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Sefton welcomes £20 million funding announcement for Bootle Strand regeneration

Shoppers in the Bootle Strand Shopping CentreYesterday (Wednesday 15th March) Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, announced, as part of the Spring Budget, a £58 million fund for “Levelling Up Capital Projects”, of which £20 million has been allocated to the first phase of repurposing the Strand shopping centre and wider transformation of Bootle Town Centre.

Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (CA) has also shown its commitment to supporting Sefton Council with its vision for the future of Bootle Town Centre, by awarding a further £2 million of funding to enable the Council to carry out further pre-development work to bring forward a Full Business Case for future phases of the project.

Delighted

Leader of Sefton Council, Cllr Ian Maher, said: “Of course, we were naturally disappointed about the outcome of our bids for Levelling Up funding in both Bootle and Crosby.  However, we are delighted to have received notification of the intent to award Sefton Council £20m of capital funding for the first phase of the repurposing of the Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle town centre.

“This award reflects the quality of the Levelling Up funding bid submissions we made to Government, the vision we developed for the future of the town centre, and the strength and breadth of consultation and engagement with stakeholders and communities across the town.

“It also reflects the need in Bootle for such funding, given the continued economic challenges the town faces, that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis in recent years.”

Big step in the right direction

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Devolution has given regions like ours the opportunity to chart our own course and invest in projects that will make a genuine difference to people’s lives.

“Despite some setbacks and disappointing decisions via the Levelling Up Fund, today’s announcement is a big step in the right direction and it is fantastic to see that Sefton’s ambitions for the future of Bootle Town Centre are finally being realised. This is the difference devolution makes – we are helping to open doors to projects that are rejuvenating parts of our communities which have been starved of funding for decades. I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for Bootle Town Centre.”

Sefton Council’s vision for Bootle aims to create a thriving town centre that works for all people, brings investment and interest to an area filled with opportunities and builds a happier, healthier, more resilient population.

This vision has been developed, and will continue to be progressed, in close consultation and engagement with stakeholders and communities across Bootle, building on local pride in our town and passion for its exciting future.

Private sector investment

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “£20m will help us to deliver phase 1 of this project, and we believe, will unlock millions of pounds of private sector investment bringing many benefits to Bootle’s economy.

“By broadening the use of space in the town centre, we will be able to keep some retail space, but also be able to allocate space for education, health and social care uses, an enhanced leisure and hospitality offer, and the development of further community, cultural and creative spaces and offers in the town centre.

“We’ve said it before, Sefton Council is unashamedly ambitious for our communities and our people. We have ambitious plans for Bootle and are committed to delivering the vision for the future of the town centre, which can now progress at pace with this financial support.  We’ve also made similar commitments to the revitalisation of Southport Market, the opening of the Lake House in Waterloo, and the exciting range of projects that form the Southport Town Deal – not least the new £73m Marine Lake Events Centre!

“Sefton truly is ‘Open For Business’!”

‘Health is Wealth’ is theme of latest InvestSefton event for Borough’s businesses

Net Zero event at Formby Hall, hosted in partnership by InvestSefton and Liverpool John Moores University.
Net Zero event at Formby Hall, hosted in partnership by InvestSefton and Liverpool John Moores University.

Sefton businesses of any size or sector are being invited to a ‘Health is Wealth’ workshop focusing on mental health wellbeing.

InvestSefton has teamed up with PACT Mantality to host the workshop at Maghull Town Hall, from 10am to 1pm on Thursday 23rd March.

More productive

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Cabinet Member for Skills and Regeneration said: “Good mental health at work and good management are acknowledged as going hand-in-hand and workplaces with high levels of mental health wellbeing are more productive.

“Our ‘Health is Wealth’ event will provide ‘food for thought’ and highlight practices that Sefton’s business leaders can incorporate to create a positive impact in their personal and professional lives and on their companies and workforces.”

Passionate

InvestSefton is Sefton Council’s enterprise, business support and inward investment service. PACT Mantality is a Sefton based business who are passionate about raising awareness and transforming people’s mental health.

