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Recommendation on Marketing Mix Towards Tourism

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A Tourism Vision for Sefton - 2020


Final Draft




Prepared by
Sefton MBC
Tourism Department
Sefton MBC
10 Portland Street
Southport
Merseyside
PR8 1LJ
                                                                    2




                                                       June 2004


Sefton Tourism Strategy


CONTENTS


      1.    Executive Summary
            1.1 Key Findings
            1.2 Key Markets
            1.3 Key Opportunities
            1.4 Organisation
      2.    Introduction
            2.1 Purpose
            2.2 A Clear Vision
            2.3 Other themes
            2.4 An Integrated Strategy
      3.    The Tourism Market
            3.1 Market Trends
            3.2 Implications for Sefton and Key Markets
      4.    S.W.O.T.
      5.    Developing Products in Line with Regional Thinking
            5.1 Cross Cutting Themes
            5.2 The Framework
            5.3 Signature Projects – The Mersey Waterfront
            5.4 Creating Sefton‟s Signature Projects
      6.    Signature Project 1 - A Branding Framework for Sefton
            6.1 A Structured Approach to Managing Sefton Brands
            6.2 Star Brands
            6.3 Defining Sefton‟s Slipstream Brands
            6.4 A Branding Framework for Sefton
            6.5 Creating an umbrella brand?
            6.6 A Gateway to Culture?
                                                              3


7.    Signature Project 2 - A Policy for 2008
      7.1 The Opportunities
      7.2 An Invitation
      7.3 Helping Deliver 2008
      7.4 A Role for the Cultural Forum
8.    Signature Project 3 - The Sefton Coast
      8.1 A Hidden Treasure
      8.2 Harnessing the Potential
      8.3 Developing the Theme
      8.4 The Potential for Investment
      8.5 Developing a Quality Destination
      8.6 Transport
      8.7 Marketing The Sefton Coast
9.    Signature Project 4 - A New Vision for Bootle
      9.1 A Catalyst for Change
      9.2 Principles of the Bootle Town Centre Masterplan
      9.3 A Cultural Gateway
      9.4 Bootle Museum and Exhibition Centre
      9.5 Where?
      9.6 A Hub for Arts and Culture
      9.7 By the Waterside
      9.8 A Mix of Uses – Developing a “Canal Quarter”
      9.9 A Creative Cluster
      9.10 Linking the Town Centre to the Canal
      9.11 Events
      9.12 Branding and Managing the Town Centre
      9.13 Marketing
10.   Signature Project 5 - East Sefton & the Hornby Centre
      10.1 The Place
      10.2 Realising the Potential
      10.3 Visitor Centre / Hornby Museum
      10.4 Catering for the Mass Market
      10.5 Where?
      10.6 Hornby Trail
                                                                    4


      10.7 Developing New Themes
      10.8 Marina
      10.9 Developing a Brand – “Grand National Country”
11.   Signature Project 6 - Making the Most of the Grand National
      11.1 Regional Thinking
      11.2 An Opportunity for Sefton
      11.3 Working with Merseyside
      11.4 Grand National Festival
      11.5 A Nice Place to Be
12.   Winning Themes
      12.1 Night Nirvana
      12.2 Sports Mecca
      12.3 Fantastic Food
      12.4 Superb Shopping
13.   Regional Gems
      13.1 Making the Most of the Region‟s Assets
      13.2 Realising their True Potential
      13.3 Leeds / Liverpool Canal
14.   Excellent Events
      14.1 Events in Southport
      14.2 Events in Sefton
      14.3 Mersey River Festival – Crosby Coastal Park
      14.4 Goodwood of the North – Aintree Racecourse
      14.5 Extreme Sports – Ainsdale
      14.6 Open Air Theatre – Lydiate Hall
      14.7 Marketing
15.   A Region for Business
16.   Celebrating Growing Excellence
17.   Making it Easy
      17.1 Learning from Southport
18.   Intelligence Led.
19.   Next Steps.
20.   Appendices
                                                                                                    5



1.   Executive Summary


     1.1 Key Findings


     In developing tourism initiatives that will embrace the entire borough of Sefton, the
     Tourism Department of Sefton Council have prepared a Tourism Strategy for Sefton.


     Sefton has a number of strengths that it can use to develop its visitor economy in a
     way that will improve the quality of life of its residents. Tourism can be an important
     driver for regeneration and economic growth.


     Sefton has a number of strengths including Southport, the Grand National, the Sefton
     Coast and the Leeds and Liverpool canal that cuts through the east and south of the
     borough.


     Within the context of the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) New
     Vision for Northwest Coastal Resorts, it is proposed that Southport will assume the
     status as the regions „Classic Resort‟. This in turn has led to the existing tourism
     strategy for the resort being tailored incorporate this theme and cater for the changing
     expectations in the 21st Century market place. The purpose of this strategy therefore is
     to develop tourism initiatives that are separate from, but complement the burgeoning
     Southport product.


     1.2 Key Markets


     Day visits and short-stay visits will be the key source of leisure tourism business. The
     focus for marketing should be on local and regional markets.


     Business tourism is also critical to the established conference destination of Southport
     where the need for a 4/5 star hotel is essential if it is to realise its potential as one of
     the top 20 conference destinations in the United Kingdom. The opportunities for
     business tourism in other parts of the borough are confined to facilities at Aintree Race
                                                                                          6


Course and the potential to host small-scale exhibitions and seminars in Bootle. The
potential to develop sustainable business tourism in South Sefton is limited due to the
burgeoning offers in Liverpool and Southport.


1.3 Key Opportunities


The strategy has been structured in order to fit with the Regional Tourism Strategy.
The following elements are, therefore, included:


   Signature Projects. Six key projects that will transform the tourism offer across
    Sefton have been identified. There are three projects that relate to the Sefton
    Coast, East Sefton and Bootle. The remaining projects are policy related and seek
    to provide guidance on key issues that will effect the local and regional tourism
    industry over the short, medium and long term. They have been called:


               A Branding Framework for Sefton
                To develop a structured framework for managing new and existing
                product brands in Sefton in order to enhance the opportunities to
                develop and promote the borough’s emerging tourism product to key
                target markets.
               A Policy for 2008
                The importance of European Capital of Culture, 2008 is a defining
                theme that underpins the entire strategy. The huge public and media
                interest that will be placed on Merseyside before and during 2008 is an
                opportunity for Sefton to work with Liverpool and Greater Merseyside
                to enhance the performance of the cultural sector.
               The Sefton Coast
                A coastline that means all things to all people and an essential part of
                the Mersey waterfront – Linking the assets contained within the Sefton
                Coast, and building on anticipated investment to produce a unique
                destination for nature, scenery, sport, leisure, heritage and events.
                                                                                           7


               „A New Vision for Bootle‟ – A Cultural Gateway
                A mixed use town centre that fully exploits Bootle’s unique heritage
                and the development of the Leeds/Liverpool canal, creating a cultural
                gateway to Liverpool in its build up to the European Capital of Culture
                in 2008.
               The Hornby Centre – East Sefton
                Building on the area’s fascinating heritage and rich natural
                environment, the development of the Hornby visitor centre will open
                East Sefton to the mass market.
               Making the most of the Grand National
                Working with Merseyside to ensure Sefton fully exploits the
                opportunities for investment and profile presented by this world
                famous event.


   Branding. The strategy is to work within the North West Regional Strategy for
    Tourism to position the aforementioned destination projects as slipstream brands
    operating alongside and in close partnership with the regional attack and
    development brands of Liverpool and Southport. Similarly the potential to create a
    separate umbrella brand will also need to be explored for these projects to
    facilitate exposure to key local and sub regional markets.


   Winning themes. The strategy emphasises key themes like culture, events,
    birdwatching and industrial heritage. They are also highlighted by the Regional
    Tourism Strategy.


   Events. The strategy emphasises building on the Southport events programme to
    embrace the entire borough. New locations for events that have a strong USP are
    Crosby Coastal Park, Aintree Race Course, Ainsdale Beach and Lydiate Hall. It is
    also proposed that regular events in Bootle will help the revitalisation of the town
    centre. The strategy also gives particular emphasis to working with Liverpool to
    make Sefton an important part of the European Capital of Culture programme
    before during and after 2008.
                                                                                          8


   Intelligence. The strategy emphasises the need to build on the model used by
    Southport to improve the collation, dissemination and accuracy of data about the
    performance of tourism across the entire borough of Sefton.


   Infrastructure. The strategy includes initiatives to help make it easy for
    visitors to find information, book, get to Sefton, and enjoy the experience.


   Celebrating and Growing Excellence. The strategy is to work in partner ship with
    local and regional stakeholders to encourage excellence in the
    quality of the tourism offers. This does not necessarily mean 5-star. It means
    excellence in all types of offer at all price ranges that are appropriate to the market
    sector.


   Regional Gems. Sefton has a number of attractions that are of regional
    significance but need revitalising, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal for example.


Liverpool Capital of Culture 2008 is an opportunity that gives additional
strength to most, if not all of these opportunities. Many of these projects could add
considerable value to the Capital of Culture programme and enable Sefton to take
advantage of the economic development and cultural opportunities resulting from it.


1.4 Organisation


As outlined above, there are a large number of opportunities in Sefton that could be
exploited in order to create economic regeneration or growth through tourism. This
strategy is particularly timely as the North West Development Agency have just
completed their Regional Tourism Strategy.


The Regional Tourism Strategy focuses on the organisation of tourism through strong
sub-regional Destination Management Organisations (DMOs). These DMOs will have
greater authority, greater resources and will act as the main voice for tourism in the
sub-region.
                                                                                             9


The implications of this are that Sefton will continue to work closely with the sub
regional DMO, the Mersey Partnership, and explore appropriate ways to enhance
collaboration. Similarly there is a need to develop effective relationships at local level
to ensure that where the potential for tourism exists, development opportunities are
moulded into a credible offer. The implementation of the strategy should, where
possible, replicate the successful business management network underpinning the
Southport tourism offer as a model of best practice.


The need to work more closely with Liverpool is enhanced by the European Capital of
Culture programme. This will be a major opportunity for Sefton over the next decade,
and can produce significant accelerated benefits, especially for the borough‟s profile,
regeneration, events programme and cultural objectives.
                                                                                                 10



2.   Introduction


     Sefton is as diverse in its geographic makeup as it is in the maturity of its tourism offer.
     In the north of the borough, the resort of Southport is rapidly emerging as one of the
     Northwest‟s leading tourist destinations, whilst the potential in south, east and west
     Sefton is starting to be realised.


     This strategy will consider the potential “Sefton” has as a complete destination for
     sustainable tourism that will not only make people want to visit, invest and spend their
     disposable income, but will also enhance the quality of life for those already living in
     the borough. It is important to remember from the outset that „tourism‟ is no longer
     about „buckets and spades‟, it represents one of the largest and fastest growing
     sectors of the UK economy, and its impact can influence many different aspects of our
     lives, from the quality of our beaches and recreational facilities to the cultural make up
     of our society.


     2.1 Purpose


     The vision of a flourishing tourism industry that embraces the entire borough of Sefton
     is the raison d‟être of this strategy. In getting to this position, Sefton must establish
     itself as a destination under which a diverse range of tourism attractions can be
     identified and promoted to the mass market. This strategy will seek to establish such
     an identity, as well as helping to create and shape new tourism products that over the
     next 15 years will make Sefton a special place that people will want to come and visit.


     2.2 A Clear Vision

     The strategy clarifies the vision for tourism by proposing that 6 key „signature‟ projects
     be implemented across the borough. Each project will complement and be
     strengthened by each other, as well as those established tourism products within
     Sefton (Southport, golf etc). They will also extend tourism beyond its „traditional
     boundaries‟ by playing to Sefton‟s strengths, creating a critical mass of attractions that
     have broad market appeal. They are:-
                                                                                       11



   A Branding Framework for Sefton
   A Policy for 2008
   The Sefton Coast.
   „A New Vision for Bootle‟ – A Cultural Gateway
   The Hornby Centre – East Sefton
   Making the most of the Grand National


The projects will provide stakeholders with a clear vision of how the raw materials
under their stewardship should be moulded not only to create functional products, but
products that are customer focussed and will enhance the appeal of Sefton as a visitor
destination. Most of all, these projects will enable a shared vision among stakeholders
so that emerging tourism products do not „just appear‟, they are developed in a
structured and strategic fashion to enable sustainability and growth in this rapidly
changing market.


2.3 Other themes


   The strategy will seek to develop communication and holistic thinking between key
    tourism stakeholders. The Atlantic Gateway Project, Sefton Coast Partnership, the
    Mersey Forest Initiative, East Sefton Business Partnership and Sefton Council are
    just some of the organisations implementing projects across Sefton that have
    tourism potential. However without a generic policy for tourism that embraces the
    entire borough, these opportunities will be lost or severely compromised.


   The Leeds/Liverpool Canal is one of Sefton‟s finest assets, yet it is also one of the
    borough‟s best-kept secrets. The canal will be the inspiration for tourism in East
    and South Sefton as it becomes one of the most important gateways into Liverpool
    before, during and after 2008.
                                                                                            12


2.4 An Integrated Strategy

It is essential that tourism in Sefton does not develop in isolation, but evolves and
integrates fully with policy and strategic thinking at all levels. The following sections
highlight some of key strategic drivers that provide the context for this strategy.


    The Regional/Merseyside Context


NWDA - The Strategy for Tourism in England‟s Northwest


The Northwest Development Agency published a new tourism strategy for England‟s
Northwest earlier this year. Designed to establish the region as „the best tourism
destination in Britain, with a tourism industry that is second to none‟, the strategy
provides a clear map for the development of tourism over the next five years. It
defines nine programme areas to facilitate its implementation - six relating to product
development and marketing, and three relating to the capabilities of the tourism sector
itself.


The regional strategy streamlines the Northwest tourism sector by placing great
emphasis on „sub regional partnership working‟ that will be managed by „destination
management organisations‟ (DMO‟s) in each of the main sub regions
(Cheshire/Warrington, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Blackpool/Lancashire and
Cumbria). As the designated DMO for Merseyside, the Mersey Partnership will have a
new role in ensuring that sub regional partners responsible for tourism in Merseyside
play a full part in realising the tourism vision for England‟s Northwest.


Mersey Waterfront Regional Park (MWRP)


The concept of the Mersey Waterfront Regional Park is to “provide a focus for the
enhancement, connection and joint promotion of the diverse and currently
disconnected assets and features located around the Merseyside Coast”. It has a
specific objective of “developing the tourism industry as a more coherent cluster of
economic activity” and, in so doing, developing 42 new or improved attractions.
                                                                                          13


Whilst the purpose of this document is to lay down a vision that is fundamental to the
development of Sefton as a tourism destination, it will also fully integrate with, and
contribute towards, the aims and objectives of the regional strategy and contribute
significantly towards the aims of MWRP. Furthermore, it will seek to create
opportunities to work through the Mersey Partnership in order to develop tourism
initiatives that are not constrained by administrative boundaries.


Please see appendix 1 for other policy documents that will act as strategic drivers at
National/Regional/Merseyside level.


   The Local Context


Sefton Borough Partnership - The Community Strategy 2002 - 2007


The Community Strategy aims to achieve realistic improvements in the economic,
social and environmental well being of Sefton over the next 10-15 years. The strategy
sets out a plan (comprising eight strategic aims) to secure more jobs, improve
education and health, reduce crime and provide better housing in neighbourhoods
which are considered in need of renewal.


Of particular relevance, the Community Strategy recognises that creating safe
environments is not only important for Sefton residents but also for “those working,
visiting and investing here”. Similarly, the strategy seeks to “build upon strengths of
existing assets such as the port related industries, the office sector, tourism and retail”
as a means of creating jobs and prosperity. It also aims to “maximise access for all
people living, working and visiting Sefton”.


Sefton MBC – The Corporate Plan 2002 - 2007


The Vision statement comments…”We want Sefton to be a safe and healthy place,
where people are proud to live and work, and are attracted to visit and invest…”


The corporate plan emphasises the contribution of tourism as a building block from
which a „diverse modern economy‟ can be grown and as a mechanism to offer „a wide
                                                                                            14


range of employment opportunities, and reduce long term unemployment‟. In addition,
the Corporate Plan recognises that the condition of the environment, the use of new
technology and the need to promote social inclusion will heavily influence Sefton‟s
ability to deliver a credible, viable and sustainable tourism offer.


Sefton MBC – Sefton 2010 – An Economic and Community Regeneration
Strategy


Tourism is an essential part of regeneration and can contribute significantly toward the
social wellbeing of any town, city or region. The Sefton Economic and Community
Strategy aims to “revitalise Sefton, to make it a thriving borough and an attractive place
for people to live, work, visit and invest.”


