Plus a Liverpool-Birkenhead metropolis and St John's Precinct flattened for something completely different

NEVER mind narrowing The Strand and causing even more traffic chaos and gridlock, how about looking up and bringing back the loved and missed Docker’s Umbrella.

That’s the vision of Liverpool-born cityscape designer Michael McDonough in his latest ideas for the transformation of his home city.

McDonough, now based in London, has already used his creative skills - revealed by Liverpool Confidential last November - to show how Liverpool, with imagination, and perhaps the investors willing to play along, could look in the middle of the 21st century.

The new Overhead would not terminate in Dingle. Instead it would follow a riverside route, past the new Everton stadium to Liverpool John Lennon Airport

And while he wants to see the return of a futuristic looking overhead railway, he’d pull down, in its entirety, St John’s Centre, replacing it with a grand circle of buildings with a giant needle in the middle.  The Royal Court is safe, but it looks as though St John’s Beacon, home to Radio City, would go.

“The Overhead railway is a key part of Liverpool's city history and is a lost hallmark of a global, outward looking Liverpool that based its built environment and infrastructure more on Chicago and New York than that of the UK,” says McDonough.

“Sadly, like many other great structures and architecture, the line was lost as the city declined, but given Liverpool's obvious and increasing revival, with the city's focus again being its waterfront, is it time to see a return of this line to connect what is a growing number of major attractions and residential districts along the waterfront, not to mention the expanding port?”

20170327 St Johns Precinct
McDonough would rid the city of St John’s Centre, replacing it with a grand circle of buildings. The Royal Court is safe, but St John’s Beacon, home to Radio City, has vanished
Take it to the bridge: A Mersey super city made up of Birkenhead Liverpool

The visuals are part of an ongoing project for y-imby to visualise a return of the Liverpool Overhead Railway, whether that be light rail similar to London's DLR or perhaps something more akin to the monorails found in Seattle, Sydney and Dubai.

But the new Overhead would not terminate in Dingle. Instead it would follow a riverside route, past the new Everton Stadium through Garston to Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

McDonough also visualises a Mersey super city based on Liverpool and Birkenhead.

He says: “Some argue the Wirral is economically and socially disconnected from Liverpool and that despite two road tunnels and a long established railway tunnel and ferry service some suggest Birkenhead and Liverpool are not one central urban area with reports by 'think tank' organisations such as Centre for Cities formally suggesting the two areas are completely independent from each other.

“What if both central Birkenhead and central Liverpool effectively became one area, working directly as one central district with strong cultural as well as visual connections to draw the two district's closer together? 

"This could be through political and administrative boundary changes as well as infrastructure adjustments or simply the creation of artistic installations to? light bridges and so on, or maybe both?”

In the short term, a political joining of heads across the Mersey would be an immediate first step in drawing the two sides together with perhaps extending the reach of organisations such as Liverpool Vision to encompass Birkenhead Central as another approach.

There is a need to think much more ambitiously with capital ideas on how to strengthen the economy and appeal of districts such as Birkenhead and quite literally consider, "how would London do it?" to ensure real investment and integration leads growth in tandem with Liverpool as a strong central urban area.