Baltic Triangle firms say the reopening of St James’s Station would ensure continuing regeneration. Alistair Houghton reports
BUSINESSES have started campaigning for a new Merseyrail station to serve Liverpool’s growing creative district around the Baltic Triangle.
The move – described as a potential “game-changer” for the area – would see the reopening of the former St James’s station, which sits on Merseyrail’s Northern Line between Brunswick and Liverpool Central. It has been unused since 1917.
In recent years the area around the station – which sat at the junction of Parliament Street and St James Place – has seen an economic revival with the arrival of dozens of creative and digital businesses and the opening of venues such as Camp & Furnace.
And next September, two new schools housing more than 1,000 students will open there.
Local businesses and tourist attractions, backed by the school, say the area needs better transport links if its regeneration is to continue.
Liverpool’s Strategic Investment Framework (SIF), the blueprint for the city’s regeneration over the next 15 years, was published this month – and mentions the importance of reopening St James’s Station to boost the Baltic Triangle and the creative sector.
Now local people have pledged to work together with Liverpool Vision and Merseytravel to see if the station can be brought back to life.
Any reopening would be several years away, and finding funding will be a challenge. But Vision has pledged to work with local organisations to build a business case to win that cash.
The Baltic Triangle stakeholders’ group, which brings together businesses and other Triangle organisations, is pushing for better transport links to the district.
Mark Lawler, manager at creative business complex Baltic Creative, said: “In the SIF it’s mentioned twice that the old St James’s Station could be reopened.
“We’ve now got universal support for that, including from the cathedral and the Echo Arena. That would be a game-changer for the area if that were to happen.
“The academy is very supportive and Cains is very supportive.
“Just the fact that it’s being discussed is a real positive. If it’s on the agenda, it’s something we should explore to the best of our ability.”
Jenny Douglas, head of area priorities at Liverpool Vision, said: “We’ve started looking at how we make that business case and try to articulate the number of people that would potentially use the station.
“It’s early days. When we started maybe a few months ago we were talking about it taking 20 years to deliver. Now, we think we could do it sooner than that.
“But the advice from Merseytravel is that we need a business case.”