Spanning a ten year period, the strategy is intended to provide an inclusive framework
for development within the borough, focusing on themes of business growth,
employment generation, assistance for disadvantaged individuals / communities,
education and lifelong learning, health, housing, the local environment, tourism and
crime.


Unsurprisingly, the Strategy attaches significant importance to the development of the
core tourism product. In terms of 'executing' growth in the volume and value of tourism
within the borough, the Strategy is implicit in the need to capitalise on emerging growth
sectors, specifically the short breaks, golf and special interest sectors (e.g. ornithology,
conferences/events).


In response to the objectives of all of these strategies, the vision promoted by the
Sefton Tourism Strategy is not just about attracting visitors, it is also about providing
the residents of Sefton with a quality environment in which they will feel safe and one
they are proud to live and work in. In turn, this will help enhance the potential for
inward investment, employment, social inclusion and a diverse local economy.
                                                                                           15


Sefton MBC – Southport Business Tourism Network Tourism Strategy 2003 -
2005


Southport is rapidly developing as one of the Northwest‟s major tourism attractions
offering a wide and diverse product that is underpinned by a structured tourism
management network. The STBN Tourism Strategy provides the overarching policy for
tourism in Southport, ensuring continued development and prosperity of the resort‟s
tourism product.


The strategy identifies 8 strategic priorities that will be implemented between 2003 and
2005 in order for Southport to “be recognised as one of the leading resort destinations
in the UK and a regional tourism centre”. The strategic priorities cover a multitude of
facets ranging from the definition of product and target audience to integration between
key tourism stakeholders. Together the strategic priorities combine to develop an
action plan detailing key actions and timeframes for the implementation of tourism work
during the life span of the strategy.


Whereas this document concentrates on developing a vision for creating sustainable
tourism products across Sefton and having that vision accepted by
local/regional/national stakeholders, the focus of the STBN strategy relates to the
effective management of an established tourism destination. The STBN strategy
effectively represents the „next step‟ for the wider Sefton tourism strategy and is in
itself a model of best practice. It is anticipated therefore that on establishing Sefton‟s
vision for tourism, the guiding principles used for the implementation of the STBN
strategy will be factored into the „boroughwide‟ implementation process.


Sefton MBC - Sefton Cultural Strategy 2002 - 2007


Sefton‟s Cultural Strategy, will be the blue print for the development of culture in the
borough of Sefton. Developed through the Sefton Borough Partnership representing
the public, private and voluntary sector, it defines the cultural vision for Sefton, the
themes and priorities that need to be addressed and the actions that should be taken
to enrich people‟s quality of life now and in the future. The strategy has five main aims
that act as the guiding principles for these themes and action plans:-
                                                                                          16



     To get more people involved in cultural activities throughout the Borough of Sefton.
     To strengthen pride, ability and citizenship in the people of Sefton.
     To make the best use of existing facilities and develop new facilities in response to
      changing needs and expectations of the visitors and residents of Sefton.
     To improve access to culture and cultural activities for all people visiting and living
      within the area.
     To improve the quality of life of Sefton residents through the cultural sector.


 The cultural strategy is integral to the development of tourism initiatives across Sefton
 and vice versa. Whilst this tourism strategy has been written to be consistent with, and
 facilitate the implementation of the aforementioned aims and the resulting action plans,
 culture is a theme that dominates throughout because defining Sefton‟s culture is
 the key to defining its identity.


 Exhibit 1: The relationship to National, Regional & Local Strategies



                                      Borough Partnership
                                      „A Vision for Sefton‟
                                      Community Strategy



Central Government                                                       Tourism Strategy for
       Policy                                                            England‟s Northwest



                                      Tourism Strategies
                                     (Southport & Sefton)


  Cultural Strategy                                                        Council‟s Vision
  Related Council                                                          Corporate plan
     Strategies                                                          Unitary Development
                                                                                 Plan


                                         Best Value
                                      Performance Plan
17
                                                                                              18


3.   The Tourism Market


     Within the tourism industry there has seldom been greater choice for consumers than
     at present. The expansion of regional airports and budget airlines have made
     overseas travel easy and inexpensive, UK towns and cities are quickly developing
     burgeoning leisure, heritage and retail offers, and the information age has allowed
     access to tourism products 24/7 at the touch of a button.


     Domestically, the movement away from the UK‟s traditional manufacturing base
     towards a more service led economy has seen tourism contributing approximately £37
     billion to the National economy. Where once an average UK family holiday may have
     consisted of a two week break at a seaside resort or holiday camp, it is now the
     package holiday abroad that dominates. In addition, new markets have emerged as
     disposable income, leisure time and car ownership have all increased to create a
     booming market for short breaks as people visit friends and relatives, and go on day
     trips (cash rich – time poor).


     The tourism industry today is unrecognisable compared to that of just 20 years ago.
     The market place is volatile and rapidly changing and it is crucial that key national
     trends, the likely future trends and potential threats are considered when identifying
     potential market niches and the way forward for Sefton‟s tourism offer.


     3.1 Market Trends


        Day visits are growing and form the majority of tourism trips, but only a minority of
         spends. On average, staying visitors spend about 5 times more than day-trippers.
        Business tourism, both corporate and MICE (meetings, incentives,
         conventions and exhibitions) is growing rapidly, although there is a trend towards
         smaller and shorter conferences. Since 1990 growth in business tourism is
         estimated at 53% representing 29% of all inbound tourism visits generating £15bn
         in expenditure per annum (British Tourism Partnership 2000).
                                                                                      19


   Long stay (4 nights +) leisure breaks are on the decline, however short breaks by
    UK residents are on the increase with expenditure reaching 4.62bn in 2001. Year
    on year increases have been noted since 1996.
   Leisure short breaks are weekend-oriented and securing mid-week occupancy is
    the greater concern for many accommodation providers catering mainly to the
    leisure market (for those serving the business market, the problem is the reverse).
   Heritage plays an important role in UK tourism, generating an estimated 79m visits
    during 1999, of which 33% were of foreign origin. In particular, historic buildings
    (+20%) and museums/art galleries (+17%) have enjoyed significant increases in
    throughput, with gardens „consolidating‟.
   Visits to friends and relatives, especially by young people, are booming,
    accounting for some 60 million trips in 1999.
   Retail has experienced stable growth, with overall retail sales 3.3% higher in
    January 2001 than during the previous year.


Accommodation


   There has been a big switch from serviced accommodation to self-catering for long
    breaks.
   Serviced accommodation is the favoured option for short breaks, but self-catering
    is also on the increase.
   There is strong demand for self-contained holiday villages, including holiday
    villages based on static caravans (especially in seaside locations).


Demographics


   The population is getting older and post-family couples are a growing market - the
    over 55‟s are responsible for about 20% of all tourism trips and 40% of spend.
   The population is getting steadily more middle-class and as a result ABC1‟s now
    represent and will continue to represent the mass market.
   There will be more single person households and households without children.
                                                                                           20


Consumer Behaviour & Expectations


   Consumers will continue not to take long holidays in the UK, however demand for
    quality destinations for short breaks and day trips will continue. It is anticipated
    that the trend of visiting friends and relatives among young people will also
    continue to grow.
   Consumers will increasingly demand the guaranteed quality offered by branded
    products as well as the individuality of high quality independent products. There
    will be less tolerance for independent product that does not match the quality of
    equivalent branded products. Individuality will not be an acceptable excuse for
    poor quality.
   Consumers will expect product information to be of high quality and to be readily
    available on the internet. In addition, they will also expect online and last minute
    bookings to be a mouse click away.


Competition


   Consumers now have more choice than ever before. New and improved offers
    abroad are aided by package holidays that are cheap and easily accessible. At
    home, many of our great towns and cities are developing their own niche tourism
    products and providing significant investment to reinforce the attractiveness of the
    offer to fully exploit the growing day trip and short break market.


Other factors


   Whilst it is expected to be only a short term influence, the implications of 9/11 and
    the continuing threat of terrorism in the Western World may have implications for
    domestic tourism. Similarly the threat from foot and mouth disease, although
    diminishing, still possesses the potential to destabilise the UK tourism economy.
   Climatic changes will also be a factor on the future demand within the tourism
    industry. Rising sea levels by 2050 (between 12cm – 67cm); winter rain fall
    increasing by up to 10%; average temperatures increasing significantly by 2050.
                                                                                            21


   Macroeconomic factors that should also be considered are the strength of the UK
    pound and the introduction of the Euro.
   Environmental issues that must also be taken into consideration are the increasing
    problems of traffic congestion within the UK and the lack of credible travel
    alternatives.


3.2 Implications for Sefton & Key Markets


It is almost certain that there will be sustained growth in the leisure and tourism market
place for the foreseeable future. If the current trends continue, it is the short leisure
breaks and day trip market which possess the greatest potential. Similarly, visiting
friends and relatives and business tourism markets also present a number of
opportunities that should be fully exploited.


The changing dynamics of the population must also be considered. Whilst the over
55‟s are only responsible for circa 20% of all tourism trips, we are an ageing population
and post family couples will continue to makeup more and more of the tourism
consumer base. It is also evident that people are choosing to get married and start
families later in life, with greater disposable income and increased demand for quality
leisure opportunities, holidays and short breaks.


If the true benefits are to realised from exploiting these markets then great emphasis
must be placed on delivering tourism products that are attractive, quality driven, easily
accessible and well serviced. Only when this has been achieved will the visitors come
and generate the economic growth that will aid long term social and economic
regeneration within the borough. This strategy will therefore provide a realistic
framework for exploiting the opportunities that exist in the tourism market through the
creation of niche products that will reflect the boroughs unique heritage, cultural,
natural and leisure offers.
                                                                                                          22


4.   SWOT


                          Strengths                                                Weaknesses
        Stunning views to Wirral, North Wales & down the          Comparatively poor selection of hotels
         Mersey to Liverpool.                                      Poor facilities for business tourism outside
        Easy, family-friendly cycling and walking                  Southport.
          along the coastline                                      Lack of a „Sefton‟ identity.
        Excellent water based recreational                        No defined tourism product outside Southport and
         facilities, especially at Ainsdale, Southport and          surrounding areas
         Crosby Coastal Park                                       Lack of revenue funding to maintain
        Southport                                                  Improvements made to the public realm
        Contrast between the North and South of the               Existing attractions are looking tired
         borough                                                   Poor/indistinct image to parts of the area
        Unique Coastline and the best beaches in the              Limited marketing budget that is confined to
         Northwest.                                                 promoting the ‟Southport‟ brand and associated
        World class bird watching along the entire coast.          products.
        World class Links golf courses, especially                Some poor local environment
         Royal Birkdale, S&A, Hillside etc                         Lack of communication between key stakeholders.
        Motorway links to the national road
         network
        Good rail links from Liverpool, Wirral and Chester
         etc to key locations
        The Grand National.
        Leeds/Liverpool Canal
        Atlantic Gateway Regeneration Initiative
        Connections with Battle of the Atlantic
        Large population within easy drive time
        Strong events programme including Southport
         Flower Show, Jazz Festival & Airshow
        Good quality country parks & open spaces.
        Sefton built heritage – Sefton Village, Ince
         Blundell Hall etc.
        MerseyForest

                      Opportunities                                                  Threats
        The Grand National                                        Public and private sector „will‟ to turn the vision
        European Capital of Culture, 2008                          into reality.
        Liverpool 800th Anniversary                               Development sites identified to bring the vision to
        Mersey Waterfront Regional Park                            reality are lost to other uses.
        Designation of Liverpool and Chester as                   Lack of capital funding to initiate regeneration
         Regional Attack Brands.                                    projects.
        „Sefton Coast‟ – All things to all people – cycling,      Lack of revenue funding to sustain projects before
         walking, birdwatching, sport and leisure etc.              financial sustainability can be achieved.
        Regeneration of Bootle Town Centre                        Economic „slowdown‟
        Availability of Objective 1 funding                       Promotion of products before minimum quality
        Aintree Race Course                                        standards are achieved.
        Leeds/Liverpool Canal
        Potential for funding from NWDA
        Establishing a diverse tourism product for Sefton
         that goes beyond traditional boundaries.
        Local links with the Beatles story – Litherland
         Town Hall etc.
        Developing cultural tourism.
23
                                                                                              24


5.   Developing Products in Line with Regional Thinking


     Through the Regional Economic Strategy, the Northwest Regional Development
     Agency (NWDA) recognises that tourism is a key economic driver for England‟s
     Northwest (ENW). As a result, a regional tourism strategy for ENW has now been
     published and sets out a clear direction and framework for maximising the tourism
     opportunities that are being presented by this rapidly changing industry.


     The vision contained within the strategy states that „within 10 years, England‟s
     Northwest will become the best tourism destination in Britain, with a tourism industry
     that is second to none‟. In realising this vision, the Regional Strategy aims to deliver
     improvements in the performance of the Northwest tourism sector around five
     objectives:-


         1. Enhancing the region‟s communication with consumers.
         2. Improving tourism product that brings people to England‟s Northwest.
         3. Improving tourism infrastructure that enhances the quality of the visitor
             experience.
         4. Boosting the performance of tourism businesses.
         5. Maximising the potential for people to work in the sector.


     5.1 Cross Cutting Themes


     Underpinning these objectives are a series of six cross cutting themes that will provide
     the focus for work to develop the Northwest tourism industry over the next five years:-


        Sustainability – Projects must be environmentally and financially sustainable.
        Quality Driven – Projects must cater for the constant increase in consumer
         expectations for quality.
        Customer Drive – Projects must be market facing and designed to reflect
         customer demand now and in the future.
                                                                                        25


   Business Excellence – will be a defining factor in the Northwest offer and our
    tourism businesses will achieve the highest levels professionalism and
    competence.
   Accessibility – visitor attracts will be open to all.
   Skills – Improving the skills base and careers paths within the industry will ensure
    a world class tourism offer is delivered.


5.2 The Framework


The regional vision rests on nine core programmes that will be used as the framework
for delivering the tourism objectives for in England‟s Northwest (ENW). Each
programme is driven by the aforementioned cross cutting themes and cover product
development, marketing and sector development. The programmes are as follows:-


                The „Star Brand‟ Approach
                Winning Themes
                Signature Projects
                Regional Gems
                Excellent Events
                A Region for Business
                Celebrating and Growing Excellence
                Making it Easy
                Intelligence Led


This framework and the cross cutting themes that underpin it will provide the guiding
principles from which the Sefton Tourism Strategy will be modelled. Not only does the
regional framework provide the core elements for any tourism strategy, it will also
ensure that tourism development in Sefton is consistent and has synergy with that of
the NWDA and other funding agencies. In so doing, the opportunities to develop
tourism initiatives both at regional and local level will be greatly enhanced.
                                                                                            26


5.3 Signature Projects – The Mersey Waterfront


The regional strategy emphasises the fact that continued investment in England‟s
Northwest will be essential if the region is to stay ahead of rival destinations. The
strategy proposes investment in a number of capital renewal projects that are likely to
have a major impact on the region‟s performance as a tourism destination. These so
called „signature projects‟ could ensure the success of the region‟s tourism industry in
the medium/long term. The Mersey Waterfront is identified within the strategy as one
of these signature projects and a priority will be to take this iconic destination to a new
level through initiatives such as the Fourth Grace, Cruise Terminal and Capital of
Culture, 2008.


Through the NWDA and Mersey Partnership, the Mersey Waterfront Regional Park
Initiative (MWRP) has been established to provide the focus for the development of the
Mersey Waterfront. Providing direction and funding to specific projects, the MWRP will
develop this underused tourism asset to develop new markets for the Merseyside
tourism economy.


5.4 Creating Sefton‟s Signature Projects


The Mersey Waterfront also represents one of Sefton‟s key strengths and is a defining
factor in the borough‟s physical identity. In reflecting this fact, the tourism strategy for
Sefton will propose two of its own “signature projects” that will build on initiatives to
enhance the Mersey Waterfront and the objectives of MWRP. They will also play a
vital role in establishing Sefton‟s tourism offer. They are:-


   The Sefton Coast
   A New Vision for Bootle


Furthermore, the strategy will propose an additional four projects that, whilst not
relating directly to the Mersey Waterfront signature project, will emulate the other
product development and marketing initiatives laid down in the regional framework.
The projects are:-
                                                                                            27


            A Branding Framework for Sefton
            A Policy for 2008
            East Sefton & the Hornby Centre
            Making the most of the Grand National


In total, these six signature projects have been designed to provide Sefton with a
mechanism for dictating policy for tourism at local and regional level. They will also
provide a credible mix of tourism products that will not only appeal to a broad range of
markets, but will also raise awareness of Sefton as an attractive, fast developing
location for visitors and investors. Similarly the „fit‟ with regional strategic thinking will
also enhance the mix of attractions distinguishing Merseyside and the Northwest
region as a tourism destination of outstanding quality.
                                                                                                 28


6.   Signature Project 1: A Branding Framework for Sefton


     6.1 A Structured Approach to Managing Sefton Brands


     The purpose of this strategy is to develop tourism in Sefton beyond its traditional
     boundaries as a means of enhancing the appeal of the borough as a place to visit and
     invest. In so doing, a pragmatic framework must be developed that will provide the
     borough with a sense of place and make sense of the branding arrangements for new
     and existing tourism products within Sefton. This in turn will provide the platform from
     which national, regional and local marketing initiatives can be developed and so enable
     effective communication about our product with key target audiences.


