In 2017, Sefton Council purchased Bootle Strand Shopping Centre as a key part of its commitment to regenerate the town centre.
Our high streets have and are going through a period of huge change. This change is driven by the growth of online shopping, our changing consumer habits during the COVID-19 pandemic, and people looking for a different experience within our town centres.
Sefton Council have a clear ambition and commitment to ensure that the Strand is sustainable economically, socially and environmentally. They will do this by:
- Facilitating local provision of services to improve the health and wellbeing of the Bootle community.
- Better connecting the centre with its community and assets like the canal and rail station by becoming more outward facing.
- Sustainably improve connectivity/accessibility for residents, business and visitors.
- Promote social inclusion reflecting the strong values of the Bootle community.
- Develop a strong and positive town centre-brand and identity.
- Expand night-time and leisure economy.
- Maximising the potential of public sector investment including raising the profile of Bootle with Central Government, and wider partners including within health and education.
- Attracting private sector investment into the centre
Stephen Watson, Executive Director Place - email@example.com.
Christian Rogers, Assistant Director Place - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Neil Carroll, Programme Manager Regeneration - email@example.com.
Nicky Owen, Project Manager Growth - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Strand sits at the centre of Bootle. We want it to be the focal point of a more vibrant Bootle that gives provides residents better services as well as improved opportunities, health and well-being.
We believe that we can make the Strand itself a stronger and more valuable retail, leisure and health destination for the local community and beyond. We also know that we have to improve the setting of the shopping centre and the surrounding area. For example, we’re looking to create more appealing and safe spaces through ’early-win’ improvements in locations like Bootle Canalside – making it a multi-functional, open air food, drink and events space.
We are planning to make major improvements to the Strand itself to bring in new uses (like leisure, education and health provision) and to improve public transport and deliver better open and green spaces. We know that the centre needs to look and feel much more welcoming, and create a better experience for people shopping and accessing services facilities through the investment we will make.
We also know that any investment in the Strand needs to bring new jobs and opportunities for residents and attract more people into Bootle. We are prioritising this within our thinking.
We always knew that the Strand was important to Bootle but also that it would need investment to ensure it is a thriving asset at the heart of the town in the longer term. That is why we took the decision to buy the shopping centre. We always knew that the centre would need investment, and this has been focused even more through the continued impact of growth in online retailing and more recently the impacts of Covid 19. We believe that it is now the right time to invest in the Strand’s future in a meaningful and comprehensive way.
Bootle Strand continues to generate a good level of footfall from loyal customers and has range of retailers you would expect to see in a centre of this type. The Council are however currently exploring how the centre could be re-purposed to offer a broader range of uses based on successes of towns across the country – including food, drink and leisure, education and health uses.
As part of this repurposing the Council wants to explore improving the entrances and areas around the Strand to create a better sense of place, safe and welcoming spaces and offering a broader range of evening and weekend uses for the benefit of the local community.
The new and vibrant activity is being developed to stimulate the local economy, transform the look and feel of the Town for residents, businesses and visitors and improve the quality of life for local people.
Q2 - Early public consultation
Q1 - Demolition start
Q3 - Construction start phase 1
Q4 - Demolition completion
Construction completion phase 1
The retail market has changed considerably since the Council bought The Strand. The initial priority for the Council on buying the centre was to ensure there was a robust management plan in place, and that they understood the key issues facing the retailers and the centre in general. The COVID-19 pandemic has further impacted the retail market, but also meant that the Councils focus had to remain on the management of the centre.
The Council has been working with the Combined Authority and commenced the Transformation concept testing in 2021, to ensure that the plans are well advanced as the economy and markets settle after the pandemic in 2022 and 2023.
The ‘meanwhile uses’ will be positioned in the disused areas around the Strand. This will be known as Salt and Tar, linking back to the history of the area. Salt and Tar will be a multi-functional events space in the heart of Bootle.
The area has already been used for community events, including the Climate Action Festival in 2022. In 2023, the area will host two large scale events, including a Comedy Festival in May and Music Festival across two weekends in July.
Future plans for the site include:
- Food and beverage venues
- ‘Pop-up’ food and retail markets
- Film and TV screenings
- Performance spaces
We have formed a partnering arrangement with the Canals and Rivers Trust to integrate the site with the canal to enable it to be brought fully back in to use as a valuable community asset and to provide a ‘waterway link’ to Bramley Moore Dock in advance of the anticipated new Everton FC stadium proposed to be built there.
Yes. We have already started the process of formally engaging with local people and other stakeholders including local businesses to shape Bootle Canalside including the Bootle Festival of Ideas and ongoing engagement and feedback opportunities at Bootle Canalside events.
The council plans to do lots more consultation and engagement work over the coming months and years (especially as we start to look ahead to the medium and long term plans) with a wide range of stakeholders including Strand tenants and residents, centre users, the wider local community and also other interest groups within the town centre – all of whom have a role to play and an interest in the future of Bootle town centre.
When we identify a partner to help us deliver the Strand Transformation, we will agree with them a detailed plan for community engagement and social value – to ensure the local community are kept well-informed, are able to influence the plans, and are able to access the direct opportunities that are created. This will include pre and post planning consultation exercise.
Any community engagement we do as part of the Strand Transformation will be closely linked to the Bootle Area Action Plan process.
We have a strong vision for Bootle and the Strand that builds on the Sefton 2030 Vision and the Bootle Town Centre Investment Framework.
By 2030 our aim is that Bootle will have been reshaped and grown its reputation as a desirable residential, education and business location.
In Bootle town centre, there will be a more diverse offer, including leisure, culture, restaurants, new homes, community activity and public space, that makes the most of its the canal-side setting.
Sefton Council was awarded £20 million by Central Government from its Levelling Up Capital Projects Fund. This is for the first phase of repurposing the Strand shopping centre and wider transformation of Bootle Town Centre.
The Council is working with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to develop the Strand Transformation programme. We will have input form key town centre stakeholders and the public both to help inform the future of the Strand and also identify potential market demand for space both temporary and permanent.
The Council intend to identify a private sector partner to help deliver the project in the future. We do not yet know what that partnership will comprise, which is the subject of the current work the Council are developing with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
The Council will work with partners including the Combined Authority to secure as much funding as possible through known and future programmes to deliver our ambitions for the Strand.