An ambitious £50m plan to transform Southport has been submitted to Government as part of the Southport Town Deal
Southport Town Deal Board has submitted the £50m plan which includes a new waterside events centre, all weather visitor attractions, new business incubators and a light show in the Marine Lake.
The funding is expected to kick-start a wider £400m investment in the town and facilitate 1,250 additional jobs.
The bid is part of the government’s Town Deals Fund, developed to ‘level up’ and drive the economic regeneration of towns across England.
Southport Town Deal bid
The Southport Town Deal bid includes a new convention and events centre on the site of the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre, which closed earlier this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The space would house a 1,200-seat auditorium, exhibition halls as well as a cafe and co-working space.
This state-of-the-art facility has been designed for flexible use and targeted at attracting new types of events such as esports to the North West region.
The plan also aims to regenerate the town centre and drive business growth.
Lord Street would be restored to its former glory and a new events space created.
A business incubator is proposed in one of Southport’s former shopping arcades providing much-needed space for the town’s digital and creative businesses.
A larger Enterprise Store would also be developed in a former department store building to provide scale-up accommodation for growing businesses.
An immersive water, light and sound show experience is proposed on the Marine Lake.
The existing Southport Pleasureland would also be transformed, partnering with a globally recognised brand to create a themed indoor attraction open to visitors all year round.
‘The biggest conversation the town has ever had’
Rob Fletcher, chair of the Town Board, said: “Our plan has been informed by the biggest conversation that the town has ever had about its future.
“We’ve had 7,000 pieces of individual feedback from residents, business and visitors.
“700 school children from the town have also put their ideas forward.
“Our plan is designed to provide opportunities for our current residents and future generations.”
Dwayne Johnson, chief executive at Sefton Council, said: “The Town Deal process has raised the profile of Southport with investors and we can already see the positive effect it is having.
“For example, Sefton Council has just announced an exclusivity agreement with GoSurf to create The Southport Cove Resort.
“This £40m privately financed investment will bring a unique surf wave pool and wellness and spa facilities to the heart of the town.
“The resort will add value to our Town Deal plan and complement our proposed projects, such as the convention and events centre and Marine Lake experience.”
Planning and development consultancy, Turley has supported the Town Deal Board through the process.
Richard Laming, senior director at Turley, added: “This plan signals a clear intent to the government and other investors that Southport has a clear vision for the future.
“The projects are unique and investable, and have the ability to leverage significant regeneration benefits to accelerate the region’s recovery from Covid-19.”
A decision on the Southport Town Deal funding is expected early 2021.