Despite the installation of a fountain feature a few years ago, the square feels drab and unloved and, for many people, it is simply somewhere you walk through to get to somewhere else. Tony McDonough reports
Williamson Square in Liverpool dates back to 1745 and is one of the best-know public spaces in the city centre.
However, despite the installation of a fountain feature a few years ago, the square feels drab and unloved and, for many people, it is simply somewhere you walk through to get to somewhere else.
Now Liverpool City Council is joining forces with Liverpool BID Company and the Everyman & Playhouse to kick-start a public consultation into how Williamson Square can be given a new lease of life.
The consultation, running from Friday, February 23, to Monday, April 30, has been designed as “an open conversation” and will ask the public and businesses to provide suggestions and ideas on how best to revitalise the square both during the day and the evening.
It was last upgraded in 2004 with a £5.75m public realm programme introducing new seating, planting and a fountain. Since then, more than £150m has been invested in the surrounding areas and with various changes to the city centre it has left the square feeling disconnected.
The consultation is also responding to the Liverpool City Centre Strategic Investment Framework which set out a 15-year blueprint to transform and revitalise the city centre through major investment and regeneration projects with Williamson Square identified as a key priority.
Cllr Nick Small, Assistant Mayor of Liverpool, who will launch the debate next Friday, said: “Williamson Square is one of Liverpool’s main public open spaces and should be a vibrant gathering place but over the past decade has for various reasons lost its way and sense of purpose.
“This debate and public consultation is an ideal opportunity to have an honest conversation which, with the calibre of the major partners involved and the support of the people of Liverpool, I’ve no doubt will reset the play button and lead to some positive action – both in the short and long term.”
The initial consultation to gain ideas from the public in Williamson Square will be run by PLACED, an award-winning Liverpool social enterprise. More than 1,000 feedback forms will be available for people to pen their suggestions, available at the Playhouse Theatre, Marks & Spencer café and Sayers.
The public can also send ideas via an email to: email@example.com or even tweet suggestions, using the hashtag #NewWilliamsonSq
A further cabinet report will then be produced analysing the results of the consultation with recommendations for next steps in identifying likely funding sources.
For more information the public can also visit www.regeneratingliverpool.com/project/williamson-square