The £73m complex will replace the old Southport Theatre and Convention Centre. Credit: via Sefton Council

City region to sign off £18m Southport grant  

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will meet later this week to approve additional funding towards Sefton Council’s £73m Marine Lake Events Centre project. 

The combined authority contributed £2.3m to fund the early work on the waterfront development and is now poised to sign off an additional £17.7m from its strategic investment fund for the Southport scheme. 

Sefton Council lodged plans for the redevelopment of the existing Southport Theatre and Convention Centre in July, and the application could be determined before the end of the year. 

The events centre, designed by AFL Architects, would feature: 

  • 1,200 to 1,500-capacity theatre
  • 16,000 sq ft exhibition hall  
  • Meeting and seminar rooms with capacity for up to 1,000 delegates  
  • Event catering, hospitality and VIP facilities  
  • Waterfront food pop-up infrastructure  
  • A lakeside sound and light show billed as the first of its kind in the UK. 

As well as £20m from the combined authority, the project will benefit from £33.3m from the Towns Fund.  

In addition, Sefton Council has approved the option of borrowing up to £20m through PWLB to bridge the funding gap. 

AFL Architects designed the Marine Lake Events Centre. Credit: via Sefton Council

The authority is also continuing to explore additional grant funding options to reduce borrowing costs. 

In August ASM Global, which also operates the AO Arena in Manchester, was selected to run the new venue. 

Nearby, moves are being made in response to the regeneration of Southport’s waterfront. 

Bliss Hotel, located next to the site of the proposed events complex, has been put up for sale by its owner Waterfront Southport Properties. 

Meanwhile, Sefton Council is seeking expressions of interest from developers over the redevelopment of the grade two-listed Victoria Baths building. 

“We have wider ambitions for Southport as a leading national visitor destination and with the regeneration of Southport Market and our plans for the incredible Marine Lake Events Centre, we want to make sure we are utilising every opportunity to improve the resort,” said Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and skills. 

“The Victoria Baths building of today presents a magnificent opportunity to a developer with vision and drive to modernise this iconic and landmark facility. Through this market testing exercise, we look forward to seeing initial options and proposals brought forward by third parties.” 

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