     6.2 Star Brands


     The approach taken by the regional strategy for tourism is to think of the marketing of
     region and individual destinations within it as a funnel (see exhibit 2). The objective is
     to suck visitors into the region and funnel them to tourism-related businesses.


     The so called „star brand‟ approach is primarily about the way in which ENW is
     marketed overseas, in other parts of the UK, and within the region itself. The Regional
     Strategy for Tourism proposes working with VisitBritain (the new national tourism
     marketing body) in order to attract visitors into the country. At the next level down, it
     will market the region as „England‟s Northwest‟ (ENW), and in so doing, will use a
     number of „attack brands‟ to entice visitors into the Northwest.


     Attack brands are destination locations that will be most heavily promoted to visitors
     outside the region and consist of Liverpool, Manchester, the Lake District and Chester.
     The Regional Strategy for Tourism suggests that once visitors have been attracted to
     these destinations, they will then be directed and dispersed around the region to
     products that are less well known. These products are called „slip stream‟ brands and
     will be strategically used to complement the attack brands to ensure all parts of the
     region are visited.
                                                                                        29


In essence, the star brand model provides a market facing approach to promoting the
Northwest to key markets. Quite simply, customers with the highest propensity to visit
the region will be targeted and the various themes and images that make the
Northwest attractive will be aligned to attack brands as a means of enticing them here.
At present Southport is recognised as a strong „development brand‟ and following the
completion of the resort‟s development programme, will be recognised as ENW‟s
„classic resort‟ and become an attack brand in its own right. However as we consider
the potential for tourism initiatives that will embrace the entire borough, a mechanism
must be developed for identifying these products as slip stream brands so the benefits
from regional marketing initiatives can be realised.


Exhibit 2: Branding Framework for England’s Northwest




MARKETS                                                                                BRANDS



                                                          New BTA



                                                                          Umbrella Brands




                                                                       Attack Brands




                                                                 Slipstream Brands
              Development
                Brands




                                                             Attractions, Accommodation,
                                                                   Restaurants etc.
                                                                                        30


6.3 Defining Sefton‟s Slipstream Brands


Contained within this strategy are three Sefton destination signature projects (DSP‟s)
relating to Bootle, East Sefton and the Sefton Coast, which in the context of the
Regional Strategy for Tourism have the credentials to become recognised and operate
as slip stream brands. The reasons behind this assertion are:-


1. Each project has genuine potential to attract visitors and possesses sufficient
    market appeal to justify their own brand.
2. Each project incorporates many of the „winning themes‟ advocated by the Regional
    Strategy for Tourism as reasons that make ENW an attractive destination for
    tourism - see section 12.
3. The close proximity and natural linkage of these projects to Liverpool and
    Southport means there is significant potential to provide added value to the visitor
    experience when marketing/promoting these destinations.
4. The projects have potential to operate alongside and be marketed/promoted in
    conjunction with other slipstream brands – The coastlines of Wirral and Sefton
    provide one good example.


The star brand model is based on the premise that a strategically integrated approach
to marketing tourism destinations within ENW will offer the most successful way of
enticing visitors to the region. Slipstream brands therefore must align themselves with
those attack brands and DMO‟s that provide them with the best opportunity of reaching
their potential target markets. In the case of the Sefton DSP‟s, this will mean
integration with the marketing initiatives of the DMO for Merseyside, TMP and the key
Merseyside attack and development brands of Liverpool and Southport. Whilst this
approach will not only provide Sefton with a cost effective way of communicating with
potential customers given the „pulling power‟ of these stronger more appealing
destinations, it will also ensure that these projects have the potential to become an
integral part of the Merseyside tourism product offer.
                                                                                        31


6.4 A Branding Framework for Sefton


The focus of the star brand model will primarily be on regional and national markets ie
attracting people who live outside the Northwest, to the Northwest. However in the
context of this strategy, the residents of Sefton and those that live nearby will also form
a core part of the target audience for the Sefton DSP‟s. In reaching these audiences
and ensuring a level of marketing support is guaranteed regardless of the proposed
regional marketing activity detailed in 6.3, the creation of an umbrella brand for
Sefton‟s DSP‟s is worthy of consideration.


The rationale underpinning this notion is based on the premise that promoting each
DSP as part of the same offer will generate critical mass and will therefore, prove more
attractive to potential visitors regardless of whether they live in or outside Sefton(see
appendix 5). Whilst every product would retain its own individual brand identity from
which independent marketing activity could be undertaken, the umbrella brand would
represent the „whole‟ offer, providing focus and direction for emerging products.
Similarly the branding framework could also have the flexibility to incorporate
established Sefton brands such as Southport, Royal Birkdale and the Grand National
in order to reinforce the emerging offer and add further credibility in the minds of
potential customers (see exhibit 3). On example might be the promotion of an events
programme for „Sefton‟ that would include the Grand National at Aintree as well as the
River Festival in Crosby Coastal Park and Open Air Theatre in Lydiate.
                                                                                                           32


Exhibit 3: The Position of Sefton’s DSP’s in ENW’s ‘Hierarchy of Brands’




                                              England‟s Northwest

                                                    Umbrella Brand
                                            Regional Development Agency
                                                       NWDA




                                                                                   Other DMO‟s
                                                                             Marketing Manchester
                                                                             Cumbria Tourist Board
                            Merseyside DMO
                                                                             Lancashire & Blackpool
                           The Mersey Partnership
                                                                             Cheshire & Warrington




         Liverpool

      Attack Brand
Key products include: -
     Capital of Culture
     Waterfront                                        Southport                  Other Attack & Development
     Events                                         „Classic Resort‟                        Brands
     The Beatles
     Evening Economy                            Development Brand                 Key brands include: -
     Grand National                                                                    Chester
     Heritage                                Key products include: -                   Lake District
     Sport                                        Conferences                         Manchester
     Conferences                                  Golf                            Blackpool
     Arts                                         Events
                                                   Retail
                                                   Leisure Tourism
                                                   Culture/Heritage




                     Slipstream Brands
         Key products:-
              Sefton Coast
              Bootle – Cultural Gateway
              East Sefton - „Grand National Country‟
              Events
                                                                                          33



6.5 Creating an Umbrella Brand?

As stated in 6.4, the rationale for creating an umbrella brand is driven by the need to
create a robust branding framework that will allow Sefton‟s DSP‟s to be promoted on a
local and sub regional basis. To that end, the development of a boroughwide tourism
product means that realistically, „Sefton‟ is the only common link that has the potential
to be associated with the projects contained within this strategy. Established product
brands such as Southport, Royal Birkdale, the Grand National are clearly essential
parts of Sefton‟s tourism offer, however the use of any one of these brands to promote
this new basket of products would be impractical and send out mixed messages.


The idea to proactively use the „Sefton‟ name to promote tourism initiatives within the
borough is not revolutionary or maverick, „Sefton‟ appears in at least three current
tourism publications; „The Sefton Guide to Walking‟, „The Sefton Coast Bird Watching
Guide‟ and „The Guide to Maghull and East Sefton‟. There are also numerous signs
located around the borough welcoming residents, visitors and potential investors to
„Sefton‟.


Managing brands and messages is an extremely important part of developing a
successful tourism product. Whilst it is evident that the aforementioned situation has
been born out of the fact that „Sefton‟ is used when offers fall beyond the natural
boundaries of established tourism brands, the creation of a Sefton umbrella brand
could enable a pragmatic framework to be adopted for the use of the Sefton name in
tourism initiatives. Furthermore the brand could be developed and adopted by
stakeholders in all sectors, not just tourism as a means of enhancing Sefton‟s
corporate image and to complement inward investment initiatives for example.


As part of the branding exercise, a strapline could be applied to the Sefton name and
be adopted by the tourism industry and stakeholders in all sectors of the local
economy. The brand would appear on all Sefton literature (public and private), in
some cases it would dominate and in others it would simply reinforce established
brand identities. Similarly all gateway signage in and out of the borough would use the
brand – see section 11.
                                                                                         34



Examples of how straplines can be used effectively include „Liverpool – the World in
One City‟, „Southport – Day time, Night time, Any time‟ etc. The creation of a brand
identity for Sefton that will mean all things to all people will be an onerous task to
undertake, however this strategy aims to build a quality tourism offer for Sefton and, as
such, this must be reflected in our brand identity.


6.6 A Gateway to Culture?


Themes that could potentially factor in the decision about a brand identity are the
cultural influences that are becoming very much a part of the emerging Northwest
tourism offer. As well as the obvious need to take full advantage of the build up to
Capital of Culture in 2008, Sefton has recently published its own Cultural Strategy
aimed at developing the borough‟s cultural image and identity over the next five years.
Similarly as one of the 4 strategic objectives set out in the North West Cultural
Strategy, culture will be crucial in developing the self-image and the external marketing
of the region as a place to live, learn, work, visit and do business with.


Through the programme of signature projects detailed in this strategy, culture will be a
key theme that cuts across each of the projects, as defining Sefton‟s culture will
ultimately define it‟s identity. Combining this theme with the fact that Sefton has
number of key gateways at its border with Liverpool; the M58 & M57, the Leeds and
Liverpool Canal, the Sefton Coast and the Port of Liverpool, branding Sefton as ‘a
gateway to culture’ presents a sagacious option – See Appendix 6
                                                                                              35



7.   Signature Project 2: An Integrated Policy for European Capital of
     Culture, 2008


     Liverpool‟s success of being named European Capital of Culture, 2008 presents a real
     opportunity for the Northwest to develop its attractiveness as a tourism destination of
     international appeal. For Liverpool and Merseyside in particular, Capital of Culture will
     accelerate regeneration initiatives, create investment and employment opportunities as
     well as making the area the focal point for the international media spotlight before and
     especially during 2008.


     7.1 The Opportunities


     The build up to Capital of Culture will dominate during the lifetime of this strategy and
     the opportunities it could potentially bring to tourism in Sefton are as follows:-


            2008 will place Liverpool at the centre of world wide media attention over the
             next 5 years; by integrating with the Capital of Culture programme Sefton
             could also benefit from this exposure.
            There will be a huge impetus to develop cultural activity throughout
             Merseyside, providing funding opportunities for cultural and complementary
             capital initiatives. The proposals contained within this strategy for the Leeds
             and Liverpool canal, the Sefton events programme and developing Bootle as a
             „cultural gateway‟ into Liverpool are some of the initiatives that would
             compliment, and add mass to the Capital of Culture programme.
            It has been predicted (Environment Resource Management Consultants) that
             Capital of Culture will bring an extra 1.7 million visitors to Merseyside spending
             an additional £50 million per year. There is significant potential for the
             destination products outlined in this strategy to benefit from these visitor
             numbers.
            In total, tourists will spend an extra £220 million up to and beyond 2008, the
             implications for employment opportunities within the borough‟s tourism sector
             will therefore be greatly enhanced.
                                                                                            36



If the true potential presented by these opportunities is to be realised, it is essential
that Sefton has a policy or strategy in place that will integrate it fully with the Capital of
Culture Programme. Whilst the borough has never wavered in its support for
Liverpool‟s bid to become European Capital of Culture, it is fair to say that the
aforementioned opportunities will not come looking for Sefton, instead Sefton must go
looking for them.


7.2 An Invitaion


When asked about the role neighbouring authorities could play in delivering Capital of
Culture, Sir Bob Scott Chairman of the Capital of Culture Company, the delivery agents
for 2008, made a direct comparison with the staging of the 2002 Commonwealth
Games in Manchester. In this instance, the local authorities of Manchester and Salford
were directly responsible for staging the Commonwealth Games, however given the
proactive stance taken by Bolton Council in wanting to be part of the event from the
outset, the City staged a number of high profile events as a result. Using that example
he went on to say that if „greater‟ Merseyside is to help deliver 2008 - “don‟t come to
us with questions, come to us with ideas”.


The Regional Strategy for Tourism also stresses the importance of building on the
success of 2008. As one of a number of the „winning themes‟ contained within the
strategy‟s development framework, the region‟s cultural offer is seen as an integral part
of the Northwest tourism experience. The vision contained within the strategy
advocates „the development of a rich cultural landscape across the Northwest that will
enhance the entire Capital of Culture programme‟.


7.3 Helping Deliver 2008


As a firm advocate that culture and tourism should not be constrained by administrative
boundaries, Sefton has developed a number of initiatives in partnership with Liverpool
and other authorities that have arguably contributed towards the Capital of Culture
award. The inclusion of the 2008 bid branding on all Southport event literature, the
continuing development of the Grand National Festival, the Queens Golden Jubilee
                                                                                           37


Celebrations and the Battle of the Atlantic Commemorations are just some examples of
how the culture that unites Merseyside has been used to reinforce Liverpool‟s rightful
claim to this prestigious title.


If Sefton is to capitalise on the opportunities presented by Capital of Culture, then it
must build on these relationships and integrate its offer with the Liverpool programme.
In so doing, Sefton will be able to proactively influence and contribute to the vision
before and during 2008 and become a key part of Liverpool‟s cultural experience.


There are a number of ways this can be done and at a number of levels.


1.       This strategy advocates that culture should be a defining characteristic of
         Sefton‟s tourism offer not only because of 2008, but also because Sefton is
         blessed with cultural assets that would be the envy of most areas of Britain.
         Whilst each signature project contained within is designed to reflect these
         strengths, they also signal our intent that Sefton is committed to becoming a
         proactive member of the Capital of Culture programme.


2.       Sefton is also responsible for one of the most diverse and exciting events
         programmes in Britain that would add diversity and critical mass to the whole
         capital of culture programme. The Southport Flower Show is one of the
         oldest and largest horticultural exhibitions in the United Kingdom, the
         Southport Jazz Festival is the largest festival of its kind in the Northwest and
         has established strong links with the Cork Jazz Festival (Cork City will be
         Capital of Culture in 2005). The borough also plays host to the Royal
         Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra for the annual programme of open air
         Summer Classics concerts as well as hosting RLPO lunchtime concerts at
         Bootle Town Hall. Similarly the British Musical Firework Championships
         are unique and the English Seniors Open unites the world famous courses
         on England‟s Golfing Coast through the Merseyside Festival of Golf initiative.


         There is also potential to link in with existing events that will make up core
         parts of the Capital of Culture programme; proposals for Sefton‟s involvement
                                                                                        38


     in the Mersey River Festival and Liverpool‟s Grand National Festival are also
     considered in this strategy.


3.   It is well documented that a key factor in the success of Liverpool‟s Capital of
     Culture bid was the overwhelming contribution made by all sections of
     Liverpool‟s communities. As a result, the Capital of Culture Company is
     committed to putting culture and creativity at the heart of community life as it
     develops its programme of themed years leading up to and beyond 2008 (see
     appendix 2).


     In 2002, Sefton Council published its own Cultural Strategy in response to the
     growing contribution culture is making towards modern day society. Among
     the strategy‟s key objectives is the need to get more people involved in cultural
     activities throughout the borough. In turn, it is anticipated that the
     implementation of this objective will see cultural activity promoted across a
     plethora of initiatives ranging from education to neighbourhood renewal.


     The Cultural Strategy also signals Sefton‟s intent on taking culture seriously
     over the next five years, and it would seem an ideal opportunity to link the
     community elements of the strategy with the 2008 programme. This policy
     would not only enhance the opportunity to draw down funding from the Capital
     of Culture Company, it is also likely to focus more media attention on Sefton.


     Whilst it is beyond the remit of this strategy to suggest what such activity might
     entail, it would seem sensible to base activity around the themed years that
     will dominate the Capital of Culture Programme. Whilst each theme has direct
     relevance to Sefton, some obvious links for community initiatives may centre
     on those years celebrating the year of the sea (2005), sports and arts (2006)
     and heritage (2007). These themes could also provide the basis for events
     and other initiatives reflecting Sefton‟s own cultural fabric. Similarly, Sefton
     could develop its own series of themed years leading up to 2008 celebrating
     the many cultural ties that inextricably link the borough with Liverpool.
                                                                                                     39


            7.4 A Role for the Cultural Forum


            It would seem logical that a priority of the Cultural Forum, whose task it is to implement
            the vision contained within the Cultural Strategy, must be to integrate and develop a
            shared vision for Sefton in 2008 with the Capital of Culture Company. This action
            would not only add credibility and synergy to the proposals put forward by Sefton for
            involvement in the Capital of Culture programme, it would also provide a mechanism
            for co-ordinating, developing and implementing many of the initiatives outlined above,
            particularly those involving branding and our local communities.


