New restaurants and bars will line the canal next to Bootle Strand shopping centre, as Sefton Council released visuals of what the enhanced area could look like.
The local authority, which bought the Strand in a £32.million deal three years ago, secured some of the neighbouring sites to the centre earlier this year as part of its long-term aspirations to redevelop and repurpose The Strand.
Among its ambitions is to link The Strand to the canal, which can provide not only an attractive environment and space for leisure, but also ‘a green transport corridor’, for walking, cycling and travel by water.
This would link The Strand with other parts of the borough and beyond, including the proposed new Everton Football Club stadium at Bramley Moore Dock.
Sefton also has ambitions to transform Southport town centre too and is progressing plans to create a new Southport Masterplan, as it works with other partners to secure £25million regeneration funding from the Government through the Town Deal scheme.
Sefton Council’s vision for the long-term future of Bootle New Strand Shopping centre continues to progress with the progression of soft market testing regarding options and opportunities for the future of the centre.
This is the first step in realising the council’s long-term aspirations to redevelop and repurpose The Strand.
The purchase of land around the shopping centre means the council can now steer the regeneration of a wider area of The Strand and Bootle town centre.
With Bootle proving to be one of the towns in the UK hardest-hit by Covid-19, the local authority says it is reviewing a range of short-term, cost effective “meanwhile” uses for the site while the long-term plans are being considered.
Following the adjacent site acquisitions, demolition works will commence this year, as part of work towards making better use of the canal-side location.
There will be an emphasis on a distinct food and beverage offer next to the canal, and images have been released to show how the area could look like in the future.
These interim, “meanwhile” uses will transform the area in the short term while longer term planning and public consultation and engagement with residents, businesses and customers takes place.
Introducing these “meanwhile” measures will mean decommissioning certain areas of the centre. This may contribute to a reduction in rental income, but the council will work through the financial impact, alongside the new developments.
In the most recent financial year (2019/20), The Strand made an operating surplus despite the Covid-19 pandemic affecting all sectors of society, including retail.
This surplus has been added to previous balances generated and has made possible the investment of £1 million to help fund other Sefton Council services since the centre came back into council ownership.
As part of the long-term vision for The Strand and Bootle Town Centre, Sefton Council plans to carry out widespread consultation with local residents and partners, including a ‘Festival of Ideas’ in September. The input and perspectives of the public will be key to the success of the centre in the future.
Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “Sefton Council has big ambitions for the future of The Strand and Bootle Town Centre. They remain central to the area’s regeneration and this is an opportunity to explore other uses for them.
“We want to transform the space so that it is more open and integrated with the surrounding community. It will be a beautiful public space hosting a wide range of uses and facilities, including retail but also food and drink and leisure opportunities.
“We will also evaluate a number of other potential uses to ensure long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability of the centre.
“In particular, we have an ambition to link The Strand to the canal, which can provide not only an attractive environment and space for leisure, but also ‘a green transport corridor’, for walking, cycling and travel by water.
“This would link The Strand with other parts of the borough and beyond, including the proposed new Everton football stadium at Bramley Moore Dock.”