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24 September 2014

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Quiggins threatened with closure
exterior of quggins
The recognisable face of Quiggins on School Lane.
Quiggins owners and traders are pushing forward their campaign against the redevelopment of Liverpool's home for alternative gifts and bargain buys.

Click here to have your say on the closure of Quiggins
audio Co-owner of Quiggins, Peter Tierney, talks about the development plan
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Quiggins Official Website
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Quiggins Antiques first opened in 1986 on Renshaw street.

In 1988 Quiggins Centre opened on School Lane.

Quiggins is expected to be a part of a £750m redevelopment.
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In September the City Council's Planning Committee agreed to go ahead with the redevelopment of the Paradise Street areas, spelling the end for Quiggins owners and traders in School Lane and threatening Liverpool's favourite treasure trove for gifts and clothes.

Campaign posters around the centre.

Quiggins shop owners have responded to the threat by putting petitions in the centre's main entrance and in each shop to encourage people to sign the petition they started 15 months ago, when the development was first proposed. They have also put posters around the centre to highlight their campaign.

The £750m redevelopment by Grosvenor Henderson includes the historic and cultural Bluecoat Triangle which Quiggins stands on. The existing facade of the building is expected to be kept, yet the four floors of forty plus shops people love to roam around in will be replaced by a modern retail and residential development.

Quiggins Centre opened in 1988 in School Lane and soon became known for small local music, art, crafts, antiques and fashion businesses. Peter Tierney,co-owner of Quiggins said his views on Grosvenor Henderson’s proposed scheme:

Peter Tierney
audio Peter Tierney, co-owner of Quiggins talks about the development plan

"Quiggins gives an alternative way of shopping rather than doing what they’re trying to do and that is sanitise the way people shop. Not everyone likes to walk around in a shell suit."

The overall scheme covers a 43 acre site including the Bluecoat Triangle, Paradise Street, Chavasse Park and Canning Place, extending to Church street, Lord Street and into Ropewalks across Hanover street. It could be seen as a small cost for the rewards that are given back.

The creation of an expected 4,400 permanent jobs and 3,300 construction jobs and continuing development of a site which has been necessary for a long time is essential for Liverpool’s recreation: "It will transform the heart of our city. It will boost employment, bring more people and investment into Liverpool and enhance our reputation as a leading visitor and tourist destination," said City Council Leader Mike Storey.

Quiggins shops are run by self-employed people and many fear they will not be able to cover the rising rents in another development, forcing them to go out of business:

Mike Cantley
Mike Cantley owns Ace Kits on the first floor.

"People trying to get a business going, making a decent living, how they can say its unfortunate that some people may lose their businesses, people have worked really hard to get these units going," said Mike Cantley, owner of the recently opened model shop Ace Kits.

Quiggins is a lucky dip mini city. It offers something which its neighbouring shopping centres will never be able to recreate. Its interior isn’t the manufactured neat Ikea copy cat walls and furnishings. Its a cocktail of bright uncoordinated colours and chipped walls displaying distinct clothes, gifts and styles for anyone who walks on its floorboards.

Quiggins entrance
Outside the main entrance is a hangout for teenagers.

Quiggins is often seem as a hangout for students and people in black costume, yet its doors open to a wide cast of society from teenagers to professionals: "It’s going to be terrible when it closes, it means a lot to people. We come quite often cause its got specialised shops and gifts, where you can’t get things at other places," said students Danielle Flynn and Megan Brady.

Su Jackson who works at Waterstones said: I remember when it first opened up and its been a place for all ages, of all likes and dislikes to come along to find somewhere unusual. It’s a big part of the city. Culturally I think we would be losing out without it, Manchester has a lot of places like this, and we need places like this in Liverpool."

The existing shop holders will be asked to move to another site, which the council and Grosvenor Henderson’s hasn’t proposed yet. Racheal Kearney, manager of Brook Café is worried the present lively atmosphere will be lost in a new development:

Rachael Kearney
Manager of the Brook Cafe Rachael Kearney speaks out.

"Quiggins is an institution in Liverpool. I’ve been coming here since I was sixteen myself, so its a good fourteen years and there isn’t anywhere like it, and basically we don’t want a brand new premises. The whole ethos of the Brook Café carries on the themes of Quiggins itself with antiques on the wall and basically as a relaxing space."

The plan will be referred to the Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary, which if approved the development could be largely be finished by 2007, leaving only the face of Quiggins to remind us of the inner shell’s diversity.

What is your view on the closure of Quiggins?
Click here to have your say

Words: Emma Whitehead

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