Work on the £9m upgrade of Lime Street in Liverpool has caused footfall to plummet 30% at St Johns shopping centre and now further delays to the project are likely. Tony McDonough reports
Car Park occupancy and footfall at St Johns Shopping Centre in Liverpool has plummeted 30% due to work on the £9m upgrade of Lime Street.
And bosses at the centre are now even more concerned following the news the project could face further delays after the main contractor collapsed into administration earlier this week.
NMCN collapsed after unsuccessfully trying to finalise a £24m recapitalisation of the business. It has appointed Grant Thornton as administrator and efforts are now under way to rescue as much of the business as possible.
However, regardless of what happens with the company, Liverpool City Council now says it may look at a redesign of the Lime Street upgrade which has come in for considerable criticism. Councillor Dan Barrington said the collapse of NMCN “provided an opportunity to reflect on the design around Lime Street”.
This means further delays to completion which will continue to have a negative effect on traders in the area. St John’s shopping centre is home to more than 100 businesses, from local retailers to national brands. It is open seven days a week.
“After considerable delay to the progress of the Connectivity Scheme, we are disappointed to learn of the continued disruption that will be caused in light of NMCN entering administration,” said Neil Ashcroft, centre manager at St Johns.
“I would like to, once again, reiterate that we remain open and committed to serving our customers in any and every way we can.
“As a shopping centre located in the heart of the city and home to a range of independent businesses who rely heavily on footfall in the local area, I sincerely hope that Liverpool City Council and its partners will work to remedy the situation in the fastest and most appropriate way possible.
“We have already seen our car park occupancy and footfall drop by 30% overnight, and our car park is now the quietest it’s been since the most recent national lockdown. This is affecting all businesses in the area, but independent retailers are certainly going to be hit the hardest.
“As a centre, we’ve seen great success so far in 2021, with the arrival of new retailers including Boom Battle Bar and HMV, and I hope that this short-term impact is minimal and that we are able to continue serving our people and our community the best way we know how.”