Liverpool’s new scheme for outdoor space is coming into action, Getintothis’ Danni King reveals the new look for the city centre.
Liverpool city centre hospitality plans have been revealed for life after lock down.
A new joint project between Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and Liverpool BID Company will aim to see 1,500 city centre businesses up and running post lockdown.
As part of the Liverpool Without Walls scheme businesses will be able to trade as soon as lockdown restrictions among the hospitality sector are lifted.
A range of support is being deployed across the city, in order to allow cafes and restaurants access to support.
Plans for Bold Street have been underway, with the street being closed to traffic throughout the summer, amid a new scheme for street furniture and ‘parklets’.
The new seating and park areas have been designed by urban architects Arup.
In order to take over existing parking bays while transforming the entire look of the street; if successful, the plans could be rolled out across streets over the city.
The UK government is currently under significant pressure to provide tailored support to the creative industries, all of which have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Earlier this week the Creative Industries Federation stated that without government intervention, the global pandemic would result in a “cultural catastrophe”.
Among the venues at risk of closure are Liverpool’s Kazimier Garden and Phase One.
The new furniture instillation on Bold Street will take place throughout July, and the roll out of additional seating is set to take place throughout the summer.
Natalie Haywood, managing director of the LEAF Group, which has a restaurant and bar on Bold Street, said: “It’s fantastic news – the design is really exciting. It’ll make us feel very European and a destination.
She added: “Hopefully that will give people confidence to come out again, and inject some positive energy into the dining sector.
“It is real progress and if one positive comes out of the hospitality sector in all of this, perhaps this is it.”
Castle Street will also be affected, with traffic being closed in order to maximize space for restaurant outside space.
Current consultations between businesses and transport providers are centred around considerations of the most appropriate timing for the closures.
Alongside these changes, a new grant has been announced for independent businesses.
All independent restaurants within the city can apply for a grant of up to £4,000, in order for them to purchase the relevant furniture, enabling them to trade outside.
The grant is dependent upon the number of additional seats needed for each restaurant, and a limit is set for the fund; each restaurant is urged to take time to consider their legibility for support.
Wendy Simon, deputy mayor and cabinet member for culture and tourism, said: “This is a phased approach to the reopening of the hospitality sector and these changes will be made gradually as we work with businesses on what they need, and how we can support them in line with the latest government safety guidance.”
“It is so good that we are starting to see positive steps forward for a sector that has been so hard hit by the crisis.
“We are always thinking of different ways we can use our city centre and neighbourhood high streets and it could be that these changes are in place for the long term, so we need to get it right.
“The furniture designs look great and it is so exciting that in this moment of crisis, we are looking to make our city centre a better environment than it was before.”
Also being altered is the fee for a new street café license – usually around £600 – it is now being waived for all new applications in order for extra costs to be lessened, as way for businesses to get back to normal quicker.
Independent traders within the area have been a part of consultations regarding designs and changes, with care being taken to adhere to guidelines for accessibility, e.g. wheelchair users.
Bill Addy, of Liverpool BID Company, said: “With road closures, parking bay suspensions, social distancing guidelines and ensuring accessibility, this is a very complicated piece of work, but I think this is the start of revolution in how we use the city centre.
“I know lots of restaurants are desperate to open their doors and I wish we could help every single one of them in this first phase, but we need to be measured and realistic in our roll out so we can get this right and in turn support more and more businesses over the coming weeks.”
Major Joe Anderson announced funding last month of £450,000 in order for the new scheme to be developed.
So far, Liverpool City Council have distributed more than £90milion of central government funding to over 7,300 small businesses, targeting those in retail, hospitality, and the leisure industry.