Southport Cove 1
The scheme would be located close to the site of Southport's disused lido, which closed in the 1980s

Go Surf plots £40m water park for Southport

Sarah Townsend

A 250-metre beach and surf resort with hotel accommodation, restaurants and a spa is to be developed at the Merseyside coastal town, under a deal struck between Sefton Council and a UK-based leisure provider.

The council has entered into an exclusivity agreement with Go Surf to create Southport Cove Resort, an all-year-round attraction centred around a surf wave pool and a sizeable beach on the town’s seafront. The site earmarked for the development is understood to be at Princes Park, on a council-owned land adjacent to the former Southport Bathing Lake, which closed in the 1980s.

The £40m scheme would feature “water-based” wellness and spa facilities, four-star hotel accommodation, casual dining including a range of cafes and restaurants and indoor leisure facilities. There would also be gardens and a 360-degree boardwalk for visitors to explore the attraction and watch surfers.

Go Surf offers surf pool technology to manufacture waves ranging in height from 0.5m ‘fun’ waves’ to more challenging 2m waves, according to Sefton Council.

Southport Cove is projected to bring in £2m of annual revenues to Southport, with around 150,000 visitors each year. The project would “complement other exciting opportunities emerging in the town, as part of the Southport Town Deal and other initiatives”, the council said.

Southport Cove Aerial

The attraction would provide dining, accommodation and wellness facilities as well as the beach and wave pool

Sefton ran a consultation in July on its vision to develop Southport over the years to 2050. The proposals outlined in the strategy included the possible development of a “marine village” on brownfield sites around the Marine Lake.

To support its proposals, the council is preparing to submit a bid for £25m from the Government’s Town Deal fund on Friday, which it is understood would help to fund the development of Southport Cove.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, the council’s cabinet member for regeneration and skills, said: “Many people will remember that in 1989 the much-loved open-air swimming bath on the seafront next to Princes Park closed its doors to the public for the last time.

“When we were doing the consultation around the Southport Town Deal, it was clear that many people still had memories of the lido. This project will, in many ways, bring back a viable facility with all-year-round visitor appeal, and strike a balance between the memory of this loved former attraction and a modern, family-oriented offer that will be unique to the region.”

Go Surf said in a statement: “Southport’s location and existing facilities lend themselves perfectly to the town becoming a true haven for watersports, indoor and outdoor attractions, and wellness. The town benefits greatly from the successful integration of its town centre, marine lake and seafront.

“We’re taking a world-class surf pool and building a resort around it that’s far more than a place for catching waves. Our aim is to create an environment where people meet with friends and family, to lounge on the beach or in the gardens, catch some waves, relax in the spa, or just grab a coffee and a bite to eat.”

The project is currently in the pre-planning stage and Sefton Council intends to launch a public consultation on the proposal before a planning application is submitted.

Southport Cove 2

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Southport has potential to make a comeback.

By sandgrounder4life

I’ve been saying for ages Southport needed more investment but not more hotels , bars and cafes of which there are already plenty .

By Anonymous

Well, if the sea never comes in at Southport, let’s build one that does. I just hope it doesn’t get washed away during the Spring tide.

By Edge

What an amazing project and just what Southport needs but as a resident of Sefton I’d like to know who are Go Surf and what track record do they have delivering these types of projects?

By Terry Nolan

Surf City..

By Jan & Dean

The outdoor pool was great (in its day) and hope this progresses to completion

By ChesneyT

Looks really good, Southport needs some impetus to kick start some regen, hopefully this can be part of it.

By L17

This is just what New Brighton needs as well.
The much smaller version of this in the Conway valley is brilliant.

By MFH

Yes. Brilliant. Finally some collaborative thinking. After years of decline this needs to be the first of many new ideas to make the town a major visitor attraction again.

By Al

Surely it is ‘Go surfing.’ Go surf doesn’t mean anything.
Go serf?

By Sum

Southport has the potential to make a comeback………again!
Better this, than pouring money into yet another dead Market scheme, although wont it compete with Splash World?? Southport needs more ideas to bring in the punters.

By Anonymous

This will regenerate the seaside resort of mine and many others’ childhoods. Merseyside had lots of outdoor pools . It would be amazing to replicate this in New Brighton too.

By Gill

This sounds like an amazing project for the North West. How about adding an artificial scuba diving reef area. this will have to be deeper, but will attract may scuba diver from round the uk.

By Grant Sayce

Complete waste of money.,this town use to have a great fairground now only fraction of the size,thay need to get the shops re occupied first,if this wave attractions happens be prepared for a large increase in parking around town.

By Graham

Amazing development which looks great – however, under The McDonalds and KFC etc are the foundations of a similar Water Park, which was being developed some 24 years ago alongside the new cinema and bowling alley. That development ceased for a year due to contractors going bust and then the cinema side carried on, and the water park was back-filled and left for a number of years until the takeaways were built. There are already a number of restaurants closed on the adjacent site, as are many in the town centre. Southport needs to be regenerated, as do many resorts and towns in the North West, and with the present circumstances this is highly likely not to happen.

By Ian