            As can be seen from exhibit 4, the logic underpinning this proposal requires the cultural
            forum to work proactively with key stakeholders within Sefton to shape initiatives in line
            with the strategic thinking of the Capital of Culture Company and Sefton‟s Cultural
            Strategy. In turn, this will enable the Cultural Forum to exploit potential funding
            opportunities presented by 2008 whilst simultaneously implementing some of the
            action plans set out in the cultural strategy as well as adding critical mass to the entire
            Capital of Culture Programme.


            Exhibit 4: Developing a Shared Vision for 2008




    Cultural Strategy
                                       Cultural Forum
Contribution to:-
1. Learning Community              Stakeholders/Providers
                                   include:-                                                             2008
2. Safe Community
3. Jobs & Prosperity                    SMBC –                         Proposals &                   Programme
4. Health & Wellbeing                    Leisure, Tourism,               Integration
5. Environmental                         Education etc.                                                    Culture
     Sustainability                     Community Reps                                                   Company
6. Voluntary & Community                Borough
     Sector Development                  Partnership
7. Mobility & Access                    Sefton CVS
8.   Neighbourhood Renewal


                                                              Implementing the Cultural
                                                                     Strategy



                               Sefton Borough Partnership
                                                                                             40


8.   Signature Project 3: The Sefton Coast


     8.1 A Hidden Treasure


     The Sefton Coastline is a stunning and unique natural resource that has the potential
     to set Sefton apart from any other comparable destination in the Country. Situated
     between the River Mersey and the River Ribble, the 22 miles of coastline offer
     opportunities for informal recreation for visitors and residents alike. Southport,
     Ainsdale and Formby have been recognised in the Ecams Seaside Awards and
     National Resort Survey, acknowledging that Sefton‟s beaches are the best in the
     Northwest Region.


     From a Nature conservation perspective, the dune system along the coast is
     internationally acclaimed as the largest area of undeveloped dune system in the UK
     and is home to all sorts of rare animals and plants, including Natterjack toads, sand
     lizards and the Dune Helleborine. The National Trust property at Formby with its
     pinewoods, is one of the few places in England where you can see red squirrels in their
     natural habitat. The Sefton coast is also one of Britain‟s premier birdwatching locations
     and provides spectacular views of the North Wales, Wirral and Liverpool skylines. In
     short, the Sefton Coast is special.


     8.2 Harnessing the Potential


     There are many assets along the Sefton coast that with a degree of investment will
     make a significant contribution towards the Regional Tourism Strategy‟s vision for the
     Mersey Waterfront. Indeed the organisations such as the Sefton Coast Partnership
     (SCP) and MWRP have already begun this process by taking forward a programme of
     work ranging from research and education to nature conservation, access and
     interpretation. Our aim is build on these initiatives and take the Sefton Coast to a new
     level, enabling the entire coastline to become a distinctive feature of the Mersey
     Waterfront that will attract visitors and differentiate Sefton and the region from
     competitors home and abroad.
                                                                                              41


It will not be by looking at the Sefton coast as a destination comprising individual
attractions that this will be achieved, it is by considering the coast as a complete visitor
destination. The idea of The Sefton Coast is to establish the true identity of the Sefton
coast, one that harnesses the rich and diverse range of attractions that currently exist
within its confines so as to add critical mass and create broad market appeal; a
coastline that will effectively mean all things to all people.


8.3 Developing the theme


Associating the potential Of the Sefton Coast offer with a theme that means all things
to all people is about developing a modern tourism product. In recent years there have
been a number of credible guides to reflect the excellent walking and birdwatching
opportunities that exist all along the Sefton coast. However they have largely been
aligned to the Southport tourism offer and have naturally focussed on specific
attributes of the coast and not the potential „rounded‟ offer.


Our intention is to help shape a coastal tourism offer that it is synonymous with visits
for relaxation and nature to more active recreation such as cycling, horse riding and
windsports. One that will become a premiere events destination, offer unparalleled
access to and provide information on a unique natural environment and reflect the
heritage that can be associated with the coast. The offer will be underpinned by visitor
and interpretative facilities that will be of a high quality which in turn will enhance the
sustainability of the product in the long term.


In so doing we will appeal to all sectors of the day trip market from young active single
people demanding quality leisure and recreational pursuits, to families and post family
couples simply wanting a broad range of activities located within an attractive
environment. The vision is that these visitors will create demand for services in the
towns located along the entire coast, especially among restaurants and bars.


8.4 The Potential for Investment


A major theme of the regional strategy is the need to invest in products that have the
potential to add to the region‟s destination appeal. The Sefton coast undoubtedly is
                                                                                          42


one such destination that if promoted and managed as one could achieve substantial,
sustainable growth. In recognition of this fact, the Intereg IIc Project conducted in 2001
to promote sustainable tourism development in coastal areas entitled „Quality of
Coastal Towns‟ (QCT), acknowledged that the quality and diversity of the Sefton Coast
was a key strength of the Mersey waterfront.


As a result of the study, a number of recommendations relating to 12 visitor facilities
located along the Sefton coast were made (see appendix 3). Whilst it not proposed to
list each recommendation in this section, some of the key proposals are as follows: -


1.      Crosby Coastal Park
        Located at the southernmost point of the borough, Crosby Coastal Park could
        not only become a gateway to the Sefton Coast, it has enormous potential to
        become a leisure and recreational destination of outstanding quality. The
        proposed development of a Watersports/Visitor Centre (Water Centre) is
        geared towards turning the Marine Lake into a centre of excellence for water
        sports with a key priority placed on providing first class disabled facilities.
        Additionally, the appeal of this offer could be further enhanced by the provision
        of information about recreation and access onto the Sefton Coast together with
        interpretative material on the area’s nature and heritage. There are also a
        number of features of local/regional interest situated around the Marine Park
        that could also broaden the visitor experience including Potters Barn, the
        Seaforth Nature Reserve and the house once owned by the Captain of the
        Titanic.


        Comment:- Underpinning the concept for The Sefton Coast is the need for
        integrated thinking between key stakeholders so that a coastline of
        contrasting, yet complementary attractions is developed. In this instance, the
        potential for developing Southport Marine Lake into a premier leisure and
        recreational destination given the resort‟s status as ENW‟s „classic resort‟ must
        be factored into the proposed development of the Water Centre on Crosby
        Coastal Park. It will therefore be essential to avoid duplication between both
        these initiatives if financial and market sustainability is to be achieved.
                                                                                        43


2.   Hall Road, Crosby
     Hall Road lies adjacent to the promenade and affords particularly attractive
     sunsets and seascapes. Proposals for this part of the Sefton Coast include
     improvements to information and interpretative displays relating to the Sefton
     Coastal Footpath as well as access along the coast. Similarly information on
     walks inland to the historic village of Little Crosby, the village’s craft shop and
     museum, as well as local features of interest are also included in these
     proposals.


3.   Formby Point – Life Boat Road and the National Trust
     Situated within close proximity to each other, these two locations form the
     midway point of the Sefton coast and provide tremendous potential for
     developing the tourism offer. Both locations offer excellent access onto the
     extensive dune area and coast. Formby Point itself offers breathtaking views
     up and down the Northwest Coastline.


     Proposals for developing the two sites so that they complement and do not
     compete with each other include the development of a ‘field centre’ with a
     small events area at Lifeboat Road and the enhancement of the red squirrel
     reserve at the National Trust site. Proposals also include the development of
     complementary interpretative themes to reinforce key messages whilst
     celebrating locally distinct features. It is anticipated that there will also be
     information provided on the Sefton coast and improved provision for cyclists.


4.   Ainsdale Discovery Centre
     Situated close to one of the cleanest and most popular beaches on the Sefton
     coast, proposals include the development of visitor, interpretation and
     education facilities within the existing discovery building. In addition, there are
     plans to develop a regional training centre as well exploiting the area’s natural
     environment as a niche events destination for extreme sports including kite
     buggying and flying.
                                                                                            44


The significance of the QCT report for Sefton is that the coast has already been
identified at regional level as a key element of the developing Mersey Waterfront. The
potential to draw funding down from organisations such as the NWDA/MWRP to invest
in this and other projects should therefore be increased.


8.5 Developing a Quality Destination


The QCT initiatives will be the cornerstone of the Sefton Coast, however to develop a
visitor destination that is sustainable and of outstanding quality, we must be innovative
in the development, waymarking and marketing of these opportunities.


By considering the coast as one attraction it is possible to add further appeal and
credibility to those proposed developments outlined so far. These „destinations‟ could
also be developed and promoted as hubs linking the entire coastline via a revitalised
Sefton Coastal Path. Whilst the larger hubs such as Southport, Crosby Coastal Park,
Ainsdale etc have already been identified as credible visitor attractions in their own
right, by combining them with the smaller hubs at Hall Road, Alt Centre, Mariners Road
etc, the potential exists to provide the infrastructure from which the entire coast would
become a walking, cycling, nature and leisure destination of outstanding quality.
These proposals are given further impetus given the planned development of the
Mersey Waterfront Way and Northwest Coastal Trail that will connect the entire Mersey
Waterfront and region as a whole.


In order to keep pace with customer expectations, each hub would have to provide
visitor facilities to ensure customer satisfaction. In smaller hubs the provision of toilets,
parking and visitor information will be required as a minimum, whilst the larger hubs
must additionally provide good quality changing facilities, interpretative facilities and
quality food and drink offers. Waymarking will also be integral to providing an
unparalleled visitor experience. It is therefore essential that signage is of a high
standard and branded consistently along the whole coast to reinforce the sense of
place and ensure our visitors don‟t feel lost.


As the main artery for visitors using The Sefton Coast, the coastal path must be able to
service the demands of those using it and developments may be required in catering
                                                                                             45


for the mix of uses outlined earlier. Similarly effective coastal management must also
be set in place to manage and maintain the landscape of The Sefton Coast so as to
ensure environmental sustainability and the quality of the destination to our visitors is
not compromised.


8.6 Transport


The Sefton Coast is well served by public transport given the Southport - Liverpool
Northern line runs the entire length of the coast with stations tying in conveniently with
our visitor hubs. There is also the potential to work with the transport authorities to
rebrand the route; one possibility might be the Sefton Coast Line with each key hub
corresponding with the relevant station. As well as appealing to the walkers and
cyclists who would use the coastal path, this again would present an opportunity to
raise the identity of „Sefton‟, the place.


8.7 Marketing the Sefton Coast


The biggest challenge that faces the promotion of this offer is the need for Sefton to
assume an identity. The Sefton coast is a defining characteristic of Sefton‟s physical
identity and it would therefore seem logical to promote the mass of attractions that fall
within its boundaries as „The Sefton Coast‟ or something similar (see section 6).


If this issue can be resolved then it is proposed that „The Sefton Coast‟ will fall into a
family of Sefton tourism products that would be promoted locally and regionally through
Sefton‟s own marketing initiatives. As a key element of the Mersey Waterfront, The
Sefton Coast has the potential to become associated with national marketing initiatives
orchestrated by regional DMO‟s as a means of enticing visitors to England‟s
Northwest. With similar initiatives also being proposed by neighbouring areas such as
Wirral, the opportunity for sub regional marketing co-operation may also exist, as has
been the case for recent golf marketing initiatives.
                                                                                               46


9.   Signature Project 4: A New Vision for Bootle


     As well as being a key location on the Mersey Waterfront, Bootle possesses a number
     of raw materials that have the potential to create a credible tourism offer.


     Bootle:-
        Is the main centre of industry and commerce for Sefton – is host to a number of
         major employers including the Port of Liverpool, the National Health and Safety
         Executive, Inland Revenue and Sefton Council.
        Has a rich and diverse heritage ranging from the production of spring water in the
         18th Century to its key strategic role in the Second World War.
        Has a physical environment consisting of buildings that sharply contrast between
         modern and classical architecture and has „green lungs‟ provided by three parks,
         North Park, South Park and the classic Victorian Derby Park.
        Is located on the banks of the Mersey, the grade two listed Town Hall is a fine
         example of Victorian architecture.
        Has a major asset in that the Leeds/Liverpool canal flows directly through the heart
         of the town centre.
        Possess excellent road and rail links.
        Has a retail offer including the Strand Shopping Centre located on historic Stanley
         Road.


     In line with the strategic thinking contained within the regional strategy for tourism,
     there are a number of „winning themes‟ contained within this collection of raw materials
     that have the potential to make Bootle a credible destination within the Northwest‟s
     tourism offer. Of particular relevance are the potential heritage, cultural and waterfront
     opportunities provided by the town.


     9.1 A Catalyst for Change


     Bootle has been identified as an important town needing focussed regeneration as part
     of the Atlantic Gateway Strategic Investment Area (SIA), one of eight such areas in
     Merseyside. The Renewal of Bootle Town Centre has been identified as one of the
                                                                                           47


key Economic Drivers (ED4) in the Atlantic Gateway Action Plan and is thus a focus for
regeneration action over the next six years.


As part of the initiative, a Masterplan has recently been produced to provide a co-
ordinated approach to the regeneration of Bootle town centre, the masterplan takes as
its vision:-
 ‘Bootle Town Centre will continue to improve and through the efforts of the public and
private sector and local communities it will become a better place. It will be a place in
  which people can take pride. It will offer a range of attractions and opportunities for
 living, working and spending leisure time. The setting of the town centre will be much
improved through a commitment to high quality design of both new buildings and open
spaces. It will be a town centre which is easier and more pleasant to walk around and
   where sustainable travel is real alternatives. It will be a town centre known for its
vibrant canal side and its welcoming street life. Over the coming years the image and
 profile of the town will be transformed as a result of development and environmental
improvements and this will help to consolidate its economic position and attract inward
 investment. Above all Bootle Town Centre will become a place where people choose
                                            to be’


9.2 Principles of the Bootle Town Centre Masterplan


In realising this vision, the Masterplan is driven by four interlocking principles that will
provide the framework for the town‟s revitalisation. This framework in turn will provide
the guidance from which this strategy proposes to shape Bootle‟s tourism offer. The
principles are:-


              A Mix Use Town Centre
              Enhancing Movement & Linkages
              Townscape Quality
              Improving Public Realm
                                                                                                48

1. A Mixed Use Town Centre                              3. Townscape Quality
Key objectives:-                                        Key objectives:-
 Consolidate the core retail and office land use        Mending the urban fabric of street frontages where
    character areas.                                        these have been eroded.
 Diversify the aforementioned areas by introducing      Identifying opportunities to promote the
    supporting ancillary uses.                              distinctiveness and character of the town centre.
 Improve the integration between these two              Strengthen the townscape of Stanley Road as a
    functional areas.                                       town centre principal boulevard.
 Strengthen and promote the education, innovation       Strengthening the townscape at important corner
    and cultural activities within the town centre.         locations.
 Provide opportunities for entrepreneurship and         Repairing street frontages where these have
    managed workspace.                                      become fragmented.
 Strengthen civic uses within the town centre as a      Developing the “special skyline” of Bootle town
    vital part of the identity of the town.                 centre.
 Develop the health and healthy living activities       Tackling the problem of less attractive buildings
    within the town centre.                                 within the town centre.
 Strengthen leisure uses and develop the evening        Enhancing the external appearance and presence
    economy.                                                of key buildings.
 Promote the town centre living and develop a new
    residential sector.
 Promote a flexible approach to new uses which
    makes the most of opportunities and sites.
2. Enhancing Movement and Linkages                      4. Improving Public Realm
Key objectives:-                                        Key objectives:-
 Create a town centre that is accessible to all by      Upgrade the quality of public realm treatment
    integrated travel opportunities.                        within the town centre.
 Create a town centre which is easy to walk around      Develop new and improved public spaces.
    and pedestrian friendly.                             Enhance key town centre streets to “connected
 Manage through-traffic to enable improvements to          up” public places.
    the public realm in the heart of the town centre.    Make the most of urban canal setting to provide
 Improve pedestrian and cycle accessibility,               attractive new public realm.
    particularly at key junctions.                       Enhance the town centre environment at night.
 Strengthen linkages from the town core to the          Develop town centre lighting to create safer places
    principal arrival points.                               and sense of place in the evening.
 Develop gateways to the town centre and defining       Promotion of public art and landscape features to
    a sense of arrival.                                     strengthen character and identity.
 Improve town centre signage both for motorists         Encourage events and activities within the town‟s
    and pedestrians.                                        open spaces.
 Revive the canal corridor as a movement axis.          Effective management of the maintenance of the
 Re-provide car parking to make more economic              public realm.
    use of space.



