Later this year, top comedians Jason Byrne, Jo Caulfield and Scott Bennett and local band Red Rum Club will appear at Comedy and Music festivals at Salt and Tar, the new brand for Bootle’s Canalside events space agreed by Sefton Council’s Cabinet today.
Salt and Tar’s emerging 2023 events programme includes the three-day Comedy Weekender. Chris McCausland, Daliso Chaponda, Nina Gilligan and Brendan Riley will also be appearing at the May event which will be held in a 500-seat marquee.
Red Rum Club will be just one of the bands appearing at the Music Festival, which will take place over two weekends in July.
A full programme for the coming year, including A Food and Drink Festival, outdoor cinema screenings, community events and live music, markets and beer festivals and a Christmas event is being developed.
At their meeting this morning, Sefton Council’s Cabinet agreed the new Salt and Tar brand that has been developed for the Canalside as part of an updated Strategy and Business Plan. It refers to Bootle’s rich industrial heritage, with the Brotherton’s Tar Distillery on Hawthorne Road and the area’s historic link to the salt trade.
When questioned, people said Salt and Tar was ‘easy to remember’ and ‘short, sweet, and creative’. They also described it as being ‘catchy and flows well’ and ‘something you would remember,’.
At this morning’s meeting, Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills said:
“Events already held at Bootle Canalside have shown us that they attract people to The Strand and the town centre so I’m pleased to see this important step forward in developing this impressive new brand for the area and the beginnings of an exciting programme for 2023.
“Anyone visiting the site will see that work is underway, the fence along the canal has already been removed with plans to provide an attractive entertainment complex with covered areas, bars and food outlets and canalside access scheduled for completion later this year.”
The development of Salt and Tar branding and events programme is part of Sefton Council’s work 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.
Today’s Cabinet meeting also approved 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 provided 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.
When the plans were unveiled in December, Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council said:
“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.”