To book places at ‘Health is Wealth’, Sefton businesses should call Dom or Sharon on 0151 934 3452 or email investsefton@sefton.gov.uk

Resounding success

Local online news channel Stand Up for Southport recently described InvestSefton’s latest event, the first ever ‘Sefton Huddle’ for digital, creative and tech companies, as ‘a resounding success’.

Also, the InvestSefton team was recently praised for its Economic Forum and Growth Hub Marketplace event which was attended by over 120 business delegates.

As Sefton Council’s enterprise, business support and inward investment service, InvestSefton offers free information and advice and access to a wide range of services and is there to help any business, of any size, in any sector.

People wanting to find out more about how the InvestSefton can help support their business, can visit www.investsefton.com  or contact the team on 0151 934 3452 or investsefton@sefton.gov.uk .

Digital, creative and tech businesses urged to sign up for first Sefton Huddle

Digital, Creative and Tech Businesses are being invited to the first ‘Sefton Huddle’, at Southport and Birkdale Sports Club on Thursday 23rd February.

Net Zero event at Formby Hall, hosted in partnership by InvestSefton and Liverpool John Moores University.
Net Zero event at Formby Hall, hosted in partnership by InvestSefton and Liverpool John Moores University.

When InvestSefton consulted local businesses in the Digital, Creative and Tech sector last year on what support they wanted to see, a networking group was one of the most popular suggestions.

Facilitated networking group

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Cabinet Member for Skills and Regeneration said: “Our InvestSefton Team wanted to find out the best way they could provide support for Digital, Creative and Tech companies in the Borough and they told us they wanted a facilitated networking group with topics chosen and led by the group’s members.

“This first ‘Sefton Huddle’, later this month is a result of the feedback received.”

Lasting from 10.30am until 1pm the first Sefton Huddle will include opportunities for networking. There will also be an InvestSefton-led discussion which includes an update on Southport’s Enterprise Arcade, the new £1.5 million hub for digital businesses and entrepreneurs, which recently secured planning approval.

To book a place, people should call Dom or Sharon on 0151 934 3452 or email investsefton@sefton.gov.uk.

Business support

InvestSefton is Sefton Council’s enterprise, business support and inward investment service.  It offers free information and advice and access to a wide range of services and is there to help any business, of any size, in any sector.

People wanting to find out more about how the InvestSefton can help support their business, can visit www.investsefton.com or contact the team on 0151 934 3452 or investsefton@sefton.gov.uk.

High-calibre

The InvestSefton team was recently praised for Economic Forum and Growth Hub Marketplace event which was attended by over 120 business delegates. With its high-calibre speakers, the Economic Forum attracts a large crowd of business delegates who enjoy the ‘food-for-thought presentations’.

Feedback from impressed Forum attendees saw the most recent event described as ‘informative’ and ‘interesting’, praised the guest speakers and highlighted how well Sefton helps its businesses.

First of a series

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Cabinet Member for Skills and Regeneration said: “February’s is the first of a series of Sefton Huddles with further events scheduled for Thursdays 8th June and 2nd November 2023 and 1st February next year.

“Our InvestSefton events are popular so I would advise anyone interested on coming along to this relaxed and informal session to sign up now.”

Find out more about Invest Sefton here.

Sefton Council leader calls Government’s Levelling Up announcement ‘another slap in face’

Cllr Ian Maher
Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher

Responding to news that the Government has once again turned down Sefton Council’s Levelling Up Fund bids focused on Bootle and Crosby, the authority’s Leader Cllr Ian Maher said:

“By once again ignoring our bids that would have supported the revitalisation of Bootle and Crosby, the Government has confirmed it has no interest in real levelling up in this country.

“Despite us pointing out that these were areas which were hardest hit by COVID-19 and where some of the country’s highest levels of deprivation are found, the Government’s so-called Department of Levelling Up insisted on assessing our bids in the lowest category.

“This has meant deprived urban areas like Bootle and Crosby’s needs have been assessed against places like the Royal Borough of Tunbridge Wells, Windsor where the Royal Family live, Cambridge and the City of London.

Slap in the face 

“Sadly, this is yet another slap in the face for local people which represents neither a ‘stepping up’, ‘gauging up’ or ‘enhancing communities’ no matter what this Government wants its MPs to call it.