The physical changes to the environment and appearance of Bootle town centre
advocated by the Masterplan will be crucial for the development of a high quality,
customer friendly environment from which a sustainable tourism offer could flourish.
However deciding on the nature of an offer that will make Bootle town centre a
destination that will entice customers are critical questions on which this strategy will
provide guidance.
                                                                                           49


The masterplan for the town centre places great emphasis on developing a mix of uses
that will strengthen and diversify the office and retail sectors to create a vibrant and
integrated environment. In so doing it is envisaged that the town will effectively play to
its strengths and not constrain people to specific sectors because of the lack of
incentive to go elsewhere.


Taking the principles of the masterplan into consideration along with the vision set out
in the Regional Strategy for Tourism, proposals to develop tourism in Bootle are as
follows:-


9.3 A Cultural Gateway


Continuing the theme outlined in section 6, culture could provide the underlying theme
of the town‟s tourism offer. We have already outlined proposals to brand Sefton
borough as a cultural gateway because of its physical links to Liverpool and the Capital
of Culture programme. Embracing this theme in Bootle (particularly as it is the closest
land locked town to the city) would enable the town to capitalise on many of the
„winning themes‟ for tourism laid down by the regional strategy.


Defining Bootle‟s cultural identity can be achieved by focussing on the town‟s unique
heritage and waterfront as major reasons to visit (these in themselves are also key
elements of the regional strategy). In turn this tactic could lead to opportunities for
Bootle‟s retail sector and evening economy to develop.


9.4 Bootle Museum & Exhibition Centre


Heritage plays an important role in the UK economy generating an estimated 79 million
visits during 1999. Of particular importance in this instance are the current trends that
show a growing demand for museums and art galleries, which attracted some 7 million
visitors to the Northwest in 2001. Reflecting this fact, the regional strategy encourages
investment in our treasures, particularly those that are unique and are of national
significance.
                                                                                        50


A museum for Bootle would enable the town to reflect on its rich and unique heritage
that ranges from the supply of spring water to Liverpool dating back to the 18 th Century
to the crucial role it played during the Battle of the Atlantic (BOA). To add further
appeal to the heritage offer, Sefton Council has a unique Egyptology Collection,
Triassic fossil slabs, artefacts from BOA and a Liverpool porcelain collection that relate
directly to Bootle within its possession.


Developing this potential further could also see the many sites of historic interest
relating to BOA and the Blitz located around Bootle town centre developed into a
heritage trail. On a wider scale links with Wirral and Liverpool developed during the
recent 60th Anniversary BOA commemorations could also become a feature of a wider
Merseyside trail.


9.5 Where?


Bootle Town Hall is part of a complex of buildings including the old baths and museum
built in the 1880‟s. Sefton Council‟s Education Department currently occupies the
museum and library, with the baths remaining derelict. The complex in its entirety is a
Grade II listed building and is a key site for renovation as part of the Atlantic Gateway
development project.


Sefton Council‟s Leisure Department has recently commissioned a feasibility report,
produced (Higgins Gardner & Partners) to consider the potential of returning the
museum and library space to a functioning museum. The report outlines three options
that range from reinstating the original layout, to expanding this layout to incorporate
visitor facilities crucial to developing a quality heritage product. The proposed content
of the museum is as follows:-


   Egyptology
   Triassic Fossil Slabs
   Liverpool porcelain
   Henry Boswell Lancaster bequest
   The history of Bootle and its people
                                                                                       51


   The Battle of the Atlantic and the Blitz


The report also makes the recommendation that developing the museum into a major
educational resource should not be overlooked. This option would present many
opportunities, particularly providing a more „hands on‟ feel for those visiting and
wanting to interpret the contents of the museum in more depth, as well as supporting
lifelong learning and providing incentives for local people to become involved.


Reinstating the old museum would seem to be a sensible option and would no doubt
secure huge support from the local community. Whilst the town hall complex is located
on the outskirts of the town centre within the office quarter, this development would be
a significant step towards diversifying the use of buildings across Bootle.


9.6 A hub for arts and culture


Through the enhancement of the public realm around the town hall complex there is
also the potential to make it one of a number of focal points for arts and culture within
the town centre. The development of the frontage of the town hall complex, public art
(possibly designed by local artists) could form the basis of a new landscape that would
be considerably more welcoming than the current arrangement. Similarly, local artists
would have the opportunity to showcase their works within exhibition space at the
museum.


9.7 By the Waterside


The Leeds/Liverpool Canal provides Bootle with a major opportunity that has currently
not been exploited as a reason to visit the town. The canal is neglected and
underused as a destination and movement axis for both pedestrians and water traffic.
Similarly at its most prominent town centre location on Stanley Road, the weight of
traffic using this carriageway simply masks the canal from public view and prevents the
potential for any credible linkage to be established with the town centre.
                                                                                          52


9.8 A mix of uses – Developing a „Canal Quarter‟


In creating a diverse town centre offer and continuing the cultural theme, achieving a
mix of uses for the canal as it flows through Bootle will be a priority. With the proposed
refurbishment of existing buildings, the development of new ones, and the
enhancement of the public realm along the canal, all envisaged as part of the renewal
of Bootle Town Centre, there is clear scope to provide a range of attractions and
activities for visitors that will have significant appeal and provide critical mass.
Branded together these attractions could become recognised as the town‟s „Canal
Quarter‟.


Specialist Retail


Retail should provide a major element of a canal side development. Apart from the
Albert Dock, shopping on the waterfront would provide an experience offered by few
other destinations in Merseyside. It will be essential however that this offer is not just
about providing more of the same. Whilst it will be essential to diversify and broaden
the overall shopping experience, the interests of those retailers located in the town‟s
existing retail core must be protected.


The vision provided by this strategy envisages a canalside consisting of specialist
retailers, comprising galleries, craft shops and boutiques etc. The success of the
Albert Dock and Brimstage Craft Centre in Wirral is largely due to the renovated „old
world‟ surroundings combined with specialist retail that cannot be found in city/town
centres or retail parks.


A place to eat & drink


Bootle has very few cafes, bars and restaurants. If the town is to become a destination
for tourism both day and night then development must take place in this area.


The canal quarter could provide the correct environment and focal point for a range of
bars, restaurants and coffee houses that could spill out onto the canalside. Not only
would such a vision enhance the appeal of the town centre during the day, it would
                                                                                         53


also act as the catalyst for a thriving evening economy. Chelmsford, Birmingham and
Castlefields in Manchester all represent areas where waterside locations have been a
catalyst in the development of successful food and drink offers.


The case for the development of food and drink establishments on the canal is further
enhanced given the growing will of Liverpool City Council to extend the canal to
Princes Dock. This would clearly increase the usage of the canal through Bootle town
centre, therefore the development of an attractive visitor offer on the canal, would
make it a natural „stopping off‟ point on the journey to and from the city – be this via the
canal or the Merseyrail network.


A Home for the Arts & Creative Industries.


Sefton has a rich supply of talented, creative people and within the Northwest the
sector employs 81K people and is worth some £1.9bn to the Northwest economy
(source NWDA). The development of craft workshops, media centre, studio space and
performance space where such talent could flourish is also envisaged as becoming a
cornerstone of the Canal Quarter. Through the allocation of grants, local artists would
be provided with a base from which to ply their trade, creating employment
opportunities for themselves whilst enriching and bringing activity to the canalside
environment.


The development of performance space, also a key aim of Sefton‟s cultural strategy,
could include the provision of an Arts Centre to stimulate activity in the evening.
Providing a range of services for the community as well as attracting high profile
entertainment, (music, dance, theatre, comedy etc) the arts centre would provide a
major incentive to visit the town centre and reinforce the cultural gateway theme.
Similarly the development of the public realm to incorporate performance space along
the canalside would provide numerous opportunities for those involved with the
performing arts in the quarter to showcase their talents.
                                                                                          54


Heritage


The heritage associated with canal is also a key factor and one that should be
considered as another reason for enticing people to the town centre. Located on the
canalside, an interpretation centre would provide a sensible option that could detail the
canal‟s construction, role in bringing about the industrial revolution and contribution
towards the natural environment.


To enhance the attraction further, a canal boat could also be moored outside the
interpretation centre and accessed by visitors. The boat would be a replica of one that
sailed between Leeds and Liverpool during the heyday of barge transportation,
allowing visitors to get a „hands on‟ feel for life during that time. The refurbishment of
the barge could be undertaken on site as a community project under the guidance of a
professional restoration company. Local skills could be reused and new skills
developed so as to reflect the „creative industries‟ aspect of the quarter.


The interpretation centre would also provide information on canal walks and other
aspects of tourism in Sefton, Merseyside and the Northwest.


9.9 A Creative Cluster


The overall concept of the canal quarter is to establish a critical mass of attractions
around a unique location that will encourage interdependency and sustainability. The
retail and heritage elements would draw in the mass of visitors, the restaurants would
facilitate and enrich the visitor experience, whilst the arts and creative industries could
potentially supply the specialist retailers and provide constant activity and a vibrant
atmosphere day and night.


Note: This theme could be applied to stimulate activity in a number of areas throughout
Bootle. Redundant buildings located on Stanley Road and around the office quarter
could also facilitate such activity and contribute towards diversifying the town centre
offer. However the canal is a prime asset that will differentiate the offer from other
destinations, it offers incredible opportunities for change that if managed correctly will
have repercussions throughout the entire town centre.
                                                                                       55



9.10 Linking the Town Centre to the Canal


Linking the town‟s office and retail sectors to developments on the canal must be a
priority if a true „centre‟ is to be realised. The development of a „canal quarter‟ would
bring a new dimension to the town centre and facilitate the movement of people
beyond the traditional town centre boundaries. However this in turn will depend on the
degree to which the canalside could be opened up to the rest of the town centre.


Creating entrances at locations where the canal passes under Stanley Road and
Washington Parade would promote the use of the canal as a key pedestrian route and
so increase footfall for businesses in the canal quarter. Similarly, encouraging the
owners of the Strand Shopping Centre to expand into the north side of the canal would
create numerous opportunities for entrances from the Strand that would diversify, and
take the town‟s retail offer to a new level. It would also be desirable to create a route
via the canal from the proposed museum to the canal quarter.


9.11 Events


A rich and diverse events programme will be essential in reinforcing Bootle‟s position
as a cultural gateway. Some of the events that have the potential to be staged as part
of the new town centre events programme include:-


Bootle in Bloom – Derby/South Park/North Park
Farmers Markets – Town Centre
Lunchtime Concerts - Bootle Town Hall/Canal Quarter
Food & Drink Festival – Town Centre & Canal Quarter
Bootle Blues Festival – Bottle Town Hall/Town Centre
Mersey River Festival – Various activities in the Canal Quarter
RLPO outdoor concert - Derby Park
Community Arts Festival – Bootle Town Hall/Canal Quarter/Strand Shopping Centre
Healthy Lifestyle Events in association with SSPCT – North Park
Street Festival - Public realm sites & Strand Shopping Centre.
                                                                                           56


Multicultural Festival (based around Capital of Culture) – Bootle Town Hall /Canal
Quarter/Strand Shopping Centre
European/Twinning Festival – Bootle Town Hall/Town Centre/Canal Quarter
Recreating the traditional May Day procession from Bootle Town Hall to North Park.


Strategically planned, these events have been designed to stimulate activity and
strengthen the profile of the town on a regional and local basis. Their success will be
driven by those responsible for promoting the town centre, sharing this vision for
Bootle‟s identity and targeting visitors accordingly.


9.12 Branding & Managing the Town Centre


The heritage, waterfront and event offers proposed by this strategy will provide a
number of USP‟s that should, if implemented correctly, work alongside the proposals of
the town centre masterplan and the regional strategy to make Bootle an attractive
visitor destination. The cultural theme driving these offers will help reinvent the town,
change perceptions and focus attention on the town centre through linking directly into
the Capital of Culture programme.


If it is accepted that this theme is the way forward, establishing a brand identity for
Bootle is essential from the outset. The brand identity needs to symbolise the air of
renewal and promote this image to visitors and potential investors alike. The brand
should be associated with every project connected with the regeneration programme,
from building sites to promotional literature to reflect the change that is taking place
and the final vision be it in 5, 10 or even 15 years time. This strategy will inspire
confidence and promote a sense of optimism for the future, however it will only be
achieved through strong town centre management whereby all stakeholders such as
Boolte Business Village, Atlantic Gateway et al develop a shared vision and establish
common business objectives.


The current identity of Bootle town centre is difficult to define, the proposed logo for the
„new‟ town centre does not even mention the word „Bootle‟. This strategy strongly
recommends the branding of Bootle be revisited possibly to reflect the towns heritage
and close association with the canal and sea.
                                                                                        57



9.13 Marketing


Whilst a marketing strategy for the town centre will have to be produced following the
clear definition of the town centre offer, the production of a Bootle Town Centre Guide
would provide an ideal mechanism for profiling the emerging town centre offer. Ideally
the guide should include a map of the town centre, provide information on retail, the
heritage trail and list forthcoming events. It is also proposed that information points be
located around the town centre together with a dedicated website.
                                                                                          58


10.     Signature Project 5: East Sefton & the Hornby Centre


10.1 The Place


East Sefton comprises Lydiate, Aintree, Maghull, Melling and the ancient village of
Sefton. The area has an attractive rural landscape that is further enhanced by the
Leeds/Liverpool canal as it flows from the north through Lydiate before turning east
past Aintree Race Course. East Sefton also has a rich heritage including connections
with local inventor Frank Hornby of Hornby trains, and many ancient buildings that are
of regional historical significance.


From these assets, what can be described as a „natural‟ tourism product has emerged.
A recent publication entitled „A Visitors Guide to Maghull & East Sefton‟ links these
natural resources together and highlights the many nature trails, walks, cycleways and
points of interest that will provide the foundations from which a bigger, more diverse
tourism offer could emerge.


10.2 Realising the Potential


Whilst the current offer has appeal, it does not have the „mass‟ market appeal to create
a sustainable tourism product that will have a major impact on the prosperity of the
local economy. Arguably the full definition of the area‟s current offer combined with a
greater investment in marketing would create more visitors, however this would not be
realising the true potential of East Sefton.


The NWDA‟s vision for tourism in the region states that the development of
destinations and themes will be critical to the future of the region‟s tourism product.
This is a key principle that should be used not only in East Sefton, but also throughout
Sefton as a whole. It is without question that the raw materials exist to develop a
range of unique and attractive destinations, but without the innovation and investment
in these materials our contribution to the makeup of the regional tourism offer will
always be confined to Southport.
                                                                                           59


The objective in this instance must be to innovate to discover a product that, when
added to the mix of existing attractions, makes the destination unique. And, to invest
sufficiently in that idea so that it will appeal across a range of different markets. In
realising the NWDA‟s vision for tourism, and taking these principles into consideration,
it is anticipated that the following proposals will allow East Sefton to develop into a first
class destination for tourism in the region.


10.3 Visitor Centre/Hornby Museum


The potential for tourism offered by this project is huge. As well as improving facilities
for visitors attracted by the current nature and recreational offers in East Sefton, the
opportunity to diversify and exploit local connections with one of the most famous
toymakers of the 20th Century should not be missed.


Frank Hornby, famed for his inventions such as Meccano, Hornby Trains and Dinky
Toys lived in Maghull for 28 years. This fact alone draws people to Maghull, with
members of the 2800 strong Hornby Collectors Society visiting the town each year to
attend his grave. However the continued popularity of railway exhibitions, toy
shows/exhibitions and the many web sites dedicated to Meccano and Hornby Trains,
adds weight to the argument that a Hornby museum would have significant appeal as a
credible regional if not national visitor attraction.


10.4 Catering for the mass market


In developing the museum idea, the attraction must be tailored to appeal across a
broad range of markets. Families are an important market in this regard; not only will
they arrive in greater numbers, if the product is correct, direct expenditure on
merchandise/souvenirs will be high as will indirect expenditure on other
services/refreshments. Comparisons with the potential for this offer and the Beatrix
Potter Museum/visitor centre in the Lake District provides a good example of achieving
this balance.


In this instance the museum appeals to children through a life sized exhibition of the
writers characters depicted in their storytime settings. The museum also appeals to
                                                                                              60


enthusiasts and adults by providing a fascinating insight into the life of Beatrix Potter
through storyboards and film presentations. Needless to say there are excellent visitor
and educational facilities as well as plenty of opportunities to purchase souvenirs.


