Liverpool looks to ‘winterproof’ hospitality post-lockdown
Businesses want to continue providing outdoor areas for bars and restaurants in the city centre over the winter months, with electric heaters and temporary structures, notwithstanding the UK lockdown that starts this week.
A total of 94% of the 1,500 levy-paying members of Liverpool’s business improvement district voted last week to adapt the Liverpool Without Walls initiative, which launched in the summer to support the hospitality sector during the pandemic with a European-style outdoor ‘café culture’.
Among the measures taken to enable bars and restaurants to operate more safely and easily outdoors were pedestrianisations of Bold Street and Castle Street, among other typically high-footfall areas; and the creation of ‘parklets’ and outdoor seating areas on the streets to prevent customers from having to sit and eat in smaller, confined spaces.
Under the plans unveiled by Liverpool BID, new measures would be taken to install electric heaters and ‘cosy’ seating areas outdoors to attract customers in the following areas:
- Bold Street, with its diverse array of independent cafés and bars
- Castle Street, with its restaurant and hotel scene
- Church Street, Williamson Square and the Metquarter, with their retail offerings
- Old Hall Street, with its professional and financial services occupiers
- Mathew Street and the Cavern Quarter – the birthplace of The Beatles, a focal point in the city’s music heritage, and the area’s nightlife scene
Liverpool BID wants to launch a pilot project to extend outdoor hospitality over the winter months, although any pilot will now have to be delayed until after the UK’s second Covid lockdown, which starts on Thursday.
Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company, said: “The first phase of Liverpool Without Walls allowed us to give the hospitality sector – so integral to Liverpool’s visitor economy – a much-needed boost.
“Creating practical and safe outdoor spaces that were attractive and have a useful purpose for venues needing more covers, helped to ensure we saw fewer closures.
“As winter approaches, we have to be prepared for whatever the Liverpool weather has in store. Our strategy is to have a European-style café culture that’s prepared for a Northern England climate. Heaters and covers will allow venues to continue to use the pavement and outdoor space, allowing them to operate safely without a loss in covers, whatever the weather.”
A consultation is now ongoing, and venues would still need to apply for permissions, which may include planning consent, from Liverpool City Council, to install any proposed new features, even on the already pedestrianised areas of Bold Street and Castle Street.