Liverpool City Council has announced that new ideas for Concert Square in the city centre have been drawn up with an aim at revitalising the area.
The Concert Square Interest Group, which includes representatives from local businesses and other stakeholders including the council, Merseyside Police and Liverpool Vision, has held meetings for a number of months about the plans.
The council said in a statement that the new vision would be "a destination to attract people during the daytime, evening and night-times".
The council added that the aim of the new vision will be to create:
- During the daytime: a hive of activity, full of diversity and life; where residents and office workers meet up; where shoppers, diners and culture-seekers stop for a break with a drink, a bite to eat and some entertainment
- During the evening: a vibrant and attractive place offering a variety of food and drink and entertainment, both indoors and outdoors. An exemplar of best practice night-time economy management where people, can move safely, easily and quickly
The council said the idea arose out of concern that Concert Square had moved away from its original concept of being "a continental-style piazza" with a variety of uses, somewhere where people could mix during the day and "a high quality night-time destination".
Cllr Steve Munby, cabinet member for neighbourhoods at the council, said: "It became exceptionally popular at night with the bars being full and an overspill of drinkers into the square. That, in itself, can put a strain on emergency and other services. But it meant that the square was not reaching its full potential – during the day there is very little activity and it does not attract visitors. The original vision for it has been lost.
"This has been recognised by the local businesses who acknowledge that there needs to be more variety in what is being offered. They have worked with us and other agencies to see how we can get more varied use back into the square instead of its just being seen as a drinking area.
"The way we have done this is a model for other areas. If we can do this in Concert Square, we can do this anywhere."
The council added that new benches and hedges have been installed to clearly mark it from the neighbouring streets and create a more relaxed atmosphere. Hot food and drink stalls are also shortly to be introduced.
An events programme is planned on Sunday 31 July with the first in a series of summer Sunday events with street performances from jugglers, magicians, stilt walkers, poets, singers, musicians, floor drawings and novelty acts.
Concert Square was one of the first developments of the Ropewalks area completed and was previously a site for a chemicals factory.
Developer Urban Splash redeveloped the site in 1994.
Claire Thomas, chairman of the Concert Square Interest Group and director of asset management at Urban Splash, said: "Our vision for Concert Square has always been to create a place where people come and meet friends for coffee or drinks, at any time of day in a very relaxed setting, similar to the main squares in many major European cities. Bringing a range of new events and activities to the Square will extend the offer at Concert Square and attract different audiences to one of Liverpool's top destinations."
The council said businesses in the area have backed the new approach to the square.