Bold Street Parklet
'Parklets' cropped up on Bold Street and other areas as part of Liverpool Without Walls in the summer

Liverpool looks to ‘winterproof’ hospitality post-lockdown

Sarah Townsend

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.

 

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Many will follow.

By Geo

During September, Bold Street was packed out with people, cafes, bars – no social distancing, all overcrowded, I couldn’t believe it.

By Anonymous

Longer term we need a better outdoor heating solution than patio heaters, to make this environmentally sustainable.

The other thing that needs doing, now, especially in light of COVID, is making these smoke-free. That would do much to broaden the appeal.

Shame we’ll have to wait until it’s truly winter before we can enjoy them, but here’s hoping it works out.

By Mike

This works in other countries with the right measures in place to keep people from the elements, so it sounds promising. The outdoor dining on Castle and Bold Street, as well as other pockets around the city, worked great and added to already vibrant areas. If it looks like it will continue for the long term, the public realm needs a full rethink to suit.

By UTFT

I love going out in Liverpool – can’t wait for all this to be over.

By Maureen

Rates of transmission from hospitality have been around 3% – low! Focused support for otherwise viable businesses makes sense. Bold Street is super vibrant and should be supported to get through this.

By Anonymous

One of the (few) positives of of the current situation is that this outside culture has started to prevail in our cities. I’m a fan.

By Derek

Scandinavian countries spend more time outside whatever the weather. They have the best rates for work-life balance etc. Research a few weeks ago advised that being out in the cold and swimming in cold water helped prevent the onset of dementia and the proteins connected to it. Perhaps we need to just get out there – wrap up, forget the patio heaters, and be more Scandi!

By Lizzy Baggot

Liverpool looks even more vibrant with outside seating. I’m all for it. The city looks great

By David