Sefton Council has submitted a £14.5 million bid to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund that will help kick-start Bootle’s economic recovery.
Proposals in the bid will transform the hard-hit town’s night-time economy and include plans for the North of England’s first ‘Flying Theatre’.
Bootle is one of the towns in the UK hit hardest by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, the council has submitted a bid based on a two-stage plan to establish the Bootle Canalside site as a destination for residents and visitors alike.
Stage One will see the completion of ‘Bootle Canalside’, a multi-functional events, entertainment, food and drink space. Bootle Canalside has been designed to kick-start new energy and optimism in Bootle, attract more visitors to the town, increase footfall on the High Street and create new jobs in the area.
Located on a once-derelict site alongside the Leeds-Liverpool canal, it will include an urban garden, food and drink offer, leisure uses and events space. It will be a vibrant recreation and leisure area that makes full use of its fantastic setting and brings a new element to Bootle’s local economy.
Stage Two will see the construction and launch of a new, hi-tech digital and Virtual Reality (VR) venue hosting a unique visitor attraction and providing places for technology enhanced ‘competitive socialising.’
Bootle’s “Flying Theatre” will use a robotic hydraulic platform to create the feeling of flight and will enable visitors to take an exhilarating airborne tour showcasing the geographic and cultural beauty and diversity of the British Isles.
A VR Time-Travel Tunnel will take visitors on a journey through the ‘History of Bootle and Liverpool’, including an experience of the Blitz with audio and visuals adding to this immersive and educational experience.
Additionally, the funding would be used to maximise the potential of Bootle’s proximity to Liverpool and the new Everton stadium development at Bramley Moore Dock, with Everton FC supportive of the council’s bid.
Working with the Canals and Rivers Trust, there are plans to improve the towpaths and the navigability of the canal all the way down to Bramley Moore Dock, enabling a ‘blue-green’ highway between the new facilities in Bootle and the new stadium. This will include improved walkways, cycleways and ‘canal-taxi’ services.
Sefton Council Leader, Cllr Ian Maher said:
“Bootle is a proud, passionate and resilient place whose people have made many sacrifices during the pandemic on behalf of their communities, their families and friends and the borough’s businesses.
“But as one of the country’s towns hardest hit by Covid Bootle and its people now need support from the Levelling Up Funding, and we look forward to starting a conversation with the Government about investing in the town.”
Bootle MP Peter Dowd said:
“I would like to commend the submission prepared for Bootle.
“This submission comes with support from a wide range of local stakeholders who passionately believe that this bid could potentially have a significant and transformational impact on the prospects for Bootle , its residents and local communities, and help drive the much needed change this area deserves to help bring it level with the rest of the UK and contribute positively to the regional economy.”
Steve Rotherham, Metro Mayor, Liverpool City Region said:
“I am excited by the opportunities arising from this project. Not only will it provide an immediate boost to the local economy through job creation, but it will act as a catalyst for wider investment.
“Bootle lies adjacent to key investment opportunities including Liverpool Waters and Bramley Moore Dock Everton Stadium, as well as being only 10 minutes by train from Liverpool City Centre. The town is undergoing economic change but has strong fundamentals to enable it to revitalise its offer and thus benefit its community.”
Sefton is eligible to submit up to three bids to the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund, which has been established to invest in projects focused on town centre and high street regeneration, local transport, cultural and heritage schemes. A second bid based on Crosby has also been submitted.
Cllr Maher said:
“Our Levelling Up Fund bid contains innovative opportunities to bring jobs, investment and recovery to parts of our Borough that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
“Community remains at the heart of our plans for regeneration and we want to attract people to our town centres as well as improving them for the people who live there.
“The projects that will be submitted as part of our bid for funding are varied, ambitious and will shine a light on what Bootle and Crosby have to offer, bringing much needed footfall and focus to our town centres.”