Sefton Council have bought back The Strand Shopping Centre which it had previously sold off all its interest in over a number of years some time ago.
This display board was put up not so long ago when the last owners took over The Strand.
Word is also that the deal is worth anything from £30m to a cool £60m+ (not confirmed) and that the Council is borrowing money to make the purchase. It seems that they intend to finance the loan via the rents charged to the businesses that operate out of The Strand and they are saying that this will more than cover their loan repayments and leave money over for other spending.
The Army recruiting outside The Strand last year.
Mm, for the sake of Sefton’s Council tax payers this had better work out in the medium to long term otherwise it will be a poor deal for the Borough.
Interestingly the Council is making this purchase knowing that 3,000+ Civil Service jobs, which are presently based in Bootle, are to be be shipped into Liverpool within a couple of years and that is bound to have a negative impact on the footfall of The Strand.
There don’t seem to be many real detailed facts about this purchase in the public domain, but then again the purchase was seemingly agreed by the Council’s all-Labour Cabinet and opposition members of the Council have not seen the background papers I understand. Indeed, a Lib Dem opposition member who was sat observing the the very Cabinet meeting where the purchase was seemingly agreed was asked to leave whilst the item was discussed.
I wonder how this very significant expenditure of public money is to be srutinised and by whom? This matter needs to be out in the open together with all the facts.
Click on the photos to enlarge them
The Liverpool Echo has both the stories on its web site – see links above
It is somewhat ironic that on the same day I found a very negative and a potentially very positive story on the Echo web site about the town I have worked in all my adult life.
There can be no doubt that Bootle is presently going through some tough times indeed not least because of the recent withdrawal of retail giant M&S and the impending removal of all the 2500+ HMRC staff working in Bootle and Netherton to central Liverpool.
Well surely there has to be a positive vision otherwise the only alternative is further decline. We can only hope that investment private & public follows the vision.
On the back of HMRC giving notice to quit to Bootle and Netherton ACAS has seemingly now joined the abandon Bootle movement of Civil Service jobs out of a Town that so obviously needs them. My last posting about the HMRC job losses is available via the link below:-
The HMRC jobs some 2,500+ are going into Liverpool whilst the much smaller number of ACAS jobs are moving to economically overheated Manchester!
What on earth was the point of putting Civil Service jobs into Bootle in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s simply to withdraw them all now? Does no one in Government give a fig for the more deprived and economically struggling communities in the north of England?
Is this all part of the Norther Poorhouse policy to further impoverish the towns and smaller communities of the north by pushing all the jobs and investment into the major northern cities? What good can come from such a policy?
One of my major concerns about about the development of City Regions is that exactly this sort of thing will continue to happen. What’s the point of Liverpool being successful, for example, if its surrounding Boroughs are asset stripped to achieve that. I despair I really do.
The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above
Poor old Bootle it’s one piece of bad news after another recently. First it is to lose over 3,000 Civil Service jobs, then Wetherspoons say they are pulling out of the Merton Pub, then M&S says it is leaving town and now redundancies at Hugh Bard College!
Time for some good news for Bootle please.
The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above
In fact I got this story before I saw it on the Echo web site from staff in the store when I popped in earlier today. They are expecting closure August or a little later.
Coming only a short time after HMRC announced it is taking over 3,000 civil service jobs out of Bootle/Netherton this is another hammer blow to the fragile Bootle economy. One wonders if the loss of the civil service jobs in Bootle contributed to M&S deciding to sling their hook?
M&S has clearly been the anchor store for the Stand Shopping Centre ever since it opened in 1971. The Strand seemed to be on the up recently following around a third of the retail units being empty at the height of the recession. It will be interesting and indeed most probably very challenging to see how the new owners of the Strand find a new anchor store.
I think many of us will worry over the future for the Bootle economy.
I posted some time ago about what I dubbed ‘Exit Bootle’ as HMRC announced that a huge number of Civil Service jobs were to be taken out of Bootle/Netheron and for some of them then to be relocated within Liverpool. My original posting is available via the link below:-
The devastating effect of these job losses on the fragile Bootle economy has indeed been completely ignored and therefore not taken into account by the those planning the move, this has been admitted to. Government seems to have adopted the stance of ‘this has nothing to do with us, it’s a matter for HMRC to decide upon’ or words to that effect!
But it’s not just Bootle where HMRC is going to effect huge job losses on a local economy, it is happening across the UK and MP’s representing those communities, many of them deprived by many social and economic indicators, are naturally up in arms. So much so that a debate on the floor of the House of Commons was held on 28th April and Peter Dowd the MP for Bootle contributed to it. Here’s a link to the Hansard report on the debate:-
My thanks to Peter for his contribution in my capacity as a serving Civil Servant, a trade unionist and as a former Leader of Sefton Council. Taking jobs out of Bootle in their thousands will harm the economy and, as I have said before, it reverses a well trodden path that has been successful in providing jobs in Sefton. Let’s not forget that HMRC also took jobs away from Southport when they closed Southport Tax Office a few years ago.
Even at this late stage Government needs to stop washing its hands of the matter. Of course Government is responsible for a Civil Service Department reorganising itself in a way that will be economically destructive to many deprived communities across the UK. There’s no one else to blame.