Up to a 120 buses an hour – that is one of the reasons why the new bus hub approval by the Liverpool City Council has caused some controversy. This decision was approved by the council on Tuesday and it has caused outrage for the residents and local businesses situated in that area. A narrow vote saw the plan being approved as a dozen of people protested. Mersey Mash reporter Nafi Wernsing went to discover why this plan is so controversial and its effect on businesses.
A new bus hub is just one plan approved by the city council as various areas in the city are set for a new makeover as a result a new connectivity scheme. The Liverpool City Centre Connectivity scheme will focus on reducing car and bus traffic in the city centre, and make walking and cycling the first choice to get to various places. Phase One of the scheme is made up of eight projects. The Strand, Brownlow Hill, Lime Street, Moorfields, City Coach Park, Canning Dock Bridges, City Bus Hub, Victoria Street and Tithebarn Street are set to look drastically different in the future.
The council has said that the new bus hub is essential to improve traffic coming into Liverpool from other cities as well as reduce pollution in the city centre area.
The committee voted in favour of the plan. Amongst those objecting were Lib Dem councillor Mirna Juarez, and Ward councillor Nick Small who voted against the proposal, which was opposed as well by City Businessman Lawrence Kenwright.
The council has failed local businesses & residents.
I would like to hear from the 4 councillors who voted to approve these plans on how they could go ahead after hearing such logical and impassioned speeches from business owners and those who live in the area. https://t.co/zGiuoijwPS
— Lawrence Kenwright (@LawKenwright) February 26, 2019
Councillor Mirna Juarez said the plan needs to be reconsidered and moved to a different location, preferably the outskirts of the city. Councillor Nick Small said: “This hub is in the wrong area and will only create pollution and noise issues in that area”.
Last week, Liverpool City Council gave the green light to tear down the Churchill Flyover, which is is near Old Haymarket. James Noakes, Cabinet Member for Streetscene, Transport & Highways and Air Quality said: “The tear down of the Churchill Flyover will have no effect on the hub”. He also said that the plan was necessary to make the whole connectivity scheme successful.
The controversial plan has caused uncertainty for current businesses located there. One of the businesses located on Old Haymarket is Lovelocks cafe. Sarah Lovelock, 36, owner of the Lovelocks cafe told Mersey Mash more regarding the impact from a business perspective.
“We built a community here, we are all friends with the local businesses and residents and we are all devastated. We have given them loads of information as to why it is a terrible decision for the city and for the businesses and it has been ignored”. She added that the uncertainty of the safety of businesses in that area could cause businesses to move or close down.
Sarah Lovelock emphasises that “any profit is so vital” and that the result of the bus hub is only going to “take people away from the area”.
Local businesses handed in a petition with over 200 signatures to stop the proposal. Sarah Lovelock said one of the biggest problems the new plan will cause is the loading bays. She said: “The loading bays are inadequate for the amount of businesses here”. The council has only offered two loading bays and she says that it is “impossible to load in or out at a convenient time”.
As to whether the concerns of local businesses were taken into account, Sarah Lovelock said: “They have ticked the box to say that we were considered but nothing that they have given us has made it possible to run a business on this street. It is so easy for the council to come in and take it away”. Sarah Lovelock thinks that money is the biggest factor regarding this hub approval.
However, local businesses and residents are going to fight for Old Haymarket. She said: “We got a traffic order meeting, that is another way we can oppose it and we will oppose it again”.
There is also a Facebook page, Twitter page and online petition in the name of ‘Save Old Haymarket’. The online petition currently has 417 out of the target 500 signatures. Sarah Lovelock said: “We are definitely going to do more. We are going to get together with other local businesses and residents and do everything we can”.
Full Interview with Sarah Lovelock
Save Old Haymarket pages
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SaveOldHaymarket/
Lovelocks Coffee Shop