Let’s start off by saying, I love Crosby. It’s no secret, it’s all I’ve been banging on about for the last year or so. I lived in Waterloo for a bit when I was 16 – it’s a long story but the short version is my parents tried to ground me for talking to a boy who was older than me so I said, “Hey it’s legal for me to move out now, I’m off” like the obnoxiously independent ‘wilful’ little shit I’ve always been. Unfortunately it didn’t last long because I got sacked from my job for being utterly shite at it and had to move back home, but anyway, the point is, I loved Crosby Village and Waterloo back then and I love it more now.
It’s always been a dream to live in Crosby for realsies and while I have a lot of sentimental attachment to Kirkdale (I bought my nan’s old house) I just really didn’t want Cora growing up in a place where if you google it, the first picture that comes up is of a car on fire. I’m such a snob like that. I wanted to make sure we were here and settled in our little seaside town well in time for her starting school.
Last year, after spending the whole year struggling and fighting through a minefield of mortgage lenders, solicitors and estate agents, I finally got my wish and we got the keys to our own little house, right in the heart of Crosby Village. I was made up, within 2 minutes of leaving the house I could be in a Boots! Imagine all the blister plasters I could buy! I could do my banking in Barclays… hell I could even get a Costa. Village life is absolutely amazing!
Then I jumped down the rabbit hole didn’t I? I joined some Crosby facebook groups and wow…. residents love a good moan about Crosby Village don’t they? I’m moving my shop and salon to Crosby village (we’ll be opening in the next couple of weeks FYI) and I’ll be taking units in a row of shops that I understand to have been empty for a little while. St Modwen the landlord have been absolutely unreal to me, they worked so hard to get me in there, I mean they really moved heaven and earth to have me as a tenant and from what I’ve seen they really care about regenerating the village. All I’m seeing online though is people moaning that the village is dead and no one wants to shop there anymore and it needs some life bringing back to it and it seems to be a bit of a contradiction – how does one expect it to flourish and become lively if you’re practically boycotting it and slagging it off to anyone who’ll listen? How can you expect it to get more tenants if all you’re doing is dragging it?
I’ll admit, I haven’t lived here very long so you could say I don’t know shit, but perhaps I’m looking at it with fresh and unbiased eyes? I think Crosby Village is proper boss! There’s a mix of independent businesses like Pritchards, Blues Bar, Storyhouse and Frankies, mixed with massive chains like Boots, Costa, Specsavers and Sainsburys. If foot flow continues to dwindle though, then how long are those businesses going to stay there for? It’s a serious use it or lose it situation. Moaning about the village, slagging it off and refusing to shop there really is counterproductive if you want things to get better – if you want it to be hustling and bustling then get down there and shop! I see so many Sharons and Maureens waxing lyrical about how buzzing it used to be in the 70’s with sweet shops and uniform shops and how it’s just not the same anymore – well pickle, here’s a newsflash for you, high streets are NEVER EVER going to be like that again since the dawn of online shopping and we have to roll with the changes. Nostalgia is fine but when it is possibly stunting progress you need to give it a rest.
The main two things people are crying out for in the village is free parking (I wholeheartedly agree with that by the way, Sefton council, if you’re reading this, a 30 minute freebie would be bloody lovely – I know it’s only 30p at the moment but I agree it would go a long way to getting people shopping there). I understand that St Johns Road is boss and full of independents and you get free roadside parking but I swear to god I have a full on panic attack if I have to parallel park and it actually puts me off streets like that. What if I miss the only space on the road and I have to drive all the way back round to get to it and it’s gone? What if my fat ass car won’t fit there? What if I fuck up the angles and I have a queue of angry people watching me unsuccessfully try and cut in? These are not issues we have with bay parking. Forza car parks.
Then the other thing people are wanting is for the village to be a through road instead of being pedestrianised. I actually love the pedestrianisation, it’s what gives it a relaxed village feel – by creating a physical barrier between one side of a street and another (i.e. a road), you create a mental barrier (i.e. the roads chocka, should I go that shop over the road? Oh fuck it no, I can’t be arsed). Keep the walkways so we can sit outside cafes and meander to our hearts content without having to fight our way past the 53 bus and 20 million identical Range Rovers on their way home from Merchant Taylors.
Sainsburys not too long ago wanted to level it all and build a delivery hub and Crosby residents fought for keeping the village so fight for it now. Not by badmouthing and boycotting but by singing it’s praises and taking action – you want a buzz? Create it. Want the free parking? Present petitions to Sefton Council – refuse to go away until they listen. Don’t list all the problems, think about how you can be part of the solution. Be grateful and positive about what you have and attract more of it. You live in a boss part of a great city, act like it. Big up the Crosby.