“It’s a setback to our ambitious plans, but we are determined to do what this Government refuses to step up to deliver the boosts our local communities, economies and businesses deserve.

“However, if Sefton is to nonsensically remain in the lowest level of priority, we need to reflect on whether we should be continuing to invest our scarce resources in these incessant beauty contests, which this time has seen funding awarded for the Prime Minister’s own constituency and for Rutland, one of the least deprived constituencies in the country.”

Bootle

In Bootle, Levelling UP funding would have helped underpin the major regeneration scheme to transform the town centre, focused on the iconic The Bootle Strand. 

The plans will result in a more diverse and better-quality town centre with new food and drink; culture, arts and entertainment space which will be branded Salt and Tar and will host Comedy and Music festivals later this year. There will also be a new, hi-tech gigabyte fast digital hub, education and training, business support and a new integrated health and social care hub will all be available on the high-street.

Crosby

In Crosby, the funding would have underpinned a programme of regeneration that will enhance the viability and vitality of Crosby town centre and support local businesses by helping to attract more residents and visitors. Among the elements of the plan are a new learning, skills, health and well-being hub housing a library, GP/community health care and a place for people to both work and develop skills.

A significant upgrade of the main gateways into Crosby town centre, better pedestrian and cycle access and new electric vehicle charging points in car parks, is also planned.

You can find out more about Sefton’s bids here.

Sefton historian takes deep dive in Southport’s Napoleon legend

Emperor Napoleon III

Sefton Council historians are working hard to get to the bottom of a 170 year-old legend involving a French Emperor and his supposed love of Southport.

Prince Louis Napoleon

As the local authority continues to work on incredible plans for its Les Transformations de Southport scheme and the Southport Townscape Heritage Project, historians have been delving deep into a legendary tale which suggests the famous boulevards of Paris were inspired by Prince Louis Napoleon III’s experiences of Lord Street in Southport.

On the 150th anniversary of Napoleon III’s passing, Sefton Council’s Heritage officer Sue Latimer has published her latest findings in an ongoing investigation into the well-known legend.

Striking resemblance

Sue argues the similarities between Southport’s wide, tree-lined Lord Street and the boulevards of Paris cannot be ignored.

She said: “There is no doubt the splendour of Victorian and Edwardian era Southport and Napoleon III’s Paris bear a striking resemblance, especially the iconic Champs Elysées.

“It is this similarity which has led to the belief that Prince Louis Napoleon III, during his mid-1800s exile in England, was inspired and awestruck by the town, in particular Lord Street’s airy width.

“We know that on his eventual return to France, he worked with a renowned architect to redesign Paris into the tree lined boulevard style that is famous around the world and many cannot help but wonder just where he got his inspiration from!”

Townscape Heritage

Sue works on Sefton Council’s Southport Townscape Heritage Project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which is supporting the regeneration of a number of historic properties in the town centre.

The Townscape Heritage project focuses on four streets connecting Lord Street and the Promenade – Coronation Walk, Scarisbrick Avenue, Nevill Street and Bold Street.

Within this small area, you’ll find buildings representing every aspect of Southport’s history and its wildly varied architecture.

There are large hotels and small cottages, later turned into shops; art deco and mock-Tudor styles; verandas and monuments.

Key buildings are eligible for grant-aid to refurbish and restore their historic features, benefiting both their commercial potential and enhancing the streetscape.

Recently works were completed on the refurbishment of 509-515 Lord Street to reinstate the shop fronts and create new flats above, thanks to funding from the project.

Les Transformations de Southport

The work of the team compliments the ongoing Les Transformations de Southport scheme, which is designed to support Southport’s return to the grandeur of Victorian England by focusing on improving physical connections and routes across the town centre.

Sue continued: “There’re no prizes for guessing what inspired the ‘Les Transformations…’ name.

“Historians have found documents stretching back over a century which support the story – one even claims Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte rented a property on Lord Street itself, while other records confirm the eventual Emperor of France visited Lancashire and was friends with the Gerard family who were well known in Southport.

“While we continue to look for more evidence, there is one undeniable truth – Southport’s splendour is up there with the world’s best.”

Find out more about the Napoleon connection by reading  Sue’s fascinating investigation here.

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