'Very sad it’s gone' - Liverpool reacts to shock closure of St Johns Market

The businesses within the market owed Liverpool City Council more than £1.7m in rent and service charges.
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Stall holders at St Johns Market Hall turned up for work on Monday morning to find it had been closed for the foreseeable future by Liverpool City Council. The local authority says traders owe more than £1.7m in rent and service charges.

One of Britain's oldest indoor markets, dating back to 1822, the local authority has been running all day-to-day market operations since becoming landlords 2016. The council said businesses within the market owed debts dating back to August 2020.

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Traders accused the council of acting like 'the mafia' over their decision to close off the market overnight. Stall holders were handed letters informing them their lease had been terminated with immediate effect by security guards on the doors.

The council says all 43 traders will be invited to arrange a date and time to collect any stock left within the stall they operated from. "One business has been making payments throughout this period and the council will look to undertake negotiations to relocate that stall," the local authority added.

The market was subject to a £2.5m renovation back in 2016, however the result was heavily criticised, with local traders claiming the revamp 'destroyed the place' and then Mayor Joe Anderson initially offering traders three, then six months free rent as an incentive to stay and increase footfall.

We've been on the streets of Liverpool to get your reaction on the surprise closure.

Natalie said: "I’m so shocked." Image: LTVNatalie said: "I’m so shocked." Image: LTV
Natalie said: "I’m so shocked." Image: LTV
  • Angela said: "To close it down without anyone knowing until today I think is terrible."
  • Natalie said: "I’m so shocked about that. I think it’s really sad. I remember going there from when I was very little; there was something for everyone in there, lots of different characters, people to talk to, quite a safe nice area so it’s very sad it’s gone."
  • Peter said: "The only part of I use is the food side, the butchers and things like that, but it’s bad (news). People get less than less choice all the time."
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The council says it now costs more than £1m a year to operate, which they say is not sustainable given the unprecedented pressures on the council's budget to support key services.

Former Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has apologised for the £2.5m revamp of the Market in 2016, saying that "the wrong decisions were made." Taking to X, Mr Anderson, who was Mayor at the time of the refurbishment, has said the local authority can't keep throwing money at it.

The Council, which has 63 years left on its lease, says it will now review all feasible options. The closure of the Market Hall does not impact St Johns Shopping Centre, which remains fully open for business and is unaffected by this action.

  • Watch the video above for our full story and to hear more reaction from the Liverpool public.