Watch: Protesters rally to save St Johns Market after shock closure

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
"It's like the death of a very favourite uncle is the only way I can put it.”

A colourful demonstration has taken place outside St Johns Market to protest against its shock closure. The historic city centre market was shut down on March 11 after Liverpool Council said it was owed £1.7m in rent dating back to August 2020.

More than two weeks after the locks were bolted, dozens of people gathered to make their voices heard in opposition to decision. Holding colourful placards and chanting, campaigners expressed their dismay at businesses being shut out of the market. At one stage, the gathered crowd delivered its singular message: “Save St Johns.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Jonathon Dixon, who's a trader at the market, told LiverpoolWorld: "It's like the death of a very favourite uncle is the only way I can put it. This is a community of traders. We all know each other. It's our village."

Last Autumn, Liverpool Council said it would seek to recover three years’ worth of arrears from the dozens of businesses located within the market. Traders said they were left shocked by the move to close the site last week despite an initial request for £1.7m in unpaid rent being made last October. After months of negotiations failed, traders and shoppers were left shuttered out of the site last Monday.

Rev Jean Flood, who is the market's chaplain, said: "It's a really good community for the city of Liverpool and for the traders, but for all their customers who seem to have been left out of their equation altogether. Lots of people come for moral support; lonely people and people with mental health problems come every day for a cup of tea, sit here all day, and nobody moves them on. We know them all, the traders know them. I've met several of them over the last week, almost in tears because they just don't know where to go now."

The leader of Liverpool Council has said the city was left with 'literally no option' but to shut up shop amid the ongoing row over unpaid rent. Cllr Liam Robinson said it was 'sad the way it's panned out', but council payers expected the city to collect the revenue it was owed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Protesters were chanting “Save St Johns”Protesters were chanting “Save St Johns”
Protesters were chanting “Save St Johns” | Local TV

In 2020, rent and service charges were reintroduced to traders after little improvement following the botched 2016 revamp of the site. Traders and regular shoppers are calling on the council to reopen talks. Mr Dixon said: "It couldn’t be worse than it is now, so whatever happens if the place reopens, it will improve."

St John's Market traders are being offered 'a home' across the Mersey. The Birkenhead Market Tenants Association has put out an appeal offering for traders to set up shop on the other side of the water. However, Birkenhead Market also faces an uncertain future with plans to move it into a former Argos.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.