Liverpool ‘should create space for gay quarter’

Regeneration consultancy Feria Urbanism recommends the city amplify the branding of its gay quarter and consider creation of a new public square to boost the area around Stanley Street.

In a report commissioned by Liverpool City Council, Feria produced a list of 48 recommendations including the establishment of an independent community trust 'to speak with one voice for the quarter and take it forward'. This approach, the report's authors said, would overcome any conflicts between business interests.

The report also floats the idea of 'making changes to the design and architecture of Stanley Street including removing or restricting traffic to create space for events.'

Other recommendations are:

  • Modifying individual buildings to have greater transparency, visibility and improved access
  • Demolishing a building to allow a public square to be created, which would form the focus of attracting new investment
  • Widening the entertainment offer, which is currently focused on youth and during the night-time, through a number of "micro events" such as markets, pop-up shops and outdoor art exhibitions. This would attract new users and "increase a sense of quirkiness and culture" in the quarter.
  • Develop links with other cities to share knowledge and ideas
  • Working with existing hotel and new operators to secure a clearly branded "gay hotel".

The report argues that moves such as this will help increase feelings of safety and security in the quarter.

Cllr Nick Small, city council cabinet member for employment and skills, said: "This is a very important piece of work on how the Stanley Street Quarter can develop in the future. It shows that the quarter can play an important role in the economic development of the city as a whole by attracting more tourists and visitors to the city. Other cities such as Brighton, Manchester and Birmingham have reaped the economic benefits of similar quarters and Stanley Street has the potential to more than match them.

"Stanley Street is a vibrant area but it has nowhere near reached its full potential. The proposals set out in this report have many interesting and original ideas about how its appeal can be extended and how it can be prompted.

"We now need to look at what is achievable and how best we can go about that. What is important is that we have the support of the various interests in the area about how we go forward."

The report will be considered by the city council's cabinet on 12 August.

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I have lobbying for this for years. I can’t wait for it.

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