With works on the £10.5m revamp of Lime Street in Liverpool likely to continue until the summer Liverpool BID Company is calling on the council to improve communications with traders. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool BID Company, which represents more than 1,000 businesses in the city centre, is calling for “vastly improved” communications over the ongoing Lime Street road works.
Next week Liverpool councillors will meet to consider new proposals for the completion of the £10.5m transformation of Lime Street. Work ground to a halt in October 2021 when the main contractor, NMCN, collapsed into administration.
While it has caused delays to the completion of the project, part of the wider £47m Liverpool City Centre Connectivity programme, the council has taken the opportunity to revisit some of the design, particularly in relation to bus routes. Councillors had expressed concern that bus links between the north and south of the city centre would be cut off.
This week it was announced the city’s highways department had come up with some amended proposals. These will be presented to councillors on the city’s Environment and Climate Change Committee Tuesday, January 25.
It is hoped work will be complete by the summer but the BID Company is concerned about the ongoing impact on traders in the city centre who are still recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the autumn, St Johns Shopping Centre said its footfall was down significantly due to the disruption caused by the Lime Street scheme. Now Bill Addy, chief executive of the Liverpool BID Company, is urging the city council to keep businesses fully informed of what is happening with the project.
He said: “”While disruption continues, business is paying a price. There is confusion for people trying to get in and out of the city centre. The pathways are not accessible. The main gateway to the city is a building site and that impacts on confidence.
“At Liverpool BID we have worked tirelessly to support city centre business, across retail, hospitality and culture to weather the storm of the past two years, but that they have to face another six months of disruption is disheartening and discouraging.
“We need clarity from the council and we need determination that when decisions are made they are stuck to. We need vastly improved communication from highways and the council team so that when street closures and developments take place, businesses are told and can prepare for it.”
In a statement to LBN, the council said: “The council understands the impact the Lime Street scheme has had on local businesses following the unfortunate collapse of the original contractor. A huge amount of effort by the highways team has gone into ensuring they addressed this problem as soon as possible.
“We ensured all stakeholders were informed of that process at every step. And we will continue to endeavour to do that as the scheme reaches its conclusion.”