ST JOHN’S Market in Liverpool city centre is to close temporarily this Friday (10 June) as part of a £5 million improvement programme in and around the centre. The new-look facility – costing £2 million – will be spread over two floors with a wide, light central atrium space, new seating area, cafés, new public toilets, lifts and Wi-Fi. There will be a modernised entrance on Elliot Street, with the approach to the market being opened up with improved signage to make it more visible and welcoming to customers. There will also be an increase in the number of stalls – up from 120 to 140 traders, as well as space for ‘pop-up’ specialist markets such as antiques, craft or vintage clothing. It is anticipated the work will be completed in time for Christmas trading, in tandem with new paving and landscaping being installed at a cost of £3 million on Parker Street, Elliot Street and Houghton Street. Following consultation with the traders, a plan to keep the market open was withdrawn as it was not feasible due to potential level of disruption, environmental and health and safety issues. Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “St John’s Market has been looking tired and dated for a very long time and it is not a bright or particularly welcoming place to shop “It still has the feel of the 1970s and is very much in need of modernisation to meet the needs and expectations of today’s shoppers. “It will see the market transformed into a much more up-to-date, brighter and more airy environment in keeping with current shopping trends. “We also want to make it more attractive from the outside. Currently people can walk past its entrance in Elliot Street without realising they are outside a market. “We believe the new entrance and signage will attract many more shoppers, especially when combined with the work we are doing outside to install new paving and landscaping.” Ged James from St John’s Market Traders Association, said: “We have all faced difficult times in the last few years with a downturn in business. “We hope it will attract shoppers of all ages, and that it will bring back the feel of the old market in modern surroundings.” Reverend Jean Flood, Chaplain at St John’s Market, added: “St John’s Market Traders have long negotiated for a more up to date environment to better serve their loyal customers and attract new business and it has been my privilege as the Market Chaplain to share that journey with them. “Traders have served the people of Liverpool for many years, some even for generations, and they deserve thanks for the contribution they’ve made to the city. We all look forward to celebrating a new market and welcoming back our great customers, old and new.