Lord Heseltine Roscoe Lecture
01 May 2008
The former Minister for Merseyside, Michael Heseltine, returned to Liverpool to reflect on the changes which had made the city a "national model of urban renaissance".
The opportunity to hear Lord Heseltine, who was speaking as part of LJMU's Roscoe Lecture Series, proved too good an opportunity to miss, with over 1,000 people attending the event in St George's Hall.
His lecture, 'Liverpool - Reflections and Changes', didn't disappoint, providing fascinating insights on the political decisions behind Liverpool's regeneration following the Toxteth riots in 1981. Then Lord Heseltine gained the respect of many residents when he moved to Liverpool for three weeks, seeing firsthand the underlying causes for the social unrest and urban decline. Two decades on, he is credited by many for playing an integral role in the regeneration of the city.
He said that although initially he came to listen to the people of Liverpool, he quickly realised that "they wanted me to show what could be done", stirring him to organise a bus tour of the city for bankers and other investors. His stark warning that "these people are burning the city and, if we let them, they will burn others, too" helped him secure private sector support and combined with relaxed planning requirements, urban development grants and rate exemptions, he attracted a new wave of business into Merseyside. He also established the Merseyside Development Corporation, which spent £200m redeveloping the Albert Dock and created the International Garden Festival.
Lord Heseltine said: "There are two main ideas we tried out in Liverpool and they worked, they became the model of urban renaissance used in every town and city. We recognised that if you wanted to get development you had to clear the legacy of the past in order to make sites compatible with the suburbs. We also found it was absolutely essential to link public and private sectors. This was new for the country and was completely unthinkable in Liverpool in 1979."
Before his lecture, Lord Heseltine presented Daniel Whiteley from Calday Grange Grammar School (pictured above), with an LJMU good citizenship award for his work for RNLI Hoylake Lifeboat Station. Daniel has been a crew member since he was 17 and regularly responds to calls.
Picture: Lord Heseltine and LJMU Good Citizenship Award winner Daniel Whiteley.
Click here to download an mp3 file of the lecture.