Lime Street and Strand lash up needs urgent review

The so-called City Centre Movement Strategy caused chaos in parts of the City Centre for more than 3 years. It appears to be a £70 million waste of money failing to meet its key objectives.

Traffic chaos has been brought to Liverpool City Centre by the total failure of the so-called City Centre Movement strategy. People stuck in car parks like Mount Pleasant and Lime Street for up to two hours. Areas to the rear of Lime Street are now sporting long queues of traffic for much of the day. The Strand which is good for through traffic but is totally baffling people who wanted to park near the retail outlets over Christmas and was empty.

This debacle was supposed to cost £50,000,000 but the overrun and modifications cost a further £13,000,000 and the borrowing for the overrun will cost over 20 years more than £6,000,000. All this might have been worth supporting if it had worked. But as we warned prior to work starting it would NOT encourage bus use, increase cycling or reduce jams. How right we were.

That is why I have asked for a full review of the scheme the effects of which will damage our city centre business community. If we need to spend money to put this right we need to know as soon as possible and allow for it in our bids for government funding.

I will not repeat all the arguments which I have put in my letter to the interim head of traffic and the head of regeneration. My letter is here. I will keep you informed of the response!

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE

16, Dovedale Road,

Liverpool L18 1DW

07885 626913

Interim Roads and Traffic Director,

Liverpool City Council,

By email

27th December 2022

Dear Colleague,

Liverpool City Centre Movement Strategy

You may be aware that there have been major problems in Liverpool City Centre in the run up to and during Christmas.

Many people have had huge difficulty getting out of car parks which has had the knock-on effect of people not being able to get into them. Reports have come in of waits of up to two hours to get out of car parks in Victoria Street, Lime Street and Mount Pleasant.

It is obvious that there are no more cars coming into Liverpool than there were pre-covid and that the snarl up is closely located around the Lime Street area. The Strand and approaches to the Liverpool One shopping Centre are largely unaffected although it was obvious today that few ventured into the area between the Strand and the River. Many people see the Strand as a communications barrier because of the difficulty of re-entering the traffic flow from the roads at the Pier Head.

The media has been full of comments about ‘never again’ with people clearly not wanting to venture into our shops. This will damage our ritual offer in future years.

This is not just a Christmas effect. There are clearly issues in the area to the top of Lime Street Station where traffic has been forced onto roads to get to the Old and New tunnels some of which would clearly have gone through Lime Street with few delays.

When I got a taxi from Lime Street in early December it cost me £4.20 just to get out of the station. The new cycle lanes are hardly used and cyclists that I talk to clearly consider the mid-way switch new John Lewis to be dangerous in the extreme.

Many people, including me, predicted that the strategy would drive people off buses and would grind the city centre to a halt. 63% of people who responded to the consultation on the Strand clearly did not support what has been done. As usual the Council acted with arrogance and ignored the views of bus companies, cabbies, tourist companies and delivery firms.

In my view we need to recognise that the so-called movement staragy has been a major mistake. It has failed to either remove traffic or speed it through. It has the increased the amount of time people spend in city centre traffic queues with idling engines. It has not increased either bus use or more cycling. In other words, it appears to have failed in its primary objectives and made matters worse.

In my view now is the time to admit the council’s errors and have a complete review of what has been done and the effects that it has had. This needs to be done by and independent consultancy. I know that you had nothing to do with the original design and mistakes and have tried to minimise them but there is no trust from the people of Liverpool in the ability of Liverpool Council to put things right.

A failure to act will mean that the use of facilities in the centre will decrease. The consultants could look not only at the problems but also at options for dealing with them including a  comprehensive review of public transport options.

We cannot afford to do nothing so, in my view, it is better that we bite the bullet now and get on with correcting the £70 million set of mistakes that we have made.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Kemp sig

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE

Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats

Cc:         Interim Head of Regeneration

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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1 Response to Lime Street and Strand lash up needs urgent review

  1. billnettb715dcc3fb says:

    Without prejuduce
    I agree. Also minor issue of idiots not real cyclists on bikes with no lights mountibg oavemenrs on lime street etc. Why has expensuve cycke routes been built with no requirement to use the safe parts ir surveys been carried out. Will the gov give more money to recinstruct all this mess. So glad i dont get work with these perma idiots. I guard my prof reputation. Thanks

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