Have your say on the future of Williamson Square
Home to festival stages, charity events, summer days playing in the fountains and tonnes of scouse pigeons, historic William Square is up for a public consultation.
Liverpool City Council together with Liverpool BID Company and the Everyman & Playhouse are to kick-start a public consultation on 23rd February 2018 with a debate on how to reimagine and revitalise the public square, at the Liverpool Playhouse Theatre.
The consultation, which will run until Monday 30 April 2018, has been designed as “an open conversation” and will ask the public and businesses to provide suggestions and ideas on how best to breathe new life into the open space, both during the day and the evening. The square, which was initially laid out in 1745 and became pedestrianised more than 20 years ago, was last upgraded in 2004 with a £5.75m public realm programme introducing new seating, planting and a fountain.
Since then, more than £150m has been invested in the surrounding areas and with various changes to the city centre it has left the square feeling disconnected. Despite enjoying high footfall, it is used more as a through route to other areas rather than a gathering place. The consultation is also responding to the Liverpool City Centre Strategic Investment Framework which set out a 15-year blueprint to transform and revitalise the city centre through major investment and regeneration projects with Williamson Square identified as a key priority.
A report to the city council’s Cabinet on the day of the consultation launch has identified a number of themes and ‘cornerstone principles’ including re-connecting the square to its surrounding areas, devising an imaginative events programme and redeveloping the square to be more visually attractive and environmentally sustainable.
Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company, representing 1,500 BID levy payers in Liverpool city centre, said: “Williamson Square, which falls within our Retail & Leisure BID area, has for too long been a place to hurtle through. With careful planning, it has great potential to become one of the city’s best public spaces.
“Following years of ongoing discussions with our BID levy payers in the area about how to best improve Williamson Square, it is great to see that the outcomes of these are now shaping the next phase, ensuring the square plays a greater role within the city centre, and allowing our businesses to thrive at the same time.”
Deborah Aydon, Chief Executive of Everyman & Playhouse, added: “As we celebrate how far Liverpool has come since our Capital of Culture year, this is a perfect time to be shaping the future.
“This summer, we’re joining forces with the Liverpool Biennial to offer a new way to experience the Playhouse, as a starting point for exploring fresh ways for people to enjoy both the theatre and the square. We are looking forward to a conversation that is creative, inclusive, imaginative and ambitious. This square is absolutely brimming with untapped potential and is a perfect location for cultural, social, economic and environmental advances in the years ahead.”
The initial consultation to gain ideas from the public in Williamson Square will be run by PLACED, an award-winning Liverpool social enterprise. More than 1,000 feedback forms will be available for people to pen their suggestions – these forms will be available at the Playhouse Theatre, Marks & Spencer café and Sayers.
The public can also send ideas via an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or even tweet suggestions, using the hashtag #NewWilliamsonSq
A further cabinet report will then be produced analysing the results of the consultation with recommendations for next steps in identifying likely funding sources. For more information the public can also visit www.regeneratingliverpool.com/project/williamson-square