Liverpool City Region reveals ‘big ambitions’ for Bootle Strand
Liverpool City Region’s Sefton Council is exploring options for the Bootle New Strand Shopping centre and the area around it after acquiring a number of adjacent sites.
The authority bought the 1960s shopping mall from London-based retail investor Ellandi and Avenue Capital in May 2017 for £32.5m. Comprising 357,000 sq ft of space, Ellandi spent £3.4m on a modernisation programme.
Now, with the acquisition of adjacent sites, Sefton says it intends to steer the regeneration of a wider area of The Strand and Bootle town centre and is undertaking soft market testing regarding options and opportunities.
With Bootle proving to be one of the towns in the UK hardest-hit by COVID-19, the council 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 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 these 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 £1m to help fund other Sefton Council services since the Centre came back into council ownership.
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.”