Liverpool coach park expands

Work to expand Liverpool Coach Park is getting underway.

Situated on Riverside Drive two miles south of the city centre, the facility currently hosts a maximum of ten coaches. By next April it should be able to accommodate 30. The new facility is part of a £45m highways programme to improve the city centre’s environment and economy.

The expanded facility, which will see the infilling of an embankment with a walled roadside boundary, has been planned to accommodate Liverpool’s boom in coach visitors. Last year 160,000 more tourists came by coach than those who arrived via the city’s cruise terminal.

A spokesperson from Liverpool City Council said that behind this rise in coach visitors is the fact UK inbound tourism has grown massively for the city, which comes on the back of being selected European Capital of Culture and developments like M&S Bank Arena, the Anfield stadium expansion and the wider usage of venues like Anglican Cathedral to Aintree Racecourse. The cruise sector is growing too and the city has received a new terminal, which received planning approval earlier this year.

By trebling capacity, the new coach park is believed to help reduce congestion in Liverpool city centre and is seen as a key element in a multi-million-pound highways programme to make it greener and easier to navigate.

To be built by Liverpool City Council’s contractor GRAHAM, the coach park also signals a new phase in the £45m Liverpool City Centre Connectivity (LCCC) programme, which aims to improve the city’s international appeal with its £4bn a year visitor economy expected to grow by 25% over the next ten years.

As well as the coach park, the next phase of LCCC will also see the development of a City Bus Hub. Liverpool City Council is applying for a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) for the proposed bus hub on Old Haymarket.  This is due to be heard by the Highways Committee before the end of the year.  As part of the LCCC’s aim, the scheme has seen the removal of bus stops to improve traffic flow and new pavements to complement the new Victoria Street Car Park and recent refurbishment of the Metquarter retail and leisure hub.

LCCC is being supported by a £38.4m grant from the Local Growth Fund with city council match funding of £8.7m.

Operator’s view

Richard Bamber, Managing Partner of Anthony’s Travel of Runcorn, noted Liverpool has recently had a problem with parked coaches being damaged at temporary parking facilities at the Adelphi Hotel car park. He also notes there has been reports of fuel siphoning from parked coaches in the city, but said this is not a problem confined only to Liverpool.

Richard said: “If you have local knowledge, then it’s not the worst place to go at all in terms of parking. If you drive along Dock Road, normally you will find somewhere to park without charge. The problem is when you get coach operators without knowledge. But you can generally pick up on where to go on the various forums.”

On the Riverside Drive site, he said: “It’s a nice area, but it is a remote location. It’s on the old Albert Dock site.

“Liverpool has had some coach parking problems in the past, but it has been working heavily with CPT to address these. It has been working towards its Coach Friendly Status. Liverpool has been proactive with tourism. It’s attitude to coach tourism may not be perfect, but this may be due to lack of government support and financial restraints.”

Richard is not surprised at the increase of coach tourism into Liverpool. He said: “The city has had some major developments. Being made the European Capital of Culture in 2008 has helped. There is a lot of history, some of which people might be unaware of. I’ve noticed there are more cruise lines going there.”

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