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Cash and vision needed for St John’s

St John’s shopping centre. Picture John Bradley

I’VE written before about Liverpool’s St John’s Market and its ill-fated refurbishment but things seem to have taken a turn this week with the news that its very future is now in doubt.

Liverpool Council is in talks with other organisations about taking on the centre, which has lost around £1m since it relaunched two years ago.

What’s happened here? Why has a market with such a rich heritage and with such potential slid into its present parlous state?

Well, for a start it doesn’t help that it looks a bit like a correctional facility with all its soul sucked away. Sure, it needed modernising but that seems to have come at the cost of atmosphere.

I also know many of the traders who moved back in after the refurb have done their best – they work hard to offer great products at good value prices – but there aren’t enough of them in there.

St John’s Market should be a bright, viable destination for shoppers looking for an alternative to high end brands and high street prices.

It always was – and could be again – a real community asset where people go to meet up and exchange news and bag a bargain.

Of course, it’s easy to look through rose-tinted specs at how it was 20, 30 or more years ago when it was the bustling heart of the city centre; never more so than at Christmas.

But those days are gone. The city and its retail offering has changed beyond recognition and the past isn’t somewhere to which we can return.

The future, however, is ours to create and St John’s could have a great one.

All it takes is some cash and some vision.

SO, how was Black Friday for you? Did you stock up for Christmas? Load up on bargains? Or did you turn the telly over when the ads came on and studiously ignore it?

I was in the latter camp and instead of FOMO – fear of missing out – experienced TOMO: Thrilled Over Missing Out.

I let go of the stress of taking part in Black Friday, the relentless push to buy something, anything, as long as there was money off, the pressure to trawl web-sites or battle queues.

For a start, I’m not convinced all those money off offers are true. I have also failed to make a Christmas gift list yet so have no idea what anyone wants anyway.

And it’s November.

When it comes to Christmas shopping stress I’ll stick to tradition and wait until December.

First published in Liverpool Echo, 24th November 2018.

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