The Liverpool City Region is to sign off £2.3m in pre-development funding to enable the progress of the Marine Lake Events Centre project in Southport.
At £75m, the all-purpose centre represents a huge investment for Seftyon Council, which has made it the main project within its £37.5m Town Deal.
The plans feature a new venue with a 1,200-capacity auditorium, exhibition space and co-working areas. A water, light and sound attraction would also be delivered at the marine lake.
The proposal for pre-development funding is in a report that will be considered by the LCR Combined Authority on Friday.
Chosen as the best option for the site by Sefton this summer, the events complex would replace the existing Southport Theatre & Convention Centre, which closed during the Covid-19 lockdown. Sefton took back control of the site after its operating vehicle was liquidated.
Steve Rotheram, metro mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Our town centres have always been at the heart of our communities. They are the places where we meet, shop, relax and socialise but too many of our high streets have seen better days.
“Locally we’ve invested tens of millions of pounds to energise and improve our town centres. Despite the challenges the pandemic has posed, I want to safeguard Southport’s future and ensure that it can thrive for generations to come.”
The Combined Authority’s funding, if approved, will finance the next phase of project planning, to achieve business plan submission in spring 2022 and RIBA stage 3 design for the planning application.
On top of the £30m-plus committed by Sefton to the project, the Combined Authority has pledged a further £20m for the actual development phase.
Cllr Ian Maher, leader of Sefton Council, said: “As the largest investment project included within the Southport Town Deal, the Marine Lake Events Centre will provide Southport with an incredible events space with state-of-the-art facilities to attract a wide range of different types of entertainment events and audiences to Southport.
“We believe that attractions such as this will create a genuinely unique visitor experience and will only serve to strengthen our visitor economy.”