Liverpool city centre continues to be regarded as safe and vibrant area with a high level of optimism about its future, according to latest research.
Commissioned by the city council's city centre management team, Citysafe, Liverpool Vision, Merseytravel, BID Company, the Liverpool city centre perceptions survey for 2011 found that:
- 95% of those questioned were confident about the future of the city centre, the highest level recorded
- Seven out of 10 people believe it has improved during the last year
- 96% rate the retail experience as positive, a 5% increase from last year and the majority consider it to be a better shopping centre than Manchester, the Trafford Centre and Cheshire Oaks
- There has been an increase in the number of people who think the centre has a good variety of entertainment on offer – 88% compared with 69% last year
- Eight out of 10 people believe the police and council are dealing with anti-social behaviour and crime issues compared with 54% in 2010
- There was an improved rating for all measures about cleanliness, maintenance and access.
However, while the overall picture was highly positive, some concerns did emerge.
A total of 1449 people were interviewed in the survey including both city centre residents and visitors.
People were asked about a range of issues including cleanliness, shopping, crime, public transport and the environment.
There was an increase in the number of people who commented on the levels of drinking in the street, begging and "young people hanging around".
There were also calls for more seating, better quality green spaces and an increase in the number of public toilets.
Cllr Joe Anderson, leader of Liverpool City Council, said: "This is the most consistently positive survey of the city centre we have ever had. The message coming out of it loud and clear is that the city centre is generally regarded as safe and vibrant with great shops and entertainment.
"There is no doubt that Liverpool One has had a major effect on the way the city is viewed but there are many other aspects of the city centre which are also impressing. In fact when they were asked what they would like to change about the city centre more than 40% could think of nothing to change.
"But we don't want to rest on our laurels – we have to keep on trying to improve. The recent work to Concert Square and the proposals for the Stanley Street Quarter show we want to continue developing the centre.
"And we are very aware that with the cuts imposed on us it will be a real challenge to maintain the very high standards which have been achieved."
Jenny Douglas, Liverpool Vision's head of area investment, said: "This reflects the city's recent climb to become fifth largest retail destination in the UK, with shoppers from all over the North West region spending £1.9bn annually."
The city centre recently retained its Purple Flag, a national award which recognises a safe, clean and well-managed city centre.
The annual Liverpool city centre perceptions survey was first carried out in August 2006.