In ensuring the broadest range of appeal, the concept of the Hornby Museum could be
much the same. Constructed to a high specification, the museum could consist of a
number of themed zones chronicling the inventor‟s life, displaying his inventions
(Meccano, Hornby, Dinky toys & Scaletrix exhibitions) as well as providing facilities for
educational and interactive activities. Visitor facilities must also be considered a priority
with refreshments and merchandise supplied to a high standard.


The heritage transport aspects of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and the Cheshire Lines
Railway may also prove to be an extra theme that could be added to the museum.


10.5 Where?


The banks of the Leeds/Liverpool canal would certainly form the best location for the
museum and there appears to be the potential for this just off the A59 near to St
Andrews Church where the inventor is buried. Here the museum would provide
visitors with a sense of place on arrival as well as increasing the prospects for the
canal and museum to become synonymous with each other. This factor is important
when considering branding, as reference to the water will not only enhance the „appeal‟
in visitor perceptions, it will also raise the profile of the „wider‟ tourism offer in East
Sefton.


10.6 Hornby Trail


Building on the concept of the museum, the opportunity to move visitors around the
area could be presented by developing a „Hornby Trail‟. The churchyard where the
inventor is buried and the house in which he used to live (marked by the first blue
plaque to be installed outside London), have the potential to be of significant interest to
those visiting the museum. If developed correctly, information boards placed at
strategic points along a route incorporating the canal and buildings of historical interest
                                                                                           61


could lengthen visitor stays and increase the likelihood of greater spend in the area‟s
cafes, bars and restaurants.


10.7 Developing New Themes


The development of the Hornby Centre would be a significant addition to the „natural‟
tourism product that already exists in East Sefton. However there is potential to
develop further attractions that will add critical mass to the offer and further enhance
the area‟s profile as a tourism destination of outstanding quality.


As is the case with Bootle, the Leeds/Liverpool canal is a unique theme from which a
plethora of tourism initiatives can be shaped. Whilst there is potential to use the canal
and surrounding countryside as the backdrop for an idyllic caravan/camping site, the
corridor could also be used to facilitate local farm diversification including a community
brewery, and is an ideal venue for nature trials, festivals and events.


10.8 Marina


The section of the canal running through East Sefton is officially designated with
„remainder‟ status, however as the likelihood of extending the canal to Princes dock in
Liverpool moves forward with increasing momentum, there is real potential for a
significant increase in water traffic. Whilst the link would not be finished until mid 2005
at the earliest, East Sefton represents a natural stopping point for canal traffic as there
remains several hours journey time to Princes Dock.


Research by the Inland Waterways Association indicates that narrowboat users are
typically upwardly mobile, middle aged, with a high degree of disposable income; the
average „boat stop‟ averages an expenditure of some £24.50 per head. The creation of
a secure marina therefore, situated close to nearby amenities, may well act as an
attractive stopping point that would allow East Sefton to capitalise on this potentially
lucrative market.


There are two possible locations for a marina within the area. Melling Old Stone Bridge
is a scenic location but lacks infrastructure, apart from the Bootle Arms public house. A
                                                                                          62


more prominent location is the racecourse at Aintree, whose management has
expressed interest in such a scheme, and would have the resources to act as a full
partner.


10.9 Developing a Brand – “Grand National Country”


A strong brand identity is crucial to the success of any tourism destination, in the case
of East Sefton, the development of the Hornby Centre and the natural products that will
add value to this offer need to be packaged in a way that will convey a message of
quality. Whilst “East Sefton” describes the geographical location of these attractions,
the name is not only a little bland, it also has no meaning to potential visitors.


The solution to this branding dilemma may be achieved by considering the recognised
brands that can be associated with East Sefton and taking a contemporary approach
toward the concept of branding. “Aintree” and the “Grand National” are nationally if not
internationally recognised brands, it is therefore essential that branding for East Sefton
capitalises on these opportunities.


Whilst “Aintree” is too descriptive in terms of being an actual destination, the “Grand
National” encapsulates many of the things that we would like visitors to associate with
East Sefton – such as the countryside, the canal, even extravagance. Therefore
branding the area as “Grand National Country” is not only distinctive and memorable, it
also conveys a strong impression. Nottingham‟s “Robin Hood Country” and the
Yorkshire Moores “Brontë Country” are archetypes.
                                                                                                  63


11.   Signature Project 6: Making the most of the Grand National


      11.1 Regional Thinking


      Held in Sefton, the Grand National is arguably one of the greatest sporting events in
      the world, generating international tourism and global media attention. In recognition
      of this, the regional strategy highlights the profile of the Grand National as a key
      mechanism for raising the profile of England‟s Northwest so as to develop further
      opportunities for tourism, image development and regeneration.


      This will be undertaken in many ways, however it is likely that the Grand National will
      be used to heighten the profile of the emerging Mersey waterfront, given its status as
      one of the regional strategy‟s „signature projects‟. Similarly it is likely that the profile of
      the Grand National will also be used as a platform from which initiatives relating to
      Liverpool‟s Capital of Culture programme will be launched.


      11.2 An Opportunity for Sefton


      In the context of the regional strategy, the Grand National is not actually seen as a
      „Sefton‟ or a „Liverpool‟ event, it is seen as a „Northwest‟ event that is probably best
      aligned to Liverpool given the city‟s status as an attack brand from which to promote
      Merseyside. This approach to promoting Merseyside is not designed to alienate areas
      that do not have „star brand‟ status, (see section 6) it is simply a sensible and practical
      way of marketing the Northwest so that more people want to come and visit. The
      combination of Liverpool and the Grand National however is not only a mechanism for
      promoting Liverpool City, it is also a very effective mechanism for promoting Sefton.


      There are two important factors that must be considered if this opportunity is to be fully
      exploited. Firstly and most importantly, we must decide why it is important that Sefton
      is seen to be part of the Grand National. After all, through little proactive PR at Grand
      National time, the borough‟s hotels and other visitor amenities are at capacity and
      „Aintree‟, the colloquial name of the racecourse, is used widely by the international
      media. Similarly, „Sefton‟ has been more of an administrative name for a geographical
                                                                                        64


area rather than a place, with „Southport‟, „Aintree‟ and „Royal Birkdale‟ being the most
recognised brands.


Throughout this strategy, establishing an identity for Sefton has been a constant
theme, not only because each of the proposed signature projects will need to establish
their sense of place, but also because combining these offers with the existing brands
such as the Grand National, Southport, Royal Birkdale etc will make Sefton a
particularly appealing place to live, work, visit and invest. Sending this message to the
worldwide media audience commanded by the Grand National will be crucial in
developing tourism and economic prosperity within the borough.


11.3 Working with Merseyside


How Sefton is to use the Grand National to develop its regional and national profile is
the second factor that must be considered. Undertaking a promotional campaign
independently would no doubt result in limited success, however the expense of
developing a campaign that would have significant impact would be huge. Additionally,
regional campaigns implemented by the Mersey Partnership and NWDA would further
dilute the impact and send out mixed messages to the region‟s potential visitors and
investors.


It would appear that the only practical way forward for Sefton is to work proactively with
Liverpool City Council and the Mersey Partnership to develop joint marketing initiatives
and events to coincide with the Grand National. As described above, in many cases
the message may have a „Liverpool‟ bias for the reason of attracting visitors, however
by being proactive and accepting regional thinking, it will be possible to positively
influence decisions for mutual benefit.


11.4 Grand National Festival


In recent years, Liverpool City Council, Aintree Race Course, TMP and Martel have
staged a Grand National Festival. Including live music events, firework displays etc,
the festival was promoted nationally through press and television advertising. The
primary function of the festival was to raise the national/international profile of
                                                                                         65


Merseyside and to attract visitors to Liverpool before, during and after the Grand
National.


To date, Sefton had limited involvement with this festival, it must now become an
integral part of it in the future. The festival has significant potential to embrace Sefton
as the ultimate destination of visitors to the National. The development of river events
between Crosby and the Pierhead is one example of how integration could take place,
others may include events staged in and around Aintree racecourse to promote a
sense of arrival. Similarly the promotion of Sefton as a place to live, work and invest
must become another major theme of the festival‟s message and promotional
campaign.


11.5 A Nice Place to Be


It is important to remember that Aintree is the ultimate destination of anyone attending
the Grand National. Logically, this means that every visitor, irrespective of his or her
social status must at some point come to Sefton. This is an important point that should
not be lost. Whilst the association between Liverpool and the National is hugely
important for generating tourism in Merseyside and raising the region‟s profile, the
quality of the Grand National visitor experience should not be dictated by local
authority boundaries. It should be seamless and embrace the whole of Merseyside.
The logic being that if the entire visitor experience is good, the more chance there is of
these visitors returning or even investing in the area.


There are a number of ways this experience can be enhanced for the direct benefit of
both Liverpool and Sefton. One of the most obvious is the need to make substantially
more of the routes linking Liverpool with Sefton on which many race-goers travel to
Aintree. Floral displays on lampposts and roundabouts, lamppost banners and
effective cleansing operations are all ideas that would enhance the visitor experience,
raise expectations and develop a true „Merseyside‟ sense of place.


Lamppost banners are particularly useful at creating a sense of occasion and raising
the profile of areas. In this instance, banners could potentially send different
massages, possibly profiling the new Sefton brand as described in section 6 or even
                                                                                       66


welcome visitors to “Grand National Country”. The same idea could also be adopted
for the stations running along the „Sefton Coast Line‟, with floral decorations, banners
and cleansing, all promoting a first class experience and changing perceptions.
                                                                                                 67


12.   Winning Themes


      The regional strategy places great emphasis on features that make the Northwest
      unique and special. In many cases the Northwest already possesses products that
      have worldwide appeal, however in other instances, only the raw materials of the
      potential product exist.


      The specific themes highlighted in the regional strategy are as follows:-


      The Countryside            A green region – the promotion of world class countryside,
                                 emphasising the quality of the environment.
      Cultural Beacon            A rich cultural landscape – celebrating the region‟s cultural
                                 offer, building on Liverpool‟s success in being named
                                 European Capital of Culture in 2008
      Night Nirvana              A booming area – developing and strengthening attractive
                                 and safe night environments in towns and cities.
      Powerhouse                 A unique heritage – investing in the legacy of the industrial
                                 revolution – one of the regions defining characteristics
      Sports Mecca               An unrivalled area of excellence – making full use of the
                                 regions sporting assets, which include iconic stadia and clubs,
                                 famous golf courses, and events such as the Grand National.
      On the Waterfront          A special sense of place – for the region‟s lakes, rivers and
                                 canals; the development of the Mersey Waterfront, and a
                                 „New Vision‟ for coastal resorts.
      Fantastic Food             A cosmopolitan range of tastes – promoting the use of local
                                 ingredients and specialities, and the development of
                                 gastronomic quarters and high quality food markets.
      Family Fun                 It‟s a real pleasure – building on the strong assets such as
                                 Blackpool Pleasure Beach to enhance the region‟s family
                                 appeal.
      Superb Shopping            A key motivator – raising the profile of the region‟s strong
                                 retail offer.
                                                                                          68


These themes are replicated to varying degrees across Sefton. The established town
of Southport is quickly developing its reputation as a classic coastal resort and is
acknowledged as a shining example of how traditional seaside resorts can adapt
successfully to changing market conditions in the tourism industry. The resort boasts
one of the finest golfing offers in the country, it is developing green tourism initiatives,
has a diverse and exciting events programme as well as a thriving retail and night time
economy.


Throughout the rest of the borough, opportunities for tourism are only just being
realised. In essence it is only the raw materials that exist and in shaping tourism in
Sefton and consequently ENW, Sefton‟s signature projects strongly reflect many of
these themes. However there are other areas within Sefton‟s composition that also
reflect some of these themes.


12.1 Night Nirvana


The evening economy within the United Kingdom is booming at present. Within Sefton
Southport, Crosby, Waterloo and Bootle are areas of high evening activity. The main
problems associated with the evening economy in Sefton are the limited age range
catered for by pubs and clubs and the resulting problems with anti social behaviour
and street crime. Of course these problems are by no means exclusive to Sefton.


One of the key objectives of this strategy will be to develop and strengthen attractive
and safe night environments in Sefton‟s town centres.


12.2 Sports Mecca


The regional strategy recognises that major sporting events can operate as a catalyst
to stimulate tourism, investment and economic regeneration. As a result it promotes
the full use of the region‟s sporting assets to make the Northwest an unrivalled centre
of excellence in this field.


Sefton has a rich sporting heritage as the home of the Grand National (see section 11)
and the Royal Birkdale Golf Course. The golf offer is particularly strong in the borough
                                                                                         69


with Southport fully exploiting this niche with a highly developed golf tourism offer and
a developing brand identity as “England‟s Golf Capital”. In addition, the resort will host
the Merseyside Festival of Golf incorporating the PGA sanctioned English Seniors
Open in 2004.


The golf offer is largely confined to north and mid Sefton and correctly falls under the
„Southport‟ brand, however there are golf courses in South Sefton most notably Bootle.
In terms of developing the profile of England‟s Northwest from the golf offer, joint
national and international marketing activity with Wirral and The Mersey Partnership
have recently been co ordinated through the NWDA‟s „England‟s Golf Cost‟ marketing
initiative.


As is the case with the Grand National the lack of identity for Sefton means any
opportunities for piggybacking this international event and raising the profile of the
borough are lost. It is also true that the international significance of this event makes it
is a key element in the regional strategy‟s drive to enhance the profile of England‟s
Northwest. To a certain extent therefore, the needs of Sefton are overshadowed by
the need to fully exploit opportunities for international tourism generated by this
landmark event.


12.3 Fantastic Food


There is a growing trend within the UK economy towards eating out and it is predicted
that by 2025, 50% of all UK food consumption will be eaten away from home (Food &
Drink Federation). Food is an essential part of the tourism experience and if a truly
rounded tourism offer is to be developed in Sefton, then access to quality food and
restaurants is essential.


Within the north of the borough, there is a highly developed restaurant culture
particularly in Southport, Birkdale and Formby. Similarly Crosby and Waterloo boast a
significant number of restaurants and café bars that have the potential to develop and
benefit from this strategy.
                                                                                         70


The provision of food outlets in Bootle does cause concern. The Atlantic Gateway
Project aimed at developing Bootle town centre into a thriving commercial, retail and
leisure destination places great emphasis on the need to develop eating
establishments in the town.


Through the series of signature projects, it is anticipated that the demand for
restaurants will be greatly enhanced. Whilst the vision in Bootle is to develop a canal
quarter that will create the market conditions for a restaurant economy, the
development of the Sefton Coast will also create demand. It is envisaged that the
restaurants in Crosby and Waterloo could benefit significantly from a rejuvenated
Crosby Maria.


12.4 Superb Shopping


The Northwest is a strong destination for shopping. Large cities such as Liverpool and
Manchester provide excellent shopping facilities, whilst the „out of town‟ shopping
phenomena has given rise to mega retail outlets such as Cheshire Oaks and the
Trafford Centre.


Within Sefton, there is nothing to remotely rival these offers, although Southport and
Bootle do offer a range of branded retail outlets. The retail offer in Southport is
supported by the other tourism initiatives currently driving the resort forward (golf,
conferences, events etc). In addition there is the unique opportunity to shop in the
resort‟s famous Lord Street and Victorian arcades, providing the visitor with a retail
experience replicated by few other destinations.


The situation for Bootle is somewhat different. The historic heart of the town centre
was destroyed during the Second World War and the development of the Strand
Shopping Centre has failed to provide an identity that distinguishes it from any other
sub regional shopping destination (The Pyramids - Birkenhead, The Arcades -
Ellesmere Port, The Cherry Tree Centre – Wallasey etc).


Whilst the success of The Strand is critical to the social and economic wellbeing of the
borough, it is not likely to be a major visitor destination in terms of the regional
                                                                                     71


strategy. However if the projects aimed at developing tourism opportunities in and
around Bootle reach fruition, the Strand will become a strong complementary product
to these offers from which significant benefits could be gained (see section 4).
                                                                                              72



13.   Regional Gems


      13.1 Making the most of the Regions Assets


      In recent years, a number of impressive new visitor attractions have been have been
      developed, however whilst they have provided diversity and variety to the regional
      offer, in some cases they have struggled to attract visitors.


      In light of this situation, the regional tourism strategy seeks to place the emphasis back
      on those assets that have traditionally been a feature of the Northwest tourism offer but
      are now looking „a little faded‟. The Regional Strategy describes such attractions as
      „gems‟ or „treasures‟ that with the correct level of investment have the potential to add
      to the region‟s destination appeal. These attractions may include the paintings inside
      our art galleries or unique artefacts from our industrial past. Many may also be
      locations that have comparatively high propensity levels and are, therefore, not eligible
      for regeneration funding.


