The continued growth and success of the Baltic Triangle has not gone unnoticed. Liverpool Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram has been an enthusiastic supporter of the area since his election in May and is a keen advocate for its growing tech, digital and creative industries.
In the last year alone, the Baltic has seen a wealth of inward investment as the area continues to evolve into a location of increasing importance to Liverpool’s cultural and economic development.
We invited Mayor Rotheram to the Baltic Triangle to discuss his economic vision for the area, the importance of its cultural offer and to give an update on the proposed re-development of St James train station.
Q. Your plan is to make Liverpool the most digitally connected area in the UK. How do you turn this ambition into a reality?
Well, we know what we need to do so now we need to get the funding to enable us to achieve that ambition.
We have the Hartree Centre supercomputer within the Liverpool City region and we also have the Hibernia Express fibre optic cable link which goes through Nova Scotia, the United States and all the way to mainland China. If we can link those two things up then that gives us a distinct, competitive advantage over anyone else in the country.
If we could then also link that to clean, green, renewable energy we’d have the duel benefit of big digital connectivity (with the ability to push large amounts of data around the world) as well as creating innovations around renewable, predictable energy. This would be a huge boost to us in attracting inward investment from big international blue-chip companies who are committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2025. The future really is bright.
Q. You have been very supportive of the Baltic Triangle’s burgeoning tech and creative industries. How big a part does the Baltic Triangle play in your vision for
Liverpool’s future digital connectivity?
The area is already home to a thriving cluster of creative businesses but, there is a massive and untapped potential to make this one of the main catalysts for the development of our future economy. Creativity and entrepreneurialism are at the heart of our DNA and you can clearly see those qualities in the businesses that are transforming this area. There is a massive ambition for the area in terms of improving connectivity, expanding commercial space and attracting big blue-chip business to complement the area’s established and emerging SME’s.
I look forward to continuing to work with and support the area and its business community. It exemplifies so many of the qualities that make me optimistic about the future of our City Region.
Q. Developments such as the Brewery Village and the forthcoming site at Norfolk Street are creating new employment spaces within buildings associated with Liverpool’s industrial past. Are these developments symbolic of what’s happening in Liverpool at the moment?
Liverpool was the gateway to the first industrial revolution and the regeneration of these buildings gives us the opportunity to become the digital gateway to the fourth industrial revolution. If we get our offer right we can really start to take advantage of the natural assets that we have in the city region.
If there was a single developer or occupier promising to deliver a million square feet of new employment space we would be hailing it as a game-changer. But this could be even more important. The energy, invention and entrepreneurialism that is taking root in the Baltic Triangle have real transformational potential.
Filming by Ryan Fallon, Filmmaker/ Photographer