Plans for a £5m zip wire from St Johns Beacon to the roof of Liverpool Central Library has divided opinion – and now Zip World has agreed to make changes. Tony McDonough reports
Zip World has amended its £5m plans for a 400-metre long zip wire from St Johns Beacon to the roof of Liverpool Central Library – but it may not be enough to mollify its critics.
Now the company has said the ‘kit-up’ centre for the new attraction will be located in St Johns Shopping Centre instead of the library. Thrill-seekers landing on the library roof will be escorted out via the service lift, minimising any disruption to library users.
However, the 450 ft-high wire will still be located overhead St Johns Gardens to the rear of St George’s Hall. It is this aspect which has been the main bone of contention for many of the objectors. The city council approved the project last month.
Ever since the plan was first unveiled, both businesses, politicians and city residents have been divided on whether to not the attraction will be positive for Liverpool. Zip World will create 30 jobs when it opens next year.
Andrew Hudson, commercial director at Zip World, said: “Zip World chose Liverpool above other cities because of its historic connection with North Wales, the home of the current three sites and 13 adventures. Zip World Liverpool will be a real first because we are creating the fastest urban zip line in the world which will put the city on the international tourism map yet again.
“However, whilst the overall reaction, especially from retailers and businesses in the city has been incredibly positive, we’ve listened to a variety of opinions and that is why we have taken the decision to relocate the kit-up area to St Johns Shopping Centre which will significantly reduce any impact on the Central Library.
“This new plan also increases our investment in St Johns. We will now have a shopfront in the shopping centre which will give a further boost to other retailers. We’re incredibly committed to having a brilliant relationship with the people of Liverpool.
“We are excited to be delivering Zip World Liverpool which will be yet another innovative attraction that will keep the city fresh and forward-thinking.”
Among business leaders backing the plan is Frank McKenna, chief executive of business lobby group Downtown in Business. He added: “Liverpool faces the prospect of monumental job losses, shops closing and reduced footfall due to the recession so now is not the time to be pushing against something that will bring real value and benefit to hard pressed local retailers.
“Zip World is doing all they can to satisfy people and do something really positive for the city. Yet we’ve got the usual suspects complaining as they do when anything exciting and outside the box is proposed. They need to stop or we face the prospect of companies investing in other cities over ours.”