      13.2 Realising their True Potential


      The regeneration of many of Sefton‟s existing assets has underpinned much of this
      strategy. The regeneration of individual buildings such as Bootle museum and library,
      the development of the Sefton Coast and the use of those priceless artefacts from the
      Battle of the Atlantic and the borough‟s Egyptology collection are just some examples.
      However there are other gems that form the makeup of Sefton that are now taken for
      granted, tired looking and consequently failing to live up to their true potential.


      13.3 Leeds/Liverpool Canal


      The regeneration of Bootle and the development of East Sefton as a visitor destination
      all pivot around the canal. However these proposals represent only landmarks that will
      become features of the canal just as the canal is a feature of these initiatives. The
      Leeds/Liverpool canal is a key part of Sefton‟s makeup that has been neglected for
                                                                                        73


years. It is simply part of the South Sefton landscape rather than a feature that shines
out to all those who live in and visit the area.


With the onset of the European Capital of Culture programme, the proposed Liverpool
canal link with Princes Dock is likely to lead to increased interest and usage of the
canal. British Waterways Board has confirmed that planning permission is in the
process of being granted with work on the extension expected to last 12 months
beginning in early 2004. There are also proposals to create a link between Sankey
Navigation and the canal in order to link it up with the national network.


The canal presents Sefton with a real opportunity to exploit the link with one of the fast
growing cities in Europe. The potential for it to be cleaned and dredged will no doubt
add vitality to the areas it runs through. However our mission must be to ensure
visitors and users have a quality canal environment lasting from Lydiate to Liverpool
that will reinforce visitor expectations of Merseyside.


This will mean improving access to amenities along the canalside, ensuring the canal
is clean, foot paths are maintained, waymarking is clear and frequent, and that the
canal becomes a focal point of community life through water based activity, social
inclusion initiatives and regular events.


Other attractions within the borough that could benefit from investment in order that
they may realise their true potential include the Southport Arts Centre, Atkinson Art
Gallery Complex, Crosby Cinema, Sefton Meadows and Rimrose Valley. Indeed the
latter to destinations have strong potential to benefit from the Mersey Forest initiative
aimed at revitalising and regenerating the countryside and greenspaces.
                                                                                              74


14.   Excellent Events


      The Regional Strategy acknowledges the fact that events can play a crucial role in
      tourism, image development, and regeneration. It proposes that an events programme
      will be created to establish a national and international reputation for the region. In so
      doing, it splits events into two categories, „core events‟ and „annual theme‟ events.


      Core events are high quality events that will establish a national or international
      reputation for the region, therefore building on existing successes, such as the Grand
      National. Annual theme events range from stand-alone events such as the
      Commonwealth Games or the Tall Ships Race to events that coincide with national or
      international programmes – Liverpool‟s Capital of Culture status in 2008 is one such
      event. Either way the emphasis is placed on those events that will draw significant
      numbers of staying visitors to the region.


      14.1 Events in Southport


      Whilst Southport has as a diverse tourism offer, it is arguably the leading events
      destination in the Northwest. The Southport Flower Show, Southport International
      Jazz Festival, English Seniors Open, Airshow and British Musical Fireworks among
      others, provide an insight into how a diverse range of events can raise the profile of a
      destination and change visitor perceptions as well as making a significant economic
      impact. In 2003 the programme attracted nearly ¾ million visitors to the resort and it is
      clear that the objectives of the Regional Strategy will provide opportunities for further
      development.


      14.2 Events in Sefton


      The success of the Southport events programme has developed a strong belief that
      strategically planned events can change perceptions and generate substantial levels of
      investment in the local economy. They can also act as profile-raisers and help to
      sustain the appeal of destinations, and will therefore be an important mechanism for
      developing the profile and sustainability of the signature projects outlined earlier. We
                                                                                          75


have already described a number of themed events for Bootle that will be essential for
developing the town‟s profile as a cultural gateway and partner to Liverpool in the lead
up to the European Capital of Culture in 2008 (see section 7).


However more major events will be developed in line with regional strategic thinking to
further enhance the profile of Sefton and the Northwest. They are:-


14.3 Mersey River Festival – Crosby Coastal Park


As part of a range of events designed to establish Corsby Marine Park as one of the
major destinations on the Sefton Coast, inclusion in the Mersey River Festival would
enable the location to play to its strengths. The views across and down the Mersey
make it an excellent location to view activity on the river. Similarly the Marine Lake,
Bootle docks, sand dunes and wildlife present many opportunities to run a varied
programme of events as part of the festival.


14.4 Goodwood of the North – Aintree Race Course


Despite staging one of the world‟s most famous sporting events, Aintree Racecourse is
a much underused resource. Whilst horseracing dominates throughout the year, the
venue also boasts a motor racing circuit that could potentially support another
worldclass event.


The Festival of Speed at Goodwood racecourse on the South coast provides a good
model for the diversification of events held at Aintree. Attracting over 150,000 paying
spectators per annum, the event features races between the greatest competition cars
from the entire history of motorsport, there are also static exhibitions and a range of
interactive entertainment, including driving simulators and tank rides. Given the
geography of both locations, and the similarity between the venues in terms of their
infrastructure and audience profile, it would seem logical to consider the feasibility of
staging a „Goodwood of the North‟ at Aintree.
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14.5 Extreme Sports - Ainsdale


Ainsdale beach is an outstanding venue for extreme sports; the area has a national
reputation among consumers given the reliable wind conditions and open beach
landscape. Complemented by the standard of visitor facilities outlined in section 8,
programmes of extreme sport events possess significant potential attract visitors to the
Sefton Coast and region in general.


14.6 Open Air Theatre - Lydiate Hall


Based in the rolling countryside of East Sefton, the remains of Lydiate Hall provide an
excellent venue for open-air theatre. It is envisaged that as part of the wider Sefton
events programme the ancient ruins of this hidden treasure will be used as a stunning
backdrop for an annual programme of open-air theatre including the works of classic
writers such as Jane Austin and Shakespeare.


14.7 Marketing


Promoted as one, these high profile events will form the spine of a generic Sefton
events product that will support existing smaller events and convey positive messages
about the area to local and regional markets. Similarly by aligning the individual
marketing of these initiatives to the location in which they are being staged, the
potential of creating significant opportunities for tourism may also be realised. For
example marketing of the Mersey River Festival at Crosby Coastal Park should be
strategically integrated with the branding, themes and messages used to market The
Sefton Coast, just as open air theatre at Lydiate Hall should be aligned with the
marketing of East Sefton.
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15.   A Region for Business


      Business related tourism has substantial growth potential, and represents a high
      proportion of tourism spending in the Northwest. The 2000 British Conference Market
      Trends Survey (BCMTS) commissioned by the BTA and its partners show the value of
      this market to the Northwest in the table below.


                                                                     All venues in the North   All UK venues
                                                                     of England
              Non-residential conferences
              Estimated volume                                       207,000                   1,037,000
              Average duration                                       1.4 days                  1.4 days
              Average size                                           49 delegates              47 delegates
              Average day delegate rate                              £40                       £36
              Residential conferences
              % of conferences that were residential                 23%                       23%
              Estimated volume                                       62,000                    308,000
              Average duration                                       2.4 days                  2.6 days
              Average size                                           43 delegates              72 delegates
              Average 24 hour delegate rate                          £102                      £143
              Type of conference
              Corporate                                              40%                       47%
              Government                                             36%                       32%
              Association                                            22%                       20%
              Estimated value                                        £800m                     £6,600m
              Source: British Conference Market Trends Survey 2000




      Southport is without question one of the leading conference destinations in
      Merseyside; in 2002 it generated some £25 million for the local economy and
      potentially could be among the top 20 conference destinations in the UK by 2005. The
      major obstacle to achieving this aim is the lack of 5 star hotel accommodation. The
      new vision for Northwest coastal resorts also makes this point and it is anticipated that
      the favourable market conditions combined with the resort‟s effective sales and
      management network will attract private sector investment sooner rather than later.


      There are other destinations that could benefit from a structured framework for
      encouraging business tourism in Sefton. As well as staging the Grand National,
      Aintree Racecourse has excellent facilities for meetings, conferences and exhibitions,
      comprising 15 meeting rooms of which the capacity of the largest room is 500
      delegates. However with limited infrastructure in terms of restaurants and hotels etc
      located around the venue, the impact on the local economy is relatively small. Indeed
                                                                                         78


the hotels located in Liverpool City Centre are more likely to benefit from this activity,
given their quality and excellent transport links to the venue.


Within the proposals for the renewal of Bootle town centre, there is significant potential
to cater for the business tourism market through possible collaboration with TMP and
other sub regional stakeholders. The development of the office quarter and the
renewal of the town centre all have the potential to combine as an excellent venue for
small meetings and conferences. As new office developments come online, there is
expected to be a wealth of redundant office space that could be converted to cater for
this market; the regeneration of a building on the proposed „canal quarter‟ would be
particularly attractive.


In terms of attracting large conferences, this would seem unlikely in the lifetime of this
strategy as substantial investment in developing a purpose built convention/exhibition
centre and hotel facilities would be required. With Liverpool and Southport also
competing in this market, opportunities would be somewhat limited.
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16.   Celebrating Growing Excellence


      The Regional Strategy for tourism places great emphasis on achieving excellence as
      without aspiring to such standards it is almost certain that our competitors will
      capitalise on these shortcomings. Indeed the strategy seeks to achieve „true
      excellence‟ by concentrating resources on specific areas of the tourism industry rather
      than attempting to raise overall standards. The focus will be on high quality and across
      all price ranges, through outstanding cuisine, hotels, B&B‟s, youth hostels, pubs,
      holiday parks and visitor attractions. Similarly the same focus will be placed on
      developing greater levels of professionalism amongst tourism employees.


      There is clearly quality in Sefton‟s tourism offer however whether that offer is
      „excellent‟, is a difficult question to answer. Whilst Southport has many hotels, it does
      not have a 5 star hotel that would truly justify the resort‟s status as an excellent
      destination for conferences and golf breaks. However these same hotels quite
      justifiably make the resort an excellent short break destination for events etc.


      For the other products that have the potential to emerge from this strategy, excellence
      must be embedded in every stage of the implementation process from design to the
      quality of the buildings, from signage to the people who will be involved in dealing with
      visitors and managing the product. Training, skills development and investment in the
      product will therefore be crucial to ensure these standards are met. It will be
      necessary to implement accreditation schemes across the industry, to raise and
      guarantee quality standards as well as providing incentives to encourage stakeholders
      to reach these standards.
                                                                                                  80


17.   Making it Easy


      The Regional Strategy for Tourism recognises that having a range of attractions will
      attract visitors to the region, however a huge factor in influencing whether or not they
      will return is the quality of the infrastructure that supports their visit. Therefore the
      ease of booking accommodation, the accessibility to information, including the internet,
      the transport links that serve destinations and the provision of guides and brochures
      etc are all crucial in this regard.


      17.1 Learning from Southport


      Sefton is lucky in that Southport is constantly refining its infrastructure that serves its
      burgeoning offer. The provision of a dedicated call centre served by the destination
      management system „Integra‟ has facilitated accommodation booking, information
      provision and the collection of important data and developed a service that is truly
      „customer driven‟. In addition, Tourist Information facilities, a suite of guides relating to
      every product within the resort‟s offer and a dedicated website that is constantly
      updated continue to enhance customer satisfaction and raise expectations.


      The replication of this service to embrace the wider Sefton offer will be critical if a
      tourism offer is to be developed that is worthy of commanding „regional status‟.
      Customer satisfaction and expectation raising is a critical element of all the product
      related signature projects. The provision of tourist information centres across the
      borough, the accessibility of information and ease of bookings for events,
      accommodation and exhibitions will all be essential in achieving that end. This will no
      doubt require further investment in staff and premises, however if customer satisfaction
      is our goal then this is an investment well worth making and one that will set us apart
      from the competition.


      It is anticipated that relationships with local transport providers will also be developed.
      Sefton is exceptionally well connected by road and rail. During core event times and
      peaks in the tourism season, an integrated transport policy between all key
      stakeholders can add significantly towards the overall visitor experience.
                                                                                                81


18.   Intelligence Led


      Measuring performance of the tourism economy is vital to long term sustainability and
      prosperity. Whilst establishing targets and benchmarks will enable productivity to be
      monitored, accuracy will ultimately be driven by the provision of quality of the data.


      The model presented by Southport is again one that should be replicated across the
      borough. The destination management system, „Integra‟ acts a database to store a
      range of information from hotel occupancy to complaints received about toilet provision
      in the resort. Information gathering is also conducted, particularly at the resort‟s
      events.


      The data is then interpreted by „STEAM‟ to assess the resort‟s position in the
      marketplace, providing information on income generated from staying visitors, day
      visitors and the performance of the various resort marketing and event initiatives. It is
      then possible to forecast customer demand on fact rather than fiction, tailoring
      products and policy decisions accordingly.


      Whilst Integra can be used to manage a variety of data sources, there are still areas
      that will require accurate methods of information gathering and effective procedures
      set in place to disseminate such information. It is therefore a priority of this strategy to
      standardise the collection of visitor information across the borough to ensure our
      product can be quickly and effectively monitored and compared with the performance
      of our competitors. Similarly organisations such as the Mersey Partnership will
      provide information on the performance of the tourism economy and is one that should
      not be overlooked.
                                                                                              82


19   Next Steps


     If ever the time was right to have tourism embrace the entire borough of Sefton then it
     is surely now. The emergence of the Mersey Waterfront Regional Park, Regional
     Tourism Strategy and European Capital of Culture in 2008 mean the potential for
     investment has never been better. At local level, Southport is in the process of
     becoming the classic resort of ENW, similarly the Atlantic Gateway Project and
     proposals for the development of destinations along the Sefton coast all mean the
     building blocks for a sustainable tourism product exist, it is more a question of
     assembling them in the correct order.


     This strategy is about providing stakeholders with a vision, one that no doubt will be
     challenged and developed, but none the less one that will start the process of using
     tourism as an effective mechanism for regeneration. To take the vision forward, key
     stakeholders must form effective partnerships and take responsibility for the products
     that have been outlined. It is only by operating in this fashion that investment and
     funding streams will be identified to turn this vision into reality.


     The six signature projects are the foundations for the development of tourism across
     Sefton, by accepting them as the way forward clear priorities and timeframes for
     implementation can then be set.




                                                                               All enquiries to:-

                                                                                 Peter Sandman
                                                                                     Sefton MBC
                                                                            Tourism Department
                                                                              10 Portland Street
                                                                                      Southport
                                                                                        PR8 1LJ
                                                                              Tel: 0151 934 2321
                 83




20. Appendices
                                                                                  84




Appendix 1


Policy Documents Acting as Strategic Drivers at National/Regional/Merseyside
level.


   DCMS (Central Government) – Tomorrow‟s Tourism (1999).
   English Tourism Council (ETC): Sea Changes (2001).
   Northwest Tourist Board (NWTB): Sustaining Progress – A Sustainable Strategy
    for Tourism in the NWTB Region.
   Mersey Tourism – Visiting Merseyside: A Five-Year programme For Sustainable
    Tourism (2000).
   The Liverpool City Region – Winning Tourism for England‟s Northwest – 2015.
   Mersey Tourism – Destination Plan for Liverpool City Region 2004/2005.
   The Liverpool City Region – Tourism Sector Implemantation Plan 2004 – 2008.
   The Mersey Partnership – an action plan for the City region 2002-2005.
   „Quality of Coastal Towns‟ – Sustainable Tourism on Merseyside: Assessment of
    Coastal Visitor Facilities.
                                                                                     85


Appendix 2


Capital of Culture – Themed Years


2003   Celebrating Learning is the first of Liverpool‟s themed years, building up to and
       beyond 2008. Over 175,000 residents have so far taken an active part, 40,000
       being school children.
2004   Faith in One City
2005   Year of the Sea
2006   Celebrating Sport & Arts
2007   Celebrating Heritage
2008   Capital of Culture
2009   Celebrating the Environment
2010   Celebrating Innovation
                                                                                 86


Appendix 3


Quality of Coastal Towns – Assessment of Sefton Coastal Visitor
Facilities


Site: Ainsdale Discovery Centre                                        GATEWAY

Attributes

    Well located for visitors to the northern section of the Sefton Coast.
    Situated close to one of the cleanest and most popular beaches on the Sefton
     Coast.
    Existing Discovery Centre is in excellent condition and offers opportunities to
     develop and improve visitor facilities.
    Work is underway to develop a project brief for the Ainsdale Lido project – brief
     expected by end of February 2003.

