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Bootle Canalside events area to be branded ‘Salt and Tar’

SALT AND TAR: MADE IN BOOTLE is the proposed new brand for the Canalside Event space, Sefton Council’s January Cabinet meeting will hear.

Referring to the town’s rich 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’. The report forms part of the updates Strategy and Business Plan, to be presented to Sefton Council’s Cabinet meeting on Thursday 5th January 2023.

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.

Work on the site is underway with the fence along the canal having already been removed. Detailed plans to provide an attractive entertainment complex with covered areas, bars, food outlets and canalside access are being progressed and 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, and a 220% increase in footfall in The Strand’s Palatine compared to the previous year.

“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 £20 million 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.

January’s Cabinet meeting will also be asked to approve a new Business Plan for The Strand, which sets out how re-purposing The Strand will create an enhanced and more diversified town centre, support the growth of a night-time economy and deliver new amenities needed by local people and businesses.

Among the proposed changes are better retail provision and the introduction of alternative uses including health, education, and technology. Additionally, the adjacent Canalside site will continue to be developed, along with the introduction of new green corridors and improvements to The Strand’s public spaces.

Generating an evening and night-time economy through new leisure food and drink uses will increase the time shoppers and visitors spend at The Strand. This will help encourage the return of businesses to the Town Centre.

The Cabinet report also provides an overview of the impacts of the cost of living crisis on the retail sector and particularly on Bootle, where the inflation rate for residents will be higher than the national rate – 12%, compared to 9% for the wealthiest households – as local residents spend a higher proportion of their household budget spend on staples such as food and energy.

Cllr Maher added:

“As landlord of The Strand, Sefton Council is in a position to develop this exciting medium and long-term vision for growth at the heart of Bootle which the private sector has historically failed to do. Our intervention will make this happen for our community.

“Our vision reflects local ambitions and aspirations to generate positive economic, social and environmental outcomes for people in the town and where deprivation means the effects of the national cost of living crisis hits particularly hard.

“The particularly harsh effect the national cost of living crisis is having on many Bootle households reinforces the importance of investment to support town centre recovery and resilience.

“What we need is the Government to work with us on this important regeneration project to breathe a new lease of life into an area that is among the most deprived and hardest hit by COVID in the country. A positive start would be to support us by approving our Levelling Up Fund bid.

“We are determined to build on successes such as this and are committed to ongoing engagement with local people, businesses and other stakeholders to ensure our plans continue to reflect what they need and want to see.

“I welcome the Salt and Tar proposals and the updated Business Plan and hope my Cabinet colleagues will do too.”