The British High Street is not deadCirencester: the British High Street fightback begins here.

CVAs stack the odds against landlords – and are harming the British High Street

Company Voluntary Arrangements – CVAs – are a means by which retailers can stave off bankruptcy by seeking creditors’ support for the reduction of their debt burden.  But whilst such moves may protect jobs, as retailers claim, some say they are being abused to help retailers duck out of lease agreements voluntarily entered in to.  Merrion MD Dougal Paver looks […]

The competitor to the Liveprool Commonwealth Games bidBirmingham: industrial it may be, but it's very, very well connected

Is Boston’s Olympics knock-back a lesson for the Liverpool Commonwealth Games bid?

Boston secured America’s Olympics nomination for the 2024 games in January 2015.  By the summer the city had pulled out in the face of a quiet public revolt.  What lessons does it hold for Liverpool and Birmingham as they bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games?  Merrion MD Dougal Paver explores the issue. Boston: wealthy, sophisticated, beautiful and smart.  A […]

Porto: proof not everywhere plays the regeneration gamePorto: the jewel on the Douro. It just needs a bit of polishing

Porto: proof not everywhere plays the regeneration game

Porto is Portugal’s second city and was long held up as its industrial and commercial powerhouse.  But the figures – and the evidence of his own eyes – don’t convince Merrion MD Dougal Paver. For one of life’s great puzzles head to Porto in northern Portugal, the city that gave it’s name to  your Aunty Pat’s favourite Christmas tipple. Wander […]

MIPIM 2017 beckons. But what's the key to making millions?All aboard for the jamboree of the year

MIPIM 2017 beckons. But what’s the key to making millions?

MIPIM 2017 is hoving rapidly in to view and the smarter folk are gearing up for the opportunities it offers.  After sixteen years in Cannes’ famous Bunker,  Merrion MD Dougal Paver reckons he’s found the key to success in the south of France. To the formal launch of Liverpool’s MIPIM 2017 programme this morning at the Shankly Hotel to hear more […]

Isn't all regeneration good?  That depends how you view itWhat's better: creative dereliction or jobs and regeneration?

Isn’t all regeneration good? That depends how you view it

Take a poor, semi-derelict and crime-ridden neighbourhood, apply money, skilled workers and vision and hey-presto! You have a ‘good thing’, surely?  Only if the beneficiaries come from a tightly proscribed group, according to one commentator. There’s a thoughtful fellow called John Harris who has written a series of absorbing articles about the regeneration of British cities for the Guardian newspaper.  One in […]

Cruising to successIt's not the leaving of Liverpool...

Cruising to success

It’s axiomatic that cruise ships bring prosperity to host ports, says Merrion MD Dougal Paver.  So why is it that not everyone welcomes them, he asks? There’s a certain delight – not to say drama – in walking through Liverpool’s handsome business district and looking up to see the world’s largest cruise ship parked at the end of the street.  […]

Christchurch: what you get when creative folk are given their headChristchurch's earthquake was no respecter of buildings, as this church learned

Christchurch: what you get when creative folk are given their head

Just six seconds, that’s all.  It was Mother Nature having a burp, no more.  But 185 people died and most of Christchurch city centre went with them after its earthquake in 2011.  Four years later and some remarkable changes in its society and urban fabric are taking place, as Dougal Paver discovers. Dancing.  And shipping containers.  Not the most obvious responses […]

Liverpool airport terminal buildingReady to deliver a 7.5 per cent uplift in the Liverpool region economy. What would it be without APD?

Getting your urban economy flying again

Received wisdom suggests that Britain is a small island – and it is when compared with, say, Greenland. But it’s still an island and you need to get off it from time to time.  Airports provide a solution, and are good for a region’s economy, too. Here in Liverpool we’re talking 4,500 jobs good.  Or, looked at another way, £175m […]

Eixample BarcelonaNot many gaps amidst that lot: Ildefons Cerda's famous Barcelona grid plan

Most cities are gap-toothed beauties

One of Liverpool’s great thinkers – and doers – around urban policy, John Flamson, once memorably described Liverpool as ‘a gap-toothed beauty’. He was referring, of course, to the fact that for all the enormous progress in turning around the city’s physical fabric, much remained to be done. He could just as well have been describing any post-industrial western city […]

Boston waterfront at duskBoston, USA: not in need of an Olympics inspired economic boost

The Liverpool Commonwealth Games: urban regeneration beano or an invitation to fiscal profligacy?

Those who take issue with government’s free-wheeling attitude towards their hard-earned were cheering Boston’s recent decision to decline the ‘honour’ of being America’s bidding city for the 2024 summer Olympics. When it comes to fiscal larceny on a grand scale there’s nowt like an Olympics for emptying taxpayers’ wallets. Just one – yep, one – in post-war history has turned […]