Proposals

    Further develop visitor information, interpretation and education facilities within
     the existing Discovery Centre building.
    Refurbish existing toilet facilities at the beach or preferably provide new facilities
     through expansion of the Discovery Centre.
    Improve site signage, car parking facilities and access provision for disabled
     people.
    The capital and long term revenue costs of refurbishing and maintaining the
     derelict main Lido building will be significant and will need careful justification
     through a detailed action plan.
    An Action Plan will be produced to address long term solutions for the site.
                                                                            87

Site: Formby Point – Lifeboat Road                                 GATEWAY

Attributes

   Well located for the central section of the Sefton Coast and offering excellent
    acces to extensive beach and dune area and along the coast.
   Situated close to National Trust Formby with its facilities and services.
   Readily accessib le by bus and moderately convenient for access by rail (if
    combined with a modest walk or bus ride).
   Popular site with opportunities to develop new visitor facilities.
   Gateway to the Mersey Forest.
   Opportunity for Lifeboat Road to service Ravenmeols Dunes and Woodlands
    LNR, Cabin Hill NNR and the Alt Estuary SPA.
   Good pedestrian access links to National Trust Formby and the wider coastline.
   Opportunity to provide complementary facilities to the National Trust.

Proposals

   Sefton Leisure Services intends to improve facilities including:
     Ranger base.
     Toilet facilities.
     Education class room with visitor information.
     Improvements to the infrastructure particularly car parks, picnic facilities,
        site signing, external information/interpretative provision.
   Improve access links along the coast including the signing of routes.
   Close links between Lifeboat Road and the National Trust site are essential,
    (given that both sites are identified as Gateway Sites,) to ensure the sites
    complement each other rather than provide competing facilities. For example,
    selection of complementary interpretative themes and signage systems on
    coast wide access routes. Joint working/co-operation between the National
    Trust and Sefton council is essential to maximise the potential of these sites.
                                                                           88

Site: Formby Point – The National Trust
         GATEWAY

Attributes

   An attractive, well managed site with good visitor facilities and providing
    excellent access to the beach.
   The National Trust site is especially popular for watching red squirrels.
   Well signed from the A565
   Situated close to Formby and its facilities and services.
   The property is 10 minutes walk from Freshfield Station half a mile from bus
    services.
   Distinctive character of local landscape with pinewoods, asparagus fields,
    dunes and quality beaches.
   Good pedestrian access links to Lifeboat Road and the wider coastline.

Proposals

   NT is proposing to extend and improve facilities:
     Improvements to the infrastructure notably, car park, access layout,
        surfaces and interpretation.
     Redesign those areas of the site experiencing high visitor pressure.
     Improve signage and way-marks through the site and links along the coast.
     A new building for Education, visitor services, and catering.
     Develop a new Asparagus Trail with Formby Civic Society, linking to
        Freshfield Station.

   Site investment would assist conservation by containing visitor pressure.
   The proposals will address the pressing need for managed retreat of the beach
    car park and the Sefton Coastal Path and will provide space for natural dune
    development.
   Close links between the National Trust and Lifeboat Road are essential, (given
    that both sites are identified as Gateway Sites,) to ensure the sites complement
    each other rather than provide competing facilities.
   Work with partners to develop complementary interpretative themes which
    reinforce key messages whilst celebrating locally distinct features.
   Work with partners to secure improvements to the wider path network with
    clearer signage systems and accurate information on coast wide access routes.
   Consider with partners ways of improving provision for cyclists.
   Work with partners to secure improved public transport links
                                                                            89




Site: Freshfield Dune Heath                                                LOCAL

Attributes

   A site of international nature conservation importance.
   Offers a heathland landscape unique in its extent on the Sefton Coast
   Link site between Formby Point NT and Ainsdale NNR via Fisherman‟s Path
   Situated adjacent to Freshfield Station, so excellent access by public transport
   Historically in ownership of MoD, so no public access

Proposals

   Purchase from MoD agreed and funding from Heritage Lottery Fund for
    purchase secured
   Site will be opened up to public access once initial habitat management works
    have been carried out and footpath infrastructure put in place
   Siting of access points not yet determined
   Consideration will be given to creating a bridlepath
   Signage and interpretation materials
                                                                           90

Site: Marshside RSPB Nature Reserve                       LOCAL/GATEWAY

Attributes

   A site of considerable conservation interest that is especially important as a
    feeding area for wildfowl in winter.
   A well managed and presented site with excellent birdwatching facilities.
   Direct views of the Ribble Estuary from the coast road, which cuts right through
    the Special Protection Area, and presents good opportunities to interpret the
    wildlife of the estuary, although this is a fast section of road.

Proposals

   The RSPB is preparing a strategy to improve accessibility to the Marshside
    reserve.
   The RSPB is seeking the opportunity to engage with visitors more easily than at
    present, whilst ensuring that visitor numbers (or pattern of usage) do not have
    an adverse impact on the site‟s ornithological interest.
   Opportunities do exist to develop the site including improved car parking with
    small visitor centre and toilets.
     Better access arrangements for visitors arriving by bus.
     Opportunities to develop a nature trail around the sand works on the west
        side of the road.
     The good road access provides direct views and good opportunities to
        interpret the wildlife of the estuary.
   Measures to reduce the negative impacts of the road on the estuary.
                                                                               91

Site: Ainsdale NNR                                                             LOCAL

Attributes

   A large site of international conservation importance.
   Although there are few facilities, this is not inconsistent with the character of the
    site and the Reserve offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy a quiet and unspoilt
    area of coast.
   English Nature encourage public access and recreational use of the NNR
    commensurate with its nature conservation objectives.
   The Fishermans Path is a popular public right of way on the southern margin of
    the reserve affording access to the beach.
   Cycling is permitted on two hard surfaced paths.
   Since 2000, the permit system has been used to promote good conduct
    amongst those visiting the central areas of the reserve rather than to restrict
    numbers of visitors.

Proposals

   Two kilometres of new paths on the NNR were opened in 2002.
   There are no substantive new proposals in that there appears to be little need
    to further extend or improve facilities.
   Information about access links to other sites and signing/waymarking of these
    routes could be beneficially improved.
                                                                             92

Site: Crosby Coastal Park                                  URBAN & GATEWAY?

Attributes

   Located close to the large urban population of north Liverpool.
   Convenient access by car and with large car parks.
   Readily accessible by bus and by train.
   Potential to serve an important dual function, as both an Urban site and a
    Gateway site.
   Well located for visitors to gain access to the southern part of the Sefton Coast
    along the Sefton Coastal Path.
   High profile and very popular site, especially for watersports.
   Existing largely disused/derelict building with considerable opportunity for the
    development of a major visitor centre. A draft feasibility study has been
    presented to the Neighbourhood Action Group of the South Sefton Partnership
    (SRB/SIA).

Proposals

   Development of a Watersports/ Visitor Centre with provision of tourist
    information for the whole of the Merseyside Coast. In the longer term, Crosby
    has the potential to become a key urban site attracting tourists from a wide
    area.
   As a Gateway site for the Sefton Coast, it should offer a wide range of
    information about recreation and access on the Sefton Coast together with
    interpretative material on the area‟s heritage and local features of interest.
   Improve infrastructure of car parks, picnic facilities, site signage, external
    information and interpretative provision.
   Improve standards of maintenance and upkeep.
                                                                              93

Site: Hall Road, Crosby                                                       LOCAL

Attributes

   A popular site with a large car park and toilet facilities.
   The car park lies adjacent to the promenade, which affords excellent views
    across the Mersey.
   A well surfaced path runs from the car park to Hightown.

Proposals

   Improve information and interpretative provision about the Sefton Coast Path,
    access along the coast (north and south), walks inland to Little Crosby, places
    to visit (e.g. the museum at Little Crosby, local features of interest (especially
    ships on the Mersey).
   Upgrade the toilet facilities.
   Improve site management and maintenance, especially with respect to litter.
   Improve highway signing to the site.
                                                                              94

Site: Ainsdale & Birkdale Sandhills LNR                                       LOCAL

Attributes

   An attractive, unspoilt, extensive and readily accessible area of natural sand
    dunes stretching from the southern edge of Southport to the north side of the
    Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR.

Proposals

   Strengthen site interpretation, sensitively and discretely, so as not to detract
    from the sites natural qualities.
   Improve the layout and waymarking of the nature trail through the reserve.
                                                                            95

Site: Queens Jubilee Nature Trail                                          LOCAL

Attributes

   Located close to the centre of Southport and accessible on foot from the town
    and from the P & R terminus.
   An attractive but small site with considerable nature conservation interest and
    an excellent resource for schools/education use.

Proposals

   Publicise as a local resource, accessible from the Eco Centre where class room
    facilities are now available.
   Secure additional funding to improve entrances and make proper links from the
    Eco Centre to the Jubilee Trail and additional boardwalk access within the
    QJNT.
   Upgrade and improve maintenance and upkeep.
                                                                                96


Site: Alt Centre                                                                LOCAL

Attributes

   Whilst the Alt Centre is an underused facility, it suffers from a number of
    constraints which limit it‟s potential use (e.g. location of the main visitor routes,
    poor parking, beach and estuary not very attractive for visitors, noise from the
    nearby rifle range, etc).

Proposals

   Improve external information and interpretative provision about the Sefton
    Coastal Path, access along the coast to Hall Road and Crosby, local features of
    interest.
                                                                         97

Site: Mariner‟s Road, Crosby                                            LOCAL

Attributes

   A smaller, quieter site than Hall Road to the north or Crosby Coastal Park.
   Extensive cap parking facilities and good access to the promenade and beach.
   A good site for „ship watching‟ on the Mersey.

Proposals

   Maintain as low key site.
   Improve site management and maintenance, especially with respect to litter and
    fly tipping.
                                                                                              98



Appendix 4


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF THE MERSEYSIDE 2000 VISITOR SURVEY

 In 2000 around 19,226,180 visits were made to Merseyside in total. 81% of these were
  leisure visits, 3% were business trips, 3% were shopping trips and the remaining 13%
  were visits to friends and relatives.

 77% of leisure visitors were on a day visit. 63% of all day visitors were from the North
  West region and 98% from the UK.

 One in 4 (24%) staying leisure visits to Merseyside are made by overseas residents. The
  main areas from which these visitors are drawn are Western Europe and the
         USA/Canada. The main region of origin of staying visitors from the United
         Kingdom is the North West. Beyond this large numbers of domestic staying
         visitors come from the South East, South West, Yorkshire/Humberside and
         Scotland.

 The number of nights spent by visitors in hotels and guesthouses has increased by just
  under 16% between 1995 and 2000, from 2,083,196 to 2,630,645

 Staying respondents predominately used either the home of a friend or relative (50%) or
  serviced accommodation (41%).

 Around one in 4 (23%) of all visitors were on their first visit to Merseyside, this is 21% of
  day visitors and 28% of staying visitors.

 The majority of visitors to Merseyside in 2000 travelled using their own vehicle (66%).
  Around 7% of visitors stated that they had difficulty in finding their way to the site where
  they were interviewed, in the most part, simply because visitors were unfamiliar with the
  area and couldn‟t find signs.

 For over three-quarters (83%) of visitors, nothing spoilt their enjoyment of their visit to
  Merseyside. However, 17% stated that something had spoilt their visit. In 1995 the most
  common cause for complaint was the amount of litter and rubbish on the streets. In 2000,
  the most common complaints from day visitors were about prices, whilst staying visitors
  most commonly complained about their accommodation and the poor weather.

 49% of respondents described the actual visit to Merseyside as being either better than
  expected (31%) or much better than expected (18%). No staying visitors and only 3% of
  day visitors said that the visit had been worse than expected. Two-thirds of visitors from
  overseas described Merseyside as being better or much better than expected, none
  described Merseyside as worse than they expected.

   Over half (58%) of respondents visiting Merseyside in 2000 stated that they would
    definitely come back in the near future.
                                                                                                                                                         99




                                                           TOP 5 ATTRACTIONS

      4500000

      4000000

      3500000

      3000000

      2500000

      2000000

      1500000
                                                                                                                                    NUMBER OF VISITORS
      1000000

       500000

           0
                                                            HERITAGE




                                                                                           FERRIES
                  ALBERT DOCK



                                             PLEASURLAND




                                                                                  MERSEY




                                                                                                     TATE LIVERPOOL
                                 SOUTHPORT




                                                                       MARKET




                                                ATTRACTION




                HOW MERSEYSIDE ECONOMY BENEFITS

300
        £261
250

200                              £184


150                                                                                                                                          VALUE £m
                                                                                £99
100

50                                                                                                                    £32     £27

 0
      LIVERPOOL                 SEFTON                                     WIRRAL                    ST HELENS              KNOWSLEY

                                                                DESTINATION
                                                                                  100




                       ANNUAL VISITOR SPENDING


                  4%
       12%

                                                 SHOPPING
                                36%
                                                 FOOD & DRINK
11%
                                                 ATTRACTIONS & ENTERTAINMENT
                                                 TRAVEL & TRANSPORT
                                                 ACCOMODATION
 14%                                             OTHERS


                       23%




              1%        MAIN REASON FOR VISIT
             4%                                  VISITING FRIENDS AND RELATIVES

       5%
                                                 SIGHTSEEING
  2%
                                                 THE BEATLES
5%
4%                                               ATTEND ARTS/ CULTURAL EVENT
                                 46%
                                                 VISIT PLACE OF CULTURAL
                                                 INTERESTS IN THE DAY
                                                 BUSINESS

  33%                                            SHOPPING


                                                 OTHER REASONS
                                                                                     101


Appendix 5

Key Principles relating to the proposed branding framework for Sefton

From a Sefton Perspective:-

1. Developing tourism across Sefton will require our signature projects to be grouped
   together so as to provide critical mass and diversity. This strategy will also bolster
   the appeal of the borough as a credible visitor destination.

2. The established Southport brand should be used to add weight and credibility to
   the wider Sefton offer. Similarly elements of the Sefton product will be aligned with
   the core elements of the Southport product, particularly the Sefton coast.

3. To enable the effective promotion of the Sefton product, a brand identity must be
   established under which each emerging brand/product will fall. This will also make
   sense of current, unchecked, branding arrangements for Sefton.

4. Creating a brand identity for Sefton will enable the implementation of local and sub
   regional marketing activity to be conducted independently of initiatives undertaken
   by TMP. This will allow „Sefton‟ interests to be protected by proactively
   encouraging visitors to the borough and raising profile as a place to live, work and
   invest (aims and objectives contained within the Corporate Plan, Community
   Strategy etc.)


From a Regional/Merseyside Perspective:-

1. Marketing initiatives undertaken by TMP will be centred on using „Liverpool‟ as an
   attack brand from which to draw visitors into Merseyside from outside the ENW.
   Similarly, as a development brand, Southport (ENW Classic resort) will also be
   used by TMP initiatives to achieve this end.

2. The focus on these so called „star brands‟ will mean that the proposed Sefton
   brand/product will, in addition to any independent market initiatives, have to align
   some or all aspects of its offer with Liverpool and Southport marketing campaigns.
   This in turn will mean Sefton products become an integrated part of the product
   offer to people who visit Liverpool and Southport.

3. By developing marketing initiatives in this way, Sefton will become a „slip stream‟
   brand to Liverpool and Southport. It will appeal to local and sub regional markets
   through independent marketing, and regional and national markets by strategically
   operating as a slip stream brand.

4. There is also the potential to work with other slip stream brands on marketing
   initiatives in conjunction with attack brands. Joint marketing initiatives relating to
   the Wirral and Sefton Coastlines is one example that could be used. Aligning such
   a campaign to Liverpool would add credibility to the coastal offer; additionally the
   campaign would add diversity to the Liverpool offer in customer perceptions.
                            102


Appendix 6


Developing a Sefton Brand
                                                                                  103


Appendix 7


Bibliography


East Sefton Business Village          Feasibility Study for a Proposed East Sefton
                                      Visitor Centre
Atlantic Gateway                      Bootle Town Centre Masterplan
Locum Consulting                      Vision for NW Coastal Resorts
Sefton Business Village Partnership   Feasibility Study for the Proposed Bootle
                                      Business Village Partnership.
Finch, Liverpool                      Capital of Culture – The Story Unfolds
Atlantic Gateway                      Integrated Delivery Plan – Part 2
NWDA                                  Northwest Regional Marketing Strategy (Draft
                                      September 2003)
Wirral MBC                            Wirral Tourism Strategy
Sefton MBC                            Birders Guide to Southport & the Sefton
                                      Coast
Sefton MBC                            The Cycle & Walking Guide to Sefton &
                                      Southport
Sefton MBC                            Events Marketing Strategy
Interreg IIC                          Merseyside Coast Visitor Research
Mersey Tourism                        Merseyside Tourism Survey 2000




Web sites
www.creativeclusters.co.uk
www.culture.gov.uk
www.english-heritage.org.uk
www.lga.gov.uk
www.tourismtrade.org.uk
www.merseyside.org.uk
www.englandsnorthwest2020.com
www.liverpoolculture.com
www.artscouncil.org.uk

								
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