City Central

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City Central BID
City Central Logo.jpg
Location Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
Developer Liverpool Leisure and Stores Committee and Liverpool City Council
Management Bill Addy, Chief Executive.
No. of stores and services 630[1]
No. of anchor tenants 8
Total retail floor area Total area: 198,000 m2 (2,130,000 sq ft)

City Central is a Business Improvement District (BID) representing approximately 630 businesses in the retail and leisure heart of Liverpool city centre. The BID covers 49 acres and includes 61 streets: Bold Street, Church Street, Lord Street, the Cavern Quarter, Whitechapel, Williamson Square, Queen Square, Ranelagh Street and all inter-connecting streets.[2] Key shopping centres located within the City Central area include: Cavern Walks, Clayton Square, Metquarter and St. Johns.

The BID raises a 1.2% levy on the annual business rates of its members to fund a five-year programme that enhances the public services of the local authority to provide a safe, clean, attractive and well promoted trading area within Liverpool city centre.[3]

Its core aim is to enhance the experience for shoppers, visitors and workers to the city centre and establish the high standards necessary to support Liverpool’s reputation as a premier European city.[4]

The BID sits under the umbrella of Liverpool BID Company and is a company limited by guarantee. It reports quarterly to an Executive Board and also to an Operating Board whose members are re-elected annually at its A.G.M. The BID will seek to enter a third term through a ballot of its members in May 2013, which would run until October 31, 2018.

In November 2013 the Chief executive Ged Gibbons was suspended, no explanation was given.[5]


Williamson Square

The concept of BIDs originated in North America where the initiative was developed in the 1970s.[6]

In the UK a national BID pilot program[7] was launched by the UK Government through the Regional Development Agencies. Liverpool Stores Committee and Liverpool City Council applied to establish City Central as a pilot BID in 2003.

The pilot period allowed businesses to understand the advantages and the role of BIDs within city centre management. Moreover, it gave enough time to develop business consultations, elaborate a proper business plan and strengthen networking and partnerships. Safety, event and marketing initiatives were established as tasters of a fully fledged BID.[8]

After the approval of the Business Improvement District Regulations in 2004 by the UK Parliament,[9] the creation of a proper BID was possible. The ballot took place in 2005 for a period of 3 years. City Central won the ballot with 62% in favour by numbers and 51% of the rateable value.[10]

The second ballot was in 2008 for period of 5 years. City Central influence area was increased in the second ballot due to Bold Street joining the BID. In the second ballot City Central 64% of the businesses were in favour and 68% by rateable value.[10]


Liverpool is ranked as one the UK’s top five retail destinations[11] and in the top 25 in Europe.[12] The Main Retail Area is formed by City Central (49 acres) and Liverpool ONE (42 acres).[4]

There are different areas within City Central:

Church Street and Lord Street

They are the main retail streets in Liverpool city centre. Most of the anchor tenants are located here. It is the border between City Central and Liverpool ONE.

  • Bold Street

Bold Street is regarded as one of the UK’s best shopping streets[13] due to its eclectic and charismatic retail mix of independent shops, cafes and bars. The Church of St Luke (AKA Bombed-out Church) is situated at the top end. Bold Street is included in the RopeWalks area, which is one of the most important night time economy areas in Liverpool.

  • Metquarter

Metquarter, opened in 2005[14] and is a luxury shopping centre consisting primarily of boutique stores located on Whitechapel in Liverpool city centre and home to 40 stores. Metquarter is the third largest shopping centre in the city, behind Liverpool ONE and St. Johns. Recent new tenants include Jack & Wills, Illamasqua and Carluccio’s.

Mathew Street
  • Cavern Quarter

World famous for being the home of the Cavern Club which hosted The Beatles 292 times.[15] The area also includes Cavern Walks, home to Cricket and Vivienne Westwood, and is one of the night time economy zones in the city.

Other notable non-retail members include Royal Court, Play house, Holiday Inn, Marriott Hotel and Athenaeum.

Business plan[edit]

City Central delivers a range of services identified by businesses as their key targets and priorities outlined in the City Central business plan.[3]

The four strands of the business plan are:


Cop Shop opening

A safe city centre is key to delivering the whole business plan as it allows a stable and trustful atmosphere for businesses, customers and visitors. Key achievements include:

  • Co-funding of the UK’s first privately paid for police station at St. Johns.[16]
  • Purple Flag status for the safety record of the city centre’s night time economy.[17]
  • Radio Alert Scheme linking stores to combat shoplifting and other crimes with data and intelligence shared with the Police.
  • Support of Child Safe Zone in St Johns Shopping Centre and Clayton Square.[18]
  • Dedicated enforcement patrols throughout City Central BID area seven days a week.

