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Ford investment drives South Liverpool regeneration . . .

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Motor giant Ford's decision to build its new X400 Jaguar model at the manufacturing plant at Halewood has catalysed a series of large-scale property developments in the area, from the regeneration of Speke Garston and the former Bryant and May factory, to a major re-use of the former Liverpool Airport.

Ford's move, after taking over Jaguar last month, was given the impetus of £45 million of government grants this week and made the Speke Garston Partnership more confident of attracting companies and jobs into the currently depressed South Liverpool area, according to its chief executive Bob Lane.

Backed by English Partnerships and Liverpool City Council, the company's 'key objective' is to redevelop the 146ha of derelict and vacant land around the old Liverpool Airport site. It is working with developer Inter City on a new 40ha commerce park and is about to announce its preferred developer to re-use the listed airport terminal and hangars on the site. One of the two shortlisted teams - Taylor Young Architects, Parry Boardman, Morris architects and contractor David Mclean - has proposed turning the famous Art Deco terminal building into a hotel, with a civil aviation museum and perhaps a David Lloyd tennis centre in the hangars. A decision is expected next week.

The adjacent Bryant and May complex, meanwhile, is the subject of a £30 million Urban Splash initiative to create a new mixed-use business village. It has already put back 50 jobs in small units and a film studios and is to prepare proposals for using the rest of the former matchworks complex.

Director Bill Maynard said the intention was to restore the 1920s frontage and attract light industrial uses for the rest of the warehouses, such as a call centre. Behind the factory Wimpey is to build 200 homes.

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