Southport Waterfront
The consultation will inform Southport’s bid for a £25m share of the £3.6bn Towns Fund

Sefton goes to public with 2050 Southport vision

Neil Tague

A consultation has opened on a masterplan for Southport that proposes new leisure attractions, investment in conferencing and theatre space, waterfront living, a transport interchange and high street regeneration.

The plans also include the possible development of a “marine village” on brownfield sites around the Marine Lake.

Infrastructure-related proposals include rerouting through-traffic to improve road users’ experience of the landmark Lord Street, including the reconfiguration of road space to create a mile-long cycle boulevard and give more space to pedestrians. A town centre multistorey car park is also proposed.

Turley has been appointed to lead on the Southport: Made for Living Well  masterplan, with the professional team also including RAL Architects and Prime Transport Planning. Initial consultation is to run until 20 July.

The consultation will inform Southport’s bid for a £25m share of the Government’s £3.6bn Towns Fund. A town deal board has been set up to lead plans, and work on attracting further funding and private investment to the town.

With a retail pitch affected by the departure of Debenham’s, BHS and Beale’s in recent years, Sefton Council is keen to diversify what it calls the Southport’s “destination core”. Proposals within the consultation include revivifying the shopping core with new anchor uses, including a digital & creative hub and artisan market.

It also floats the possibility of new uses for vacant department store buildings, including co-working space and apartments at Debenham’s, and a boutique hotel, cinema, dining and events space at the Beale’s store.

Rob Fletcher, chairman of the Southport Town Deal Board, said: “Stakeholders in Southport are passionate about their town. We want to harness that positive energy to make our bid to the Towns Fund a success and to unlock significant investment for the town.

“We look forward to hearing what people think of the proposals as well as sharing their own ideas for the future of Southport.”

Southport has allocated land for over 2,000 homes and further development potential at the Southport Business Park. The Towns Fund bid is expected to be submitted later this summer.

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Lets cut to the chase. Southport needs to break away from Sefton and sever ties to Merseyside. It was never put to the people, and was against the will of.

Serco-Abellio, Network Rail or Merseyrail as it likes to be known is a private rail company that Liverpudlians seem to think determines its border.

By Sea Monkey

I’d like them to put M&S into the old BHS building (which is nice), so that the whole horrible train station shopping centre can be floored and an attractive entrance created for the town. From the train to Lord St is poor.

By Anonymous

The two big issues with Southport are:

1) Poor planning policy – the multiple edge of town retail warehouse and food retail schemes have killed the traditional town centre.

2) Lack of parking – a key reason why people dont go to the town centre, compounding the issue further for the retail and leisure offer. A multi-storey is key as is being able to get into the town centre easily.

By S.Port

@SeaMonkey.. Grow up with the petty tribalism. It serves nothing but division. Focus efforts into what can be done to make things better rather than moaning at everything.

By L1

“Sea monkey” is just being a naughty little monkey, writing from his not very seaside locale of Wythenshawe!

By Mike

Sea Monkey – how much extra would you like to pay for rail travel to Liverpool city centre if Merseytravel were to remove its subsidy? How will Southport fund planned investments without the support of a wider borough or region?

By Tribal

Will receipts for the development land on “brownfield” sites around the Marine Lake be reinvested in Southport, or in Sefton?

By ChesneyT

Good plans. Need some office space, so repurposing old department stores makes sense.

Ignore Sea Monkey, who is a certain troll from Manchester who likes to create discord in various guises. Southport is definitely part of the Liverpool City Region, and a key part at that!

By Southport Resident

The best thing that will develop Southport is moving the Station back towards Central 12, have
several shops and restaurants in a Victorian architectural style station which is open and airy with glass.

Move all the shops back on that side and open Chapel Street up as a plaza with coffee shops and cafes around the edge. Even a fountain in the middle.

Have a multitude of independent shops selling all kinds of goods and have cheap or even free parking at weekends such as on a Sunday.

At the moment there isn’t hardly any shops I would consider buying from. The town suffers from high rents, poor town planning of businesses and poor parking practices.

By RedRum

@ChesneyT. Sefton..

By Sea Monkey

I definitely think Southport theatre and convention centre needs to be brought back to life and give us the chance to right the mistakes made by previous owners! We can bring business back to the town and it will enhance all the other changes to our great town.

By Julie Wright

I think the downfall started with the neglect of the beech. To return it to it’s former glory would increase footfall trade and give some where for family’s to go it’s bemuse didn’t help Southport

By Fred

Any Marine Lake development should include a large artificial beach and paddling pool for young children. This would attract more visitors than any other development mentioned.

By Fredsie

The general feeling in Southport has always been the same. We are not Liverpool or Merseyside, and should not be paying our council tax to Sefton.
It seems to upset a lot from Liverpool when someone says that. I`m almost certain that these would feel the same if Liverpool became a part of another city, without any right of objection.

First of all, we need to become a separate borough, and spend locally. We need to make our own decisions, instead of being told what`s best for us.

By EPB

Sadly online shopping was the beginning of the end.Lots of people came for the shops once we started losing main shops that was it.The hotels were advising guests to go to Liverpool 1.If we can regenerate we definitely need the theatre and a bus station.We are supposed to be a holiday Town but no bus station.We also have to do something about the Prince of Wales and Scarisbrick Hotels which are outdated and filthy.We also need to address homeless and rough sleepers.In 2020 these people need more help.I hope with sensitive and sensible planning we may get back some of the wonderful charm Southport held for us all when I was young and a trip to Southport was a lovely experience for all who came.Lord street is such a sad place without the big shops.I’m hoping after lock down the existing ones can reopen.Good luck to everyone next week.I’ve never shopped on line and hope many more feel the same.

By Annonymous.

Definitely feel part of the Liverpool City Region AND Lancs as well – you can be part of both. Personally, I would be happy to be part of a W Lancs region that it a member of the Liverpool City Region. For prