs paid in the first year as well as providing a volunteer program in exchange for training and experience operating a vertical farm and managing an allotment. There have already been massive amounts of interest in the volunteer program.