Zip World has secured planning consent for a zip wire from the top of St Johns Beacon to Central Library and now more than 130 businesses, and business leaders, are backing it. Tony McDonough reports
More than 130 Liverpool city centre businesses, as well as business leaders, have signed an open letter in support of the £5m plan for a new zip wire attraction.
In early July, former Royal Marine Sean Taylor secured planning consent for his 400-metre zip wire from the top of St Johns Beacon to Central Library, 450 ft above St John’s Gardens. Due to open in summer 2021, the Zip World attraction will see the creation of 32 new jobs.
It was approved despite strong opposition from local councillors and residents as well as the nearby Marriott Hotel and the War Memorials Trust, which is concerned about the impact on St John’s Gardens directly underneath the wire.
However, now more than 130 retail and hospitality businesses have signed the open letter in support of Zip World, which is already operating similar attractions elsewhere in the UK, including North Wales.
And the letter has also been signed by Frank McKenna, chief executive of business lobby and networking group, Downtown in Business, as well as by Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company and chair of LVEN (Liverpool Visitor Economy Network) and John Hughes chief executive of Liverpool Nightlife CIC.
The letter states: “As businesses operating largely in the hospitality and retail sectors, we depend heavily on tourists and visitors coming to Liverpool. Our businesses depend on a thriving city that continues to draw people to experience our wonderful attractions.
“In recent years, in common with all major towns and cities, we’ve watched with alarm as retail and hospitality outlets close down because of reduced footfall. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem for us all.
“The future is uncertain for many local businesses and so we welcome any credible plans to boost visitor numbers. That is why we are all supporting the forthcoming Liverpool zip line which is projected to bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to Liverpool every year.
“The economic boost this will provide to the retail and hospitality sectors will be significant. We need it now more than ever.”
Zip World founder Sean Taylor is predicting the zip wire will attract more than 100,000 riders in its first year. He claims riders will bring along family and friends to watch boosting annual visitors to the city by around 300,000.
Frank McKenna added: “This is a remarkable intervention by independent small business owners and representatives from a large number of bars, restaurants, hotels and shops in the city.
“These people are suffering the consequences of the recent pandemic and the general trend of declining high streets. They are desperately dependent on a bustling city centre to survive.
“They know more than anyone that we need to attract people to the city. They see the powerful economic benefits of attractions such as Zip World Liverpool. It is vital that their views are taken into account.”