SEFTON Council has appointed a real estate and regeneration advisor to help with the ‘transformation’ of the Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle.
Avison Young, supported by K2 architects, will now help the local authority to ‘identify the best options for investment in this key town centre asset’, as well as deliver more appropriate amenity for Bootle residents and make better use of the shopping centre itself.
Avison Young say their 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.
The Champion reported last week how the council was forced to defend its purchase of the Strand in 2017 for a reported £32.5million, after it was revealed that its value has now fallen to £14.24million.
Conservative councillors criticised the purchase at the time and say the fall in value “shows Labour cannot be trusted to manage the town’s finances.”
Council leader Ian Maher, however, said the shopping centre will be a catalyst for the regeneration of the town after the pandemic and this is only possible because it was acquired by the local authority.
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, fuelling 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.”