Environmental and enhanced management[edit]

The Big Go & Grow

“Cleaner and greener” has been a key focus. City Central has worked in partnership with Liverpool City Council’s Environment Team targeting trade waste, fly-tipping, aggressive begging, buskers, charity collectors and anti-social behaviour issues. Key achievements include:

  • Maintenance of street furniture - including Pop Wall of Fame on Mathew Street.[19]
  • UK’s first private sector ambassador of Keep Britain Tidy’s Love Where you Live campaign in partnership with Liverpool Commercial District BID.[20]
  • Big Go & Grow, school eco-market, won the Green Apple Award in 2011.[21]
  • Introducing hanging baskets through the BID area.
  • Additional street sweepers operating 7 days a week.

Events and Animation[edit]

Bold Street Festival

Animating City Central is a key objective of the BID as the benefits of an events programme can be multiple: create footfall, increase dwell time, raise the profile of the city centre and raise revenue to reinvest in future events. Key achievements include:

Marketing and promotion[edit]

Summer of Love campaign to drive footfall during closure of Central Station

Promoting a city centre requires a multi-level communication plan which involves all the businesses. The target is to promote the unique characteristics and selling points of Liverpool. Key achievements include:

  • Instigated Liverpool’s first joint retail Christmas campaign with Liverpool ONE, Metquarter, Geraud Markets and Merseyrail.[34]
  • Devised Summer of Love campaign for April–September 2012 to drive footfall during closure of Central Station.[35]
  • Established media partnerships with Radio City, Juice FM, ONE card, Liverpool ECHO, Students Survival Guide…
  • Introduced “Alive after Five” campaign in 2005, establishing permanent Thursday late night shopping hours.
  • Co-funded a new City Centre Retail Map.[36]


City Central collaborates daily with Enterprise Liverpool, Commercial District BID, Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Vision, Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, RopeWalks, Liverpool ONE, Chamber of Commerce and Merseyside Police to deliver key aims.[4][clarification needed]


  1. ^ "City Central BID Store Directory". City Central BID. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "City Central BID Area". City Central BID. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "City Central BID Business Plan 2008-2013" (PDF). City Central BID. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Chief operating officer of city business network has been suspended" (PDF). Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 16 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Liverpool City Council. A Strategy for the Main Retail Area". Liverpool Vision. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Yang, Jennifer (2010-04-18). "The birthplace of BIAs celebrates 40 years". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-10-12. 
  7. ^ "National BIDs pilots". UK BIDs. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  8. ^ "City Central BID pilot period". Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  9. ^ Cook, I. R. "Mobilising urban policies: The policy transfer of US Business Improvement Districts to England and Wales" (PDF). Urban Studies, 45 (4), 773-795. 
  10. ^ a b "BID ballot results - British BIDs" (PDF). British BIDs. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  11. ^ Wainwright, Martin (3 May 2012). "Manchester and Liverpool hit the UK's tourist Top Five". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  12. ^ "Manchester and Liverpool in top 25 European shopping cities". Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  13. ^ "Be 'Bold' and 'Seel' the awards for Liverpool". Liverpool Vision. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  14. ^ "Metquarter key facts". Metquarter. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  15. ^ Dewitt 1985, p. 74.
  16. ^ "St John's Centre to get UK’s first privately funded police station". Liverpool ECHO. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  17. ^ "Purple Flag places". ATCM. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  18. ^ "20,000 ID wristbands to help find missing kids". Liverpool ECHO. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  19. ^ "Mathew Street gets revamp in celebration of The Beatles' 50th anniversary of first gig at The Cavern". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  20. ^ "City Central BID ambassador of Lover Where you Live". Love Where you Live. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  21. ^ "Arriva Merseyside on the way to green glory". Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  22. ^ "Liverpool to have bandstand in city centre". Liverpool ECHO. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  23. ^ "Gymnast Beth Tweddle opens new Liverpool ice rink". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  24. ^ "Alice in Wonderland characters open Liverpool’s Christmas Curious Garden". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  25. ^ "Liverpool Blitz 70th anniversary!". Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  26. ^ "Liverpool Taste of Spain". Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  27. ^ "Bold Street Festival". Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  28. ^ "The Beatles immortalised on Liverpool street by artists for art festival". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  29. ^ "City Central BID supports Carnival city". Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  30. ^ Sweney, Mark (11 November 2009). "Sainsbury's Christmas ad in Clayton Square". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  31. ^ "Promote your business in the heart of Liverpool, with City Central BID (Business Improvement District)". Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  32. ^ "Sea Odyssey". Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  33. ^ "Light Night". Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  34. ^ "Merseyrail campaign backs Christmas by Liverpool". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  35. ^ "Summer of Love Campaign". Liverpool Vision. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  36. ^ "City maps out retail therapy". Liverpool Vision. Retrieved 26 June 2012.