Bootle – Has Sefton Council been involved in off-shore dealing over Strand Shopping Centre?

Bootle Town Hall – The Labour administration runs the Borough from here

This has been a odd carry on ever since it first emerged that Sefton Council was buying this shopping centre. I blogged about it at the time the story started to leak out (May 2017 – see link below to access that posting) from Labour’s Bootle Town Hall bunker:-

£32.5m borrowed & spent by Sefton buying Strand shops

Sefton Council are now saying (Champion Newspaper 18/10/17) that the Lib Dem Group Leader on the Council was briefed about the £32.5m purchase, yet how on earth does that square with Lib Dems having to make Freedom of Information requests about the deal? What’s more the meetings about the deal were held behind closed doors and opposition councillors were prevented from hearing the discussion or of scrutinising the deal! If it’s such a great deal for the Borough why on earth has virtually everything about it been kept under wraps?

Why Buy Bootle Shopping Centre but not one elsewhere in the Borough?

It also begs the question, why was the Strand Shopping Centre picked to purchase? Why not Maghull Square Shopping Centre for example or any of the other shopping centres across the Borough?

John Pugh makes Freedom of Information request to get to the bottom of the property deal

A lot of digging has been going on by former Southport MP John Pugh despite Sefton’s stonewalling and John thinks a picture is emerging involving off-shore companies. It seems that 2 Luxembourg companies were part of the deal process although Sefton have remained silent on the matter.

Interestingly, whilst an MP, John was very much involved with looking at company deals via off-shore companies so he’s not going to let this Sefton one be slid back under the Bootle Town Hall carpet.

The Labour leadership on Sefton Council need to allow the whole deal to be opened up for scrutiny. There should be no place for secrecy when £32.5m of public money is being borrowed and spent on behalf of Sefton Borough residents.

Bootle – Sefton Council buys back The Strand Shopping Centre for how much though?

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.

Bootle – Its present day troubles & a vision for the future

Bootle Townscape

Bootle Townscape

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.

Stanley Road Bootle

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.

Bootle – To become ‘The star attraction of North Liverpool’

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

I have commented on the unfortunate declining fortunes of Bootle many times before. What with HMRC pulling all its 3,000 staff out of the Town and with M&S already having run for the hills things have not been looking good for the place I have worked in since 1975.

My last relevant posting is available via the link below:-

Is this plan going to revive Bootle’s fortunes? Is it the right plan to revive its fortunes?

Bootle – One blow after another

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.