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Plans for city recovery with unveiling of  industry BID Champions

THE recovery of Liverpool city centre needs to be rooted in its mixed use economy, ensuring every one of its industries is supported, says Liverpool BID Company as it identifies the key areas to ensure the rebuild and return of Liverpool city centre post-COVID.

It also unveils four BID Champions, representing the city’s Commercial industry, retail sector and hospitality businesses, to provide a leading role in the vision and planning for recovery. 

The BID Champions are;

  • Julie Johnson, Business Operations Partner at Morecrofts Solicitors and Chair of Commercial District BID for Corporate Services
  • Jennina O’Neill, Centre Manager at Metquarter and Chair of the Retail & Leisure BID for Retail
  • Natalie Haywood, Managing Director of the LEAF Group for Hospitality
  • Gillian Miller, CEO of Liverpool’s Royal Court and Chair of St George’s Quarter CIC for Leisure and Culture.

They will provide a voice for each sector, working with BID Levy Payers in each industry helping to bring their concerns, needs to the fore and lobby on their behalf to local, regional and national government via Liverpool BID Company. 

There are key agreed actions that need to be addressed as part of Liverpool’s recovery, so the city centre emerges stronger;

  • In recent years, three areas of the city centre already have regeneration plans in place; Williamson Square, Cavern Quarter and the Commercial District, with Baltic Triangle joining last Summer. Emphasise giving existing businesses from every sector a greater say in the neighbourhoods and their development, making areas more connected, attractive and reinforce the city centre as a place location for business, homes, culture and tourism. 

  • Engage with landlords, local businesses and local agencies on empty units, especially those on the high street left by the closure of stores like Debenhams and TopShop, considering ways in which they can be used, whether that be via meanwhile lease, engaging with independent business and the creative sector


  • Working with local and regional government to examine a review of business rates, allowing business with a physical premise to operate in a level playing field


  • Work with businesses, especially those exploring more flexible working initiatives for their teams. Examine the modern working place in the Commercial District and making it a destination for those wanting the modern office space


  • Encourage communities within the city centre to work together and, with the support of Liverpool BID Company, help to shape a transformation and upgrade of the public realm. Supporting access to spaces, to encourage an understanding that the city centre is for everyone. 


  • Connect all industries and sectors, especially the cultural institutions within the city centre, helping them to work alongside their commercial neighbours to embed a cultural regeneration and renaissance within the city centre. 

The four BID Champions will help each sector to communicate and navigate the recovery, providing them with a voice. 

The champions’ comments:

Julie Johnson, Business Operations Partner at Morecrofts Solicitors and Chair of Commercial District BID: “Liverpool’s regeneration over the past 30 years is rooted in its mixed use economy. There is a passion and a commitment for Liverpool to succeed which has always helped it to fare well. The businesses within Liverpool can support its recovery and have a wealth of knowledge and expertise to underpin that.
“The way we work has changed drastically in the past year and it is important to understand the role of other sectors in supporting business through that change and to empower them to have a place within an exciting, forward thinking, resilient city centre as it evolves.”

Jennina O’Neill is Chair of the Retail & Leisure BID, and Centre Manager at Metquarter: “Recovery is never one size fits all and by bringing different sectors and voices together we can help to shape a city centre that works for everyone who uses it.
“At Metquarter, we have worked to evolve the centre so that it represents that mixed use economy, expanding from purely retail to embrace leisure, education, hospitality and a thriving independent scene. From our international brands to our independents, Liverpool city centre has a place for everyone and its vibrant high streets attract visitors from across the country. We have to work together to ensure there is something to attract them in the years to come.”

Natalie Haywood is the Managing Director of the LEAF Group: “When we started as a small business, it was important for us to be able to have a say and be a stakeholder within our community. Projects like Liverpool Without Walls have creatively explored how hospitality businesses like mine, and the hundreds of others operating within Liverpool city centre can continue to operate during this crisis.
“This was Liverpool at its best, being forward thinking, allowing its citizens to develop ideas and adapting the rules to help their businesses. It’s an example that’s being adopted around the world. Recovery means thinking about how we want Liverpool to operate in five years or ten years time, not just this storm. If we want to build back better, we have to make sure the city centre is a place to do business and to help our vibrant hospitality businesses to thrive.”

Gillian Miller, CEO of Liverpool’s Royal Court and Chair of St George’s Quarter CIC: “The leisure and cultural sectors are key to breathing life back into our city centre making it a welcoming, vibrant and creative environment for all.  We want to be ready to welcome visitors from all over the city, region and from further afield back to enjoy Liverpool’s renowned rich cultural offer.  We employ thousands of creative people across the leisure and culture sectors and are the envy of many cities. 
“Culture has played such a huge part of Liverpool’s regeneration in the past and will continue to play a vital role in animating the city centre, encouraging confidence and helping to bring us all back together again safely.”

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