Strand business plan aims to revitalise Bootle

Senior Sefton councillors asked to approve new business plan for The Strand amid a £20m Levelling Up bid for Bootle town centre. Tony McDonough reports

Bootle Strand
Bootle Canalside is set to be called Salt and Tar: Made In Bootle


Sefton Council cabinet members will be asked to approve a new business plan for The Strand area of Bootle as the authority waits on a £20m Levelling Up bid.

It is asking for the cash from the Government to breathe new life into Bootle town centre. In March 2022 the council unveiled a new vision for the area, focused more around leisure and local amenities.

January’s Cabinet meeting will be asked to approve a new business plan for The Strand, which sets out how repurposing it will create an enhanced and more diversified town centre.

This will support the growth of a night-time economy and deliver new amenities needed by local people and businesses.

At the centre of the vision is The Strand shopping centre. In 2017 the council took out a loan to acquire the 400,000 sq ft 1960s shopping mall for £32.5m from London-based retail investor Ellandi and Avenue Capital.

However, in September 2021 council leader Ian Maher admitted its value had plummeted to under £15m.

Sefton sees the centre as a vital component of regeneration of the wider Strand area. In partnership with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority it has pushed forward with the Bootle Canalside project.

Sefton has employed property consultancy Avison Young and consultants K2 Architects to come up with a vision for the area.

In May the council invested £567,000 to get the £1.65m Bootle Canalside events, entertainment, and hospitality venue up and running in the  summer. Now the council is proposing a permanent name for the venue – Salt and Tar: Made In Bootle.

Referring to the town’s industrial heritage, with the Brotherton’s Tar Distillery on Hawthorne Road and the area’s historic link to the salt trade, the Salt and Tar name is described in the report as ‘easy to remember’ and ‘short, sweet, and creative’.

When tested with over 100 people, they said the brand is ‘catchy and flows well’, ‘something you would remember,’ and linked with the area’s history.

A three-day Comedy Weekender in May and a Music Festival stretching over two weekends in July are among the highlights of Salt and Tar’s emerging 2023 events programme.

Jason Byrne, Jo Caulfield and Scott Bennett are among the stars lined up for the comedy dates, which will be held in a 500-seat marquee. Chris McCausland, Daliso Chaponda, Nina Gilligan and Brendan Riley are also on the bill.

And Bootle band Red Rum Club, hot on the heels of their USA and UK tours, are confirmed for the Music Festival with around 3,000 tickets already sold.

A Food and Drink Festival, outdoor cinema screenings, community events and live music, markets and beer festivals are also being planned as well as a Christmas event.


Bootle Strand Shopping Centre which is owned by Sefton Council


Work on the site is under way with the fence along the canal having already been removed. Detailed plans to provide an entertainment complex with covered areas, bars, food outlets and canalside access are being progressed. The project is scheduled to be completed for opening in spring 2023.

Cllr Ian Maher, leader of Sefton Council, said: “We know Canalside events attract people to The Strand and Bootle town centre. Our community Christmas event on the site, and other activities in the centre, led to a 62% increase in footfall on the day compared to the same Saturday in 2021.

“This new Salt and Tar branding of the site combined with an exciting and developing programme of events for the coming year will help to cement the area’s role and contribute to the revitalisation of The Strand and wider Bootle town centre economy.”

Sefton Council submitted a bid to the Government’s Levelling Up fund in July for a £20m to underpin a regeneration scheme to transform Bootle town centre, focused on The Bootle Strand and canalside area. 

The Government is now expected to announce the outcome of the Levelling Up bidding process early in 2023.

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