Image courtesy of the Sefton Council
Community impact | Case study

A transformative town square

It’s Bootle’s time to shine, as The Strand Shopping Centre undergoes enormous urban transformation to become the heart of the town centre’s physical, social and economic regeneration, restoring civic pride within the community.

The context

The Strand Transformation Programme is made up of four phases spanning between 2023 and 2031. In 2017, Sefton Council purchased Bootle Strand Shopping Centre as a key part of its commitment to regenerate the town centre. Underpinning the business case for the acquisition was the recognition that ownership of the Strand was essential to enable the wider regeneration of the town centre. This included recognizing the need to invest in the shopping centre to ensure it remains a positive asset at the heart of the Bootle community.

This project is a terrific opportunity to create a real place-based destination in an area of Liverpool City Region that hasn’t had any significant past investment.

The vision is to reinforce the ‘Spirit of Place’ for the people of Bootle with immediate impact, winning the hearts and minds of residents by connecting and framing the unique physical assets of the high street, through the Strand Shopping Centre, down to the Canalside and waterfront beyond. In addition, it will offer new cultural, education and ‘meanwhile’ spaces to the community. This will significantly enhance and improve the perception of the town, increasing footfall, dwell time, and spend in the local economy.

The process

Avison Young’s involvement demonstrates how a genuine focus on social value outcomes and community engagement set from the very start of the strategic brief can benefit the early stages of a project. The focus on value creation based on a broader definition of ‘shared value’ has helped to frame the project from the start. This has helped to achieve some of the early goals of the project, namely the award of funding for the first phase and positive engagement from the community. We recognize that this is a long-term project which is at the very start with the full intended outcomes yet to be realized.

Avison Young was appointed by Sefton Council to deliver a RIBA Stage 1 compliant Design Report. We completed this with assistance from our trusted technical design team made up of K2 Architects and WSP, as well as third party assistance from Sefton Councils Asset Management Team Ellandi, who developed the Vacant Possession Strategy and Operational SWOT Analysis. Within this report we also outlined a complete “Route to Market” (Procurement) Analysis and Demolition Strategy.

The impact

Following the initial master planning works, Sefton Council were awarded £20m from the 2nd round of Levelling Up Funding developed by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). It is assumed that there is an agreement in principle between Sefton Council and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) for an additional £18m of funding for this scheme.

  • Avison Young contributed to the overall vision of the place and created plans to enable the council to deliver a viable scheme over several phases
  • Our community engagement included the Placed Academy, where local students contributed ideas which fed into the vision, and consideration of uses, affordability and community benefits
  • We supported Sefton Council in the £20m grant award from the Levelling Up Fund

Avison Young has now been commissioned to oversee the delivery of RIBA-compliant design proposals. With Sefton sharing our passion for building Social Value into this regeneration opportunity they have agreed to also appoint our Social Value and ESG team to develop an ongoing Social Value Strategy for the Strand for Phase 1 of the development.

As we look ahead to implementation, we are proposing a social value monitoring framework to meet a variety of stakeholder audiences, not just meeting the measurement and reporting required by the grant.

Avison Young’s involvement demonstrates how a genuine focus on social value outcomes and community engagement set from the very start of the strategic brief can benefit the early stages of a project.

This article is part of our 2022 Impact Report

Download the full report