Since Sefton Council acquired The Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle in 2017, its value has plummeted £18m and now consultants have now been drafted in to revive its fortunes. Tony McDonough reports
Just days after it was revealed The Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle had more than halved in value since it was bought by Sefton Council, consultants have been drafted in to oversee its transformation.
Sefton acquired The Strand in 2017 in a deal worth £32.5m. It was an example of the trend for local authorities to buy commercial assets. However, last week it was revealed the retail complex was now worth just £14.21m, a drop of £18m.
Council leader Ian Maher insists the decision to buy The Strand was still the correct one and now the authority has drafted in leading property and regeneration advisor, Avison Young to come up with a new vision.
The transformation of the Strand is an integral part of Sefton Council’s Bootle improvement plans, which have been supported by funding from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
These include recent consent for Bootle Canalside, a food, drinks and events space by the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, as well as the development of an Area Action Plan to support wider improvements across Bootle.
Avison Young, supported by K2 architects, will provide strategic advice to identify the best options for investment in this key town centre asset, to deliver more appropriate amenity for Bootle residents and make better use of the shopping centre itself.
Its role also focuses on enhancing the contribution the Strand Shopping Centre makes to the long-term regeneration of Bootle Town Centre, supporting the preparation of a transformative Area Action Plan for Bootle. Avison Young was selected by the council following a competitive process.
Stephen Cowperthwaite, principal and managing director of Avison Young’s Liverpool office, said: “The Strand is a catalytic project for Bootle and is of great significance to the wider Liverpool city region. We share the council’s passion for the transformation of Bootle and to bring much needed investment into the town to benefit the community.
“Trading conditions for shopping centres have been challenging in recent years, with structural changes including the rise of online shopping, accelerated by COVID-19, fueling the need for assets and town centres to evolve.
“Sefton Council’s ownership of the Strand, alongside its strategic acquisition of adjacent land, means it is well placed to plan and lead Bootle’s transformation and take a long term investment view.
“Delivering sustained improvements to the Strand, its performance, and the overall vibrancy of the town centre is an urgent priority for the Council and the community and we look forward to working with all stakeholders to help deliver positive change in Bootle.”