Results of a citywide public consultation into the future of markets in Liverpool has revealed what changes people would like to see – and how much they currently spend. Tony McDonough reports
Almost 800 people – both customer and traders – have responded to a public consultation on the future of markets in Liverpool.
In 2021, Liverpool City Council announced it wanted to transform local markets so they become a visitor destination in their own right. It also felt the markets needed to “reflect the values and needs of communities, and supporting small traders”.
And the interim findings, published on Wednesday, reveal that people will spend an average of between £20 and £50 each time they visit a market, which is typically once a month. They also offered views on what they liked, and didn’t like, about the markets.
The consultation specifically looked at market at St John’s (city centre), Great Homer Street (Greatie), Liverpool Food Hub (Electric Avenue), Tuebrook Market, Monument Place (London Road), Garston and farmers’ markets at University Square, Woolton, Allerton, and Lark Lane.
Top of the list off what customers, and people who weren’t currently customers, wanted to see included more diverse products, sustainable, local products, bigger markets, improved parking and safety, more of a link with local cultural activity.
Among the things that people found off-putting about Liverpool markets were a lack of variety, not knowing enough about the markets and what they sell, a lack of facilities and concerns about the quality of the goods on sale.
A total of 798 people responded to the consultation, including the public and traders. Responses from the public were almost evenly split between those who regularly attended markets and those who didn’t.
They also said there needed to be a “buzz” created around markets to attract a new audience. A focus on arts and crafts would also be welcome and there was enthusiasm for an annual celebration event for markets.
Among traders the most popular responses focused on creating a better customer experience at the markets – emphasising the social side of attending markets. They would like to see more PR and marketing activity to get the message out about the markets and what they offer.
Similar to customer, traders would also like to see more parking, particularly at Great Homer Street. They also want to see more tenants, clearer signage and, at St John’s Market there was the desire to introduce an outdoor food element and new shopping experiences. Filling gaps in the market calendar was also seen as important.
Graham Tuthill, chair of Great Homer Street market traders, said: “All the meetings we have had have been very positive with lots of great ideas and forward thinking. We are all looking forward to working together in the future to improve and revitalise the markets of Liverpool.”
The initial findings, which have been shared with traders, will now form the first steps of the scoping out and feasibility of some of the ‘big ideas’ generated through the consultation process.
Based on the responses to the survey, the proposals include creating a brand new city centre destination market, redeveloping current facilities and relocating some sites to encourage more footfall.
A final report, detailing all the options available, will be presented to the city council on Thursday, March 31. These ideas will then be fully explored, evaluated, and costed up based on available funding to establish if they can be adopted.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy, Councillor Harry Doyle, said: “We pledged last year that we needed to rebuild the council’s relationship with traders and the consultation has been a fundamental part of that reset.
“We were absolutely clear that we wanted to give people who visit and run stalls in our markets a say from the very outset, so they can help shape what they look like in the future.
“This has not just been about finding out what people like, but what they want to see more of and why they don’t visit. It’s also acknowledging the vital role markets play in being incubators for small start-ups and entrepreneurs.”
The consultation has been carried about by Savills and is part of the new city council approach to engage residents in key Liverpool decisions. More consultations on different Liverpool issues will take place in the coming months.