• Utility

Utility director: Bold Street pedestrianisation plans ‘fill me with dread’

One of the founders of home interior store Utility says plans to pedestrianise the entire length of Bold Street “fill him with dread”.

Dick Mawdsley thinks closing the busy Ropewalks street completely to traffic would be “a very big risk”.

Liverpool City Council announced plans to pedestrianise the entirety of Bold Street in March as it aims to boost the “emerging café culture and music scene” in the area.

At the time, Councillor Ann O’Byrne said the proposals have the potential to cement the city centre thoroughfare as “one of the most dynamic in Britain”.

Improved seating and lighting, the planting of new trees and increased safety on Bold Street are also part of the council’s Ropewalks STEP Scheme, which will be split into two phases.

But Dick, a director at Utility – which has been on Bold Street since 1999, fears the loss of parking on Bold Street and in the wider Ropewalks area could spell disaster for retailers.

Speaking to YM Liverpool, Dick says: “As an occupier of Bold Street for more than 18 years in various locations the whole scheme fills me with dread.

“One of our greatest concerns is that the plan does not take into account the loss of car parking generally within the Ropewalks.

How a fully-pedestrianised Bold Street could look

“There are numerous sites that have been used as surface car parks within Ropewalks but as values have started to increase these sites now have higher alternative use value and have been sold.

“Whilst most people would agree that the public realm needs a major overhaul in Bold Street closing it to traffic completely is a very big risk.”

Dick is concerned that Utility customers who travel from outside the city to visit its two Bold Street stores will be put-off by the lack of nearby parking.

He adds: “If our business deteriorates as a result of these changes no one has said who will pick up the tab.

“We are all for new paving, reduced visual clutter, planting and trees, but by cutting off most of our customers’ means of accessing us we fear that our business will be severely harmed.”

In March, the council said it anticipated that the works – once approved – will begin in January 2019 and be completed by November.

About Author: Lawrence Saunders

Lawrence is a journalist at Move Publishing. He can be contacted via email at lawrence@movepublishing.co.uk or by phone on 0151 709 3871.