Merseyside town where people are ‘afraid to visit after 5pm’
People said a Merseyside town needed a ‘miracle’ to save it as it was becoming a ‘ghost town’ with people fearful of entering after 5pm.
The Huyton Village shopping center was popular for its bustling market and shops, as many traveled far to see what was on offer. People said they used to “stop and chat” in the street because “everyone knew everyone else”, but many feel that all has changed.
People have expressed concern about the number of shops closing on the high street, and with the increase in anti-social behavior footfall has plunged. We wandered around the village mall to see what people had to say.
READ MORE:Village fears becoming a ‘ghost town’ as more shops close
A shopkeeper who has been there for 20 years told ECHO: “It’s nose diveed quite steeply, there’s just no one here. It used to be a thriving shopping street, but now it’s transitioning from retail at leisure and it’s become a ghost town. It only goes one way. It takes a miracle to save it. The closing of shops affects us all here because fewer people want to come to the village, which affects us all.
“There are issues with anti-social behavior. The powers that be are trying different things to get people here, but it tends to be late at night, like the restaurants, but then we closed up shop. This is just not good.There is talk about hotels but what is there for people if they come?
ECHO has previously reported problems of anti-social behavior in the city, often targeted at shops. But locals say the issue has gotten so bad that some are even afraid to enter the area one night for fear of being targeted.
David Boyle, who has lived in Huyton all his life, said: “My mother-in-law won’t be out after 5 p.m. because of the amount of anti-social behavior, she doesn’t feel safe. Anti-social behavior is wrong, the shop signs are torn down and groups scramble to do wheelies on their bikes without caring who they hit.
“There’s not a lot of choice in the stores. Poundland and New Look are being replaced by B&M.”
John Sutton worked at a market stall for several years and he said attendance had dwindled. He added: “I’ve seen it go up and down over the years, but it’s only gotten worse. Now it’s just charity shops, betting shops and restaurants, all of that doesn’t made the village worse.
“I’ve seen this village change. It just died. Businesses don’t make money because there are no customers here, but you can’t get them in.”
Another woman told ECHO she loved visiting the village where you could “stop and chat” with people. She added: “I’d rather take it back to the old city center. I’ve lived here all my life and there were so many more stores to shop.
“One night you get crowds fighting. I just can’t believe it got like this. It was ruined. Everyone was stopping and chatting and laughing because everyone knew everyone, but now no one bothers to stop in the street, there is no one here.”
Knowsley Council has previously confirmed it has ‘ambitious’ plans for a ten-year development for Huyton Village Centre, which includes the development of a commercial area, including a hotel, offices, residential and co-working center .
The Council has also previously confirmed that MAKE CIC has been confirmed as the operator of the Maker space and will take over two empty buildings with a view to encouraging and supporting new business start-ups and thriving spaces while that people and organizations share their knowledge and experience with others.
Two more empty units are being turned into new restaurants, and the development plan also includes major public realm improvements in the area. More information on the council’s plans can be found here.