Liverpool looks to create ‘winter-proof’ cafe culture

As part of the next stage of the Liverpool Without Walls project, restaurants with outdoor dining areas can build structures and install heaters to comply with COVID-19 social distancing. Tony McDonough reports

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Restaurants will be able to continue serving diners outdoors through the winter


Restaurants in Liverpool will be able to ‘semi-permanent structures’ and electric heaters to their outside dining areas this winter to help them comply with COVID-19 social distancing.

The next stage of the Liverpool Without Walls project, launched in the summer by the Liverpool Without Walls, Liverpool BID Company and Liverpool City Council, will look to create a ‘winter-proof cafe culture’ in the city in the coming months.

Liverpool Without Walls saw licensing rules modified to allow more outside dining in the city. It also saw traffic restrictions and temporary closures of street including Castle Street and Bold Street in the city centre, and Lark Lane in south Liverpool.

Allowing bars and restaurants to extend their space into the pavement and onto closed roads on Bold Street and Castle Street enabled them to extend their covers while social distancing and mixing regulations remain in place.

A consultation process is still ongoing, led by Liverpool BID Company, to work with businesses along the streets to develop a plan that allows a balance of outdoor hospitality, pedestrianisation in key times and allowing access for deliveries.

Initial results of the consultation reveal the popularity among the public of the pedestrianisation of Bold Street and Castle Street. 94% of surveyed people want the pedestrianisation to be permanent.

A business survey is taking place as well among retailers and hospitality to identify any changes, additional animation and support needed during the winter months. 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 cafe 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.

It’s important we develop a plan for each area that works for all businesses, retail and hospitality, so that everyone has the opportunity to make their working day as smooth as possible. The consultation is allowing us to get the views we need from everyone affected by the changes.”

Venues will need to apply for permissions, which may include planning, to install the new features on the pedestrianised areas of Bold Street and Castle Street, application can be made by clicking here. Businesses outside these locations can apply to Liverpool City Council.

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