Contractor Kier will deliver the £73m Marine Lakes Event Centre in Southport. Credit: via Sefton Council

Kier wins £73m Southport marine centre contract

The contractor is expecting a 2026 delivery of the Marine Lakes Event Centre, the banner project for Sefton Council’s £37m Town Deal.

The MLEC will replace the former Southport Theatre to feature a 1,200-capacity theatre space, and a 16,000 sq ft conference and exhibition space. The conference room will be capable of hosting more than 3,000 people for major e-sports events.

Plans also include the UK’s first water and light show installation on the Marine Lake, ‘The Light Fantastic’.

Sefton Council submitted its proposals for the marine centre last July, which are expected to be considered this spring. Keir will get to work on the centre following approval.

Sefton Council, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, and central government approved the project’s business case in December.

The £73m project is being funded by £33.3m of Sefton Council’s Town Deal pot and a £20m investment by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Sefton Council intends to borrow the rest.

Kier’s success follows the appointment of events management company ASM Global as operators of the venue last August.

Contractors Bowmer & Kirkland, Wates, and Wilmott Dixon also bid in the scheme’s tender process.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and skills, said: “The interest of the UK’s leading construction firms in the project, and the standing of the successful bidder, reaffirms the scale of ambition for the future of Southport that this transformational project demonstrates.”

Akinson continued: “The end goal is a fully flexible, scalable cultural space capable of staging concerts, stand-up comedy, family shows, musical theatre, conferences, exhibitions that is the envy of other towns and cities.”

Other members of the project team include AFL Architects, civil engineer Aecom, and venue consultant IPW.

Find out more about the plans by searching for application number DC/2022/01391 on Sefton Council’s planning portal.

Your Comments

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Renovate Southport Theatre and use the money saved to regenerate Lord Street and the town centre!

By Michael Price

About time they cleaned up town center it’s a mess

By Anonymous

It doesn’t sound like Sefton have considered the towns heritage. There are already beautiful buildings in Southport that could be developt into amazing historical, architectural wonders for the same use. Look at the number of empty buildings not just on the waterfront, which was a massive waist of money, along Lord st which I consider the jewel in the crown of any town in England.

By Squid

I personally dont like the water & light installation plan for the marine lake. Think the focus should be on nature and looking after the swans and keeping the marine lake clean and a safe space.
I prefer refurbisment of the existing site (Southport Theatre) and to use the money lefy over more wisely by making the entrance to Southport Station more attractive and welcomiing and to visitors. Its the first thing they see when arriving by train and atm looks dirty and univiting. Also need to invest money making Lord Street more diverse, less charity shops, more independants, with help given to attract businesses with grants, loans, subsidies on rents.

By Elaine Pye

My only concern is that this project will not become another white ELEPHANT 😒 in Southport

By David Dawson

About time clean Southport up went to Exmouth last week the place is spotless absolutely no litter no bins over full then bin bags pulled apart by seagulls rubbish left around the bins. By the seagulls that’s not the seagulls fault it’s restaurant bins overfull. (Gordon st) at rear of old broadbents building bins terrible. How ever the marine project brilliant idea hope it goes ahead tourism etc and trade. Do hope fishing allowed. But some basic town clean up restaurant bin collections.

By Anonymous

Why waste your funds on something that already exists and is not utilized. Bring back the Outdoor Southport Pool of Old, which could then double-up as an ice-rink in winter months. Surely we have the engineering capacity to develop something of this nature? This would generate a huge income for both Southport and business’s.

By Debbie Hughes

In line with other comments money needs to be spent on the town centre renovation of the canopies, maintenance of benches and gardens cleaning up of grot spots how much of the decision making has involved input from residents?
As comments of others beautiful buildings rotting

By Catherine Jones

I agree with Ms Pye March 24. The station … entrance to Southport!! …. is disgusting. Dark, smelly, some slime has been dripping fron ceiling for over twenty years? Then the unsuspecting visitor steps into ” a bike lane”! in the middle of a pedestrian area? Money could be spent on so many more urgent and worthwhile areas. Don’t mention Southports blocked drains all over town. I live in over 60s flats and we literally can’t leave the premises after rain. Oh so many issues …

By Susan

What is the point of destroying the beautiful Floral Hall ballroom and theatre to build another one.

By Anonymous

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