New Strand Shopping Centre
|Location||Bootle, Merseyside, England|
|Opening date||4 October 1968|
|Management||Bob Greenhalgh - Centre Manager|
|No. of stores and services||130|
|No. of anchor tenants||5|
|Total retail floor area||407,000 square feet (38,000 m2)|
|No. of floors||2|
|Website||Strand Shopping Centre Website|
The New Strand Shopping Centre, known locally simply as The Strand, is the main shopping centre in Bootle, Merseyside, England. Opened in 1968, it was part of a larger Bootle redevelopment during this period, which was also complemented by the establishment of the Girobank headquarters in nearby Netherton.
The centre was extended between 1997 and 1998 and completed in November the same year to provide additional retail outlets, as well as additional car-parking facilities and improved transportation to the centre. The Strand centre is also widely known for the 1993 abduction of toddler James Bulger, who was later found murdered on a nearby railway line. Police examined CCTV footage recorded in the centre and later discovered that two ten year old boys, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, were responsible for his abduction and murder.
In October 2014, it was announced that London-based Ellandi had purchased the shopping centre, yet was sold to Sefton Council just two and a half years later.
The Strand opened on 4 October 1968 by Mayor of Bootle, Alderman Oliver Ellis as part of a larger Bootle redevelopment during this period, having previously been streets of housing. The Strand saw its first major redevelopment and expansion in 1997-1998, conceived in response to the shortage of larger sized units in Bootle. The redevelopment project consisted of a 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) expansion to the existing shopping centre mall, providing new floor space to a host of new retailers, whilst also providing a direct link into a new bus station and transport interchange for Merseyrail, all being completed in November 1998. Additional parking facilities were provided in the form of a new multi storey carpark which complements the existing multi story carpark adjacent.
The centre was purchased by London-based Ellandi in 2014, who announced plans to update the signage, improve accessibility and bring in new retailers. Under their ownership, the return of anchor tenant TJ Hughes was announced, as well as a vacancy rate decrease to less than 10%, with a footfall increase of 14% each year. Ellandi sold the shopping centre in 2017 to Sefton Council for £32.5m, who cited the desire to protect local jobs and assist towards a wider region regeneration, as well as to generate a stable income for the council. The council spent almost £700,000 on legal advice for the purchase of the shopping centre. An estimated 118,000 shoppers visit the centre weekly. Despite the sale, Ellandi will continue to manage the shopping centre, whilst working alongside Sefton Council to deliver their regeneration strategy.
Stores in the shopping centre include TJ Hughes, New Look, Iceland, B&M, Wilko and JD Sports. TJ Hughes is the centre's largest tenant since returning with bigger premises in October 2015, having previously closed in 2011.
It is served by the Bootle New Strand railway station running on the Northern Line, with trains running to Southport and Liverpool city centre. Bus links to the Strand became much improved following the extension which took place during 1999, which included a new bus terminal amongst other extensions to the main building.
The shopping centre has been criticised for their health and safety procedures, when a disabled woman struggled to evacuate the building when a chip shop caught fire on 27 October 2008. The woman was trapped inside the TJ Hughes department store as smoke filled the building, and claims she told a store assistant, "don't forget us, will you?" and asked for a Health and Safety officer, but never received the required assistance. Around 1,000 shoppers were evacuated as three fire crews were called to Costara's Fish Bar just after 2 pm and took over three hours to extinguish the blaze.
The shopping centre has won a Home Office award for its efforts in tackling crime, with just a handful of other towns and cities in the North West of England gaining the honour. Following a fall in crime rates to become one of the lowest in the region, it was granted a Safer Business Award.
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