Liverpool has become the first city in the UK to officially recognise its gay quarter with street signs.

The new signs, the first of which was unveiled today, will incorporate a rainbow arch and will be used on Stanley Street, Cumberland Street, Temple Lane, Eberle Street and Temple Street.

The first sign was unveiled outside the Lisbon pub on Stanley Street by the Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Sharon Sullivan, in a ceremony to be attended by representatives of the LGBT communities, local businesses and residents.

Councillor Nick Small, member for employment and skills, said: “We need to start unleashing the enormous economic potential of the Stanley Street quarter and as one of the first moves we have to show that this is our gay village.

“The new signs clearly show that we are recognising where the LGBT scene is based in the city and that it is a very important part of our city life.“

Candice Fonseca, proprietor of Delifonseca, said: “As a local business, we are delighted with the new signage which is the first tangible mark of real change to come.

“By showing visitors to our city where and what the Stanley Street Quarter is, businesses like ours will be able to benefit.”

Adam Simpson from the Liverpool LGB&T added: “The Liverpool LGB&T Network are proud to see such a visible indication of the joint work between the community, business and Liverpool City Council.

“We will continue to work together with the City Council to develop the Stanley Street Quarter into a first rate destination for residents and visitors.”

The unveiling takes place during the month-long Homotopia arts festival.

This weekend sees the catwalk competition for Alternative Miss Liverpool, which bills itself as having “no boundaries of gender, age or beauty just a window to creativity, love, fabulousness and expression”.