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Developers are ready to go with revamp of Edge Lane retail park.

Byline: David Bartlett

THIS is the first glimpse of the pounds 200m revamp of Liverpool's rundown Edge Lane retail park which is ready to start next month.

Derwent Holdings, which owns the retail park and a number of sites on the dual carriageway, wants to create a 600,000 sq ft shopping park - 40% bigger than present.

The plans are due to be discussed by the city's planning committee on Tuesday, December 7. The company said if it secures planning permission it is ready to start work the following day.

In a separate development the Daily Post can also reveal that the city council is investigating the possibility of building a link road between Edge Lane and Prescot Road through the fruit and vegetable market site.

The plan, which is at an early stage, would involve revamping the market - though this does not form part of the retail park proposals.

Derwent said its plans for Edge Lane retail park will turn the key gateway into an attractive boulevard.

John Taylor, from Derwent Holdings, said the first thing the company will do if planning permission is granted is remove the grot-spots blighting Edge Lane.

"We are ready to start straight away. The pounds 200m is allocated, none of it will be borrowed, it's all cash.

"That is one of the organisation's strengths. It has never really borrowed money and it never will. "That is the way we are able to progress in what is a recessionary period really."

Architects have designed double-fronted shops accessible from Edge Lane itself, as well as from car parks inside the retail park.

Derwent has offered a number of "sweeteners" as part of the planning discussions.

The concessions include an extension to Mersey Care's mental health Rathbone Hospital, which was given planning permission earlier this year, a larger "Victorian" style park to replace Rathbone Park and a "grot-spot" free zone.

Once the four-year build is complete the huge site will provide work for 2,000 people, the company said.

Mr Taylor said the jobs would be a "significant increase" on those that already exist.

The council and Derwent, owned by reclusive multi-millionaire Albert Gubay who made his fortune with Kwik Save, have previously clashed over the state of the company's eyesore holdings in Edge Lane.

The project has been the subject of a bitter, long-running dispute between the two parties.

One of the first actions of the new Labour council was to ditch lingering legal action by Liverpool City Council against Derwent. Derwent withdrew its own claims against the council.

Council leader Joe Anderson had intended to fly to the Isle of Mann for talks with Mr Gubay, but his flight was cancelled at the last minute. They finally met last week.

Cllr Anderson said: "We had a positive meeting. He's a really nice guy, but a businessman first and foremost and is somebody who does not suffer fools gladly, but he is very philanthropic.

"The thing that excites me about this project is that providing it gets planning permission it will happen because Derwent has the money to do it. This is a great opportunity to create jobs in the Old Swan and Kensington areas, and it will also bring much needed regeneration to that part of Edge Lane."

Mr Gubay, a multi-millionaire tycoon, announced this year he would give his fortune to charity. The 100-acre site will be put into a charitable foundation, which could be worth up to pounds 1billion, to generate at least pounds 20m each year for good causes.

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How Derwent Holdings' pounds 200m Edge Lane retail park should look
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 29, 2010
Words:601
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