Liverpool St John’s market traders offered ‘a home’ in Birkenhead

Traders formerly at St John’s Market in Liverpool are being offered “a home” across the Mersey following Liverpool Council’s decision to close it.

The Birkenhead Market Tenants Association has put out an appeal offering for traders who were based at the market within the St John’s Shopping Centre to get in touch about setting up their business in their market based in Birkenhead. St John’s Market was closed on 11 March after Liverpool Council said it was owed £1.7m in rent dating back to August 2020.

In 2020, rent and service charges were reintroduced to St John’s Market traders after little improvement following the botched 2016 revamp of the site and payments were expected, many of which did not materialise. However, the sudden closure of the St John’s market which had 62 units has been incredibly controversial.

Now St John’s has closed, vice-chair of the Birkenhead Market Tenants Association Greg McTigue said they were making the offer of what he said was “a new home to the traders”.

He believes this would strengthen the retail offer of Birkenhead Market and the tenants association would act as a middle man between St John’s traders and their market management.

He said, “We want to try and get them on similar terms to us. Nobody would be advantaged or disadvantaged by the move but it would help bolster the trading base of the market,” adding, “They have been through it as well. They have had a redevelopment that wasn’t very good at all and they were being managed into decline.”

Like St John’s Market, he said Birkenhead was also seeing a similar decline in trade arguing “it has been ground down to nothing,” adding, “We are not far behind in terms of declining numbers so if we are going to put the two sites together and build up a community again, it’s a tenuous storyline but I can’t think of anything stronger at the moment.”

When previously criticised about the current state of Birkenhead Market, Wirral Council has pointed to past offers to market traders of support like free rents and rent reductions and said it has spent more than £60,000 over the past three years advertising and promoting the market.

Birkenhead Market currently faces an uncertain future as Wirral Council plans to move it into a former Argos store on Princes Pavement. There had been plans to move it to a brand new building on the former House of Fraser site on Grange Road but these were dropped.

However, the council is looking to move ahead with the former Argos option recommending it to councillors at a meeting next week. According to a council report, investment nearly £14m in the former store will help regenerate the market with “a modern offer” and bring trade back in.

Any St John’s market traders who may be interested in moving to Birkenhead Market can contact the tenant’s association at bmtacommittee@gmail.com.

Image: www.birkenhead2020.com

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