SUMMER in Liverpool. Don’t you just love it? The sun is shining, the trees are in bloom, Old Hall Street is slightly less windy and everyone seems to be just that little bit happier. It can also be a great social time, as workers emerge from their relative hibernation and leave their shops or offices throughout the day to chat, drink and eat in areas like St Paul’s Square, the Pier village or Exchange Flags. In the property world, we like to talk about “place-making” and “animating the public realm” when more people hit the streets, but in real terms it simply means these places are coming to life. It can also be the absolute best type of networking. Throughout the year, these public spaces offer various features designed to lure people to gather and stay for a while, but summer is the real test of whether they are actually fulfilling their purpose. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy some spells of really warm weather and it’s been great for me to witness how popular our city centre public spaces have become. The parkland on Bixteth Street, opposite the Cotton Exchange, is bursting with lunchtime sun seekers whenever the clouds lift, locals and tourists rub shoulders at the Pier Head and Castle Street is lined with outdoor diners soaking up the summer vibe. That’s obviously welcome news for the sandwich shops, cafes and supermarkets which directly serve these new groups, but the positive effects ripple much further along the line, with outdoor tourist attractions and evening venues also feeling the benefit of people coming out to play during the afternoon and sticking around to make a night of it. Sounds like a great idea to me – I just hope one of my colleagues has saved me a seat. Swinging time! STICKING with the theme of summer love, I’m incredibly excited about a certain sporting event coming our way in just over a month’s time. The 146th Open Golf Championship returns to Royal Birkdale for the tenth time on Thursday 20 July, with the world’s finest golfers descending on the beautiful Sefton Coast for a week of tricky bunker shots, cheeky chips and the occasional cry of “get in the hole” from our American cousins. Seeing the Claret Jug return again this year is a timely reminder that the Sefton Coast has the UK’s highest concentration of championship links courses and can justifiably claim to be the nation’s golf capital. The R&A, Sefton Council, Merseyside Police, Merseytravel and every other related organisation deserve immense credit for delivering such a world-class sporting event on our doorstep. Of course, golf is widely regarded as the quintessential sport for businesspeople to spend some quality time together while talking shop. The high quality of corporate hospitality at The Open provides an extra dimension to that offer and could be the perfect outlet for anyone hoping to strike deals as well as balls.