Liverpool's regeneration continues apace, we're assured by the Daily Ghost & Oldham Echo. One of the instances cited is the "redevelopment" of the entrance to Lime Street station, a grotesque spectacle. Just across the road from the latest monstrosity to be presented as "progress", lies the old ABC cinema.
Derelict & left to rot over the last decade or more, the cinema stands as a curt rejoinder to the eternally deluded saps who buy the argument from the council & their PR people on Oldham Hall Street that the city is changing for the better. Once a local landmark just as prominent & popular as more obvious ones in the city centre, the cinema, along with Southport's Pleasureland complex, has been in the hands of Urban Splash in recent years. Promises have been made & grandiose plans have been outlined for both sites.
However, in an admission which makes a mockery of the numerous puff-pieces in the Echo declaring the city's immunity to a global recession, Urban Splash have now acknowledged the obvious: all their best-laid plans count for nothing when the perfect storm of the credit crunch & global downturn continues to rage (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2010/03/22/urban-splash-committed-to-abc-cinema-and-pleasureland-schemes-100252-26081387/ ).
Urban Splash's Tom Bloxham tries to sound hopeful in the Echo apologia (no byline for the article, surprise, surprise), but sounding hopeful is no business plan. Instead, he talks of something "very special" for both sites. Very special? That should fill any potential investors with confidence, shouldn't it? As the Echo meekly admits:
"In September 2007 it was announced [Urban Splash] had been appointed as the developer for the derelict ABC cinema in Lime Street.
"At the time plans were expected to be submitted to the city in July 2008 with work completed by mid-2010.
"But Liverpool Council confirmed that Urban Splash is yet to submit a planning application for the site."
Bloxham's ambiguity on the fate of both sites indicates that the situation is unlikely to change for the forseeable future. Indeed, he sounds more like a Lottery punter hoping his numbers come up:
"On both we have got lots of ideas that we are exploring and trying to come up with the best solution.
"It's difficult to move forward at the pace we want to."
Whether things are moving forward at any sort of pace is open to question, as even the Oldham Echo anxiously admitted in its editorial (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/views/our-view/2010/03/22/city-can-t-be-made-to-wait-for-regeneration-of-former-abc-cinema-in-lime-street-100252-26080650/ ).