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Public supports city's new retail revolution; Survey reveals Liverpool's transformation Shoppers support Liverpool's new stores.

Byline: DAVID BARTLETT

LIVERPOOL'S newly regenerated city centre has led to a huge increase in its reputation as a shopping destination.

A major new survey reveals 84% of people believe the city centre has improved over the past 12 months, up 25% since 2008.

Almost nine in ten people now believe the city has decent shops, up from just 72% 12 months ago.

The 7th annual city centre perception survey carried out in April is the first detailed study of views since the completion of the pounds 1bn Liverpool One and the pounds 73m City Centre Movement Strategy.

The majority of members of the public now view shopping in Liverpool as better than Cheshire Oaks, Manchester city centre or the Trafford Centre, though the battle with the latter two remains close.

Council leader Warren Bradley said last night: "The regeneration which has taken place over the last few years in the city centre has been nothing short of staggering, and I am delighted that people are pleased with the changes we and our partners have made. "We always said that the inconvenience and disruption due to the construction work would be worth it in the long term, and it is clear that we are now reaping the reward of the billions of pounds of investment." The survey of 1,400 people also revealed: Only 53% of people positively rate the cleanliness of the city centre, but that was up from 39% in 2008 63% of respondents felt safe in the evening, up 11% from last time One in 20 people said they had been a victim of crime, but the figure was double for city centre residents Satisfaction with the level of police presence fell from 50% to 42% Although perceptions of cleanliness showed a significant improvement, cleaner pavements was the second most mentioned priority for environmental improvements after more green spaces. People being drunk in the street, young people hanging around and graffiti were the top three things that made people feel unsafe in the city centre .

The 10-year low in city centre crime is reflected in the survey, with almost everyone who visits during the day (98%), saying it is a safe place to be. There have also been improvements in the number who feel safe in the evening - up to 63% from 53% last year. Feelings of safety across all times of the day increased in the survey. Cllr Bradley added: "We will be using all of the results and working hard on the areas where there's still room to improve. "In particular, we know that people living in the city centre have different concerns to those of visitors and workers, so we have set up a group to work with local residents to tackle them." Labour city centre Cllr Nick Small said: "Overall it is very good news. The city centre is a great place to live, work and socialise. "But we can do better. We have to focus more on what we offer residents in the city centre. "We can't rest on our laurels, and more specifically we need to focus on cleanliness." Ed Oliver, secretary of City Central Business Improvement District and also chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, said: "

We are proud that Liverpool is now viewed safer, cleaner and more vibrant by the people who matter the most - the public". Chief Inspector Louise Harrison from Merseyside Police said there has been a real focus on alcohol related crime and violent crime reduction. "Together we have delivered a wide variety of targeted initiatives that are proven to work. "The work undertaken by officers and our partners has proved we can make a difference and has created a safer environment. "However we are not complacent and will continue to work with our partners to make Liverpool city centre the safest place to live and visit in the UK." A total of 69% of people rate events to entertain visitors as good, up from 45% in 2008. Public transport also gets a thumbs up, with 69% saying travelling into the city centre by bus is easy (68%last year), and 61% saying its easy to let the train take the strain (up from 57% in 2008). Cllr Mark Dowd, chairman of Merseytravel, said: "We're delighted with these results. It shows our efforts to provide the region with a first-class public transport system that's accessible to all is paying dividends." OPINION: PAGE 8

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Warren Bradley The popular Primark store in Church Street The success of Liverpool One has helped make the city's shops more popular than Cheshire Oaks, Manchester city centre or the Trafford Centre
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 24, 2009
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