Sefton sets out 20-year vision for Bootle
The council hopes to adopt an area action plan in order to “direct and encourage the right kinds of development and investment into the area”.
Sefton Council has launched a consultation on the regulatory document, which sets out a clear vision for Bootle for the next 20 years in order to influence planning decisions. The consultation will run until 6 November and can be accessed at sefton.gov.uk.
Once adopted, the area action plan will form part of the development plan for Sefton alongside the local plan.
Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “Our 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.”
The area action plan focuses on five key areas: design, housing, employment, public realm, and town centre improvements.
Proposals seek to create places, buildings, and spaces that “reflect the best of local character, work well for everyone, promote healthy active lifestyles, look good, last well, and will adapt to the future needs of residents and businesses.”
New developments should respond positively to their surroundings and encourage active use in public areas, with Sefton Council calling for the creation of site-specific design codes.
For the town’s canal corridor, developments should promote movement, increase access, and provide leisure activities, while enhancing the area’s industrial heritage.
Sefton Council wants to provide the right number and type of new homes for Bootle.
Affordable housing is a key part of Sefton Council’s proposals. The council is calling for developments to provide at least 15% affordable housing provision where more than 15 homes are being delivered.
In terms of housing mix, a minimum of 25% of market housing should be one- or two-bedroom properties, while a minimum of 40% should have three bedrooms.
The authority wants to protect Bootle’s most sustainable employment areas and the jobs they provide.
The area action plan highlights a number of sites designated for industrial, office, and general employment development.
Those designated for industrial use are Canal Street, Maritime Enterprise Park, Hawthorn Road, Orrell Mount, and Regent Road.
If approved, Bootle Office Quarter will remain as the main site of office location, with buildings such as St John’s House and Magdalen House protected from conversion or redevelopment. The amount of protected floor space for office use is around 455,000 sq ft.
The plan also prioritises the refurbishment of the Town Hall complex to be brought back into civic use.
A key vision for Bootle is “making space for nature.”
All existing parks, open spaces, and playing fields will be protected from development, while all major proposals should consider how access to nearby parks can be created or improved.
The council also seeks to improve access for pedestrians and cyclists, along with better signage and crossing points.
Town centre improvements
Sefton Council wants to transform Bootle town centre into a “focus of activity for the town and creates a place that residents and businesses are proud of”.
This would be achieved through the redevelopment of vacant land and buildings, as well as the regeneration of key areas, most notably the Strand Shopping Centre.
The authority set out its £20m strategy for the development of the shopping centre in May, with the vision to provide a new focus for shopping, community, and leisure.
Maher said: “Our vision of offering a diverse range of services within the Strand and the transformation of the surrounding areas would not be possible without council ownership of the shopping centre and the loyalty of the people who go there.
“Reimagining what the town centre is for and expanding its offering will help us benefit Bootle for generations to come”, he continued.
“The work we are all doing, both at the council and through our fantastic community champions, is a catalyst for further regeneration and good growth that strengthens the local economy, attracts more investment into the town, and improves the health, wellbeing and life chances of local residents.”