Liverpool launches outdoor dining initiative
The city council has appointed consultancies Arup and Meristem to design a street pedestrianisation scheme promoting outdoor eating, to help restaurants operate despite social distancing measures.
The scheme will see the pedestrianisation of Bold Street and Castle Street in Liverpool City Centre throughout the summer.
Bold Street will be the pilot location for the project, which is part of the wider Liverpool Without Walls initiative, aimed at redesigning the city and its hospitality sector to function under social distancing measures.
Urban architect Arup has designed the pedestrianisation of Bold Street, featuring outdoor seating and temporary ‘parklets’, designed by London-based consultancy Meristem.
Work on redesigning Bold Street is to start in July. Similar designs could be rolled out across Liverpool, if the move is successful.
As part of the initiative, independent restaurants in Liverpool can apply for a grant of up to £4,000 to buy outdoor furniture such as tables and chairs.
Businesses would usually have to pay £600 for a licence to have outdoor seating but the council is waiving this to boost the hospitality sector following months of lockdown.
Cllr Wendy Simon, cabinet member for culture and tourism at Liverpool City Council, said: “This is a phased approach to the reopening of the hospitality sector. 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.”
Garry Banks, director of Arup, added: “The creative use of space on the streets of the city centre has never been more important.
“The development of a ‘kit of parts’ concept for parklets will provide high quality and adaptable spaces that will enhance local character and sense of place, whilst also enabling businesses to operate safely.”
Natalie Haywood, managing director of the Leaf Group, which has a restaurant on Bold Street, praised the move and said she hoped it would give people confidence to return to restaurants and “inject some positive energy” into the sector.
Last month, the council in collaboration with Liverpool BID Company, which represents 1,500 businesses in the city centre, and the Chamber of Commerce announced a £450,000 package of funding for Liverpool Without Walls.
The project is aimed at “giving businesses in Liverpool the best chance of being ready to trade as soon as restrictions on hospitality businesses trading are lifted by the Government,” the city council said at the time.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce tomorrow that lockdown restrictions for the hospitality sector are to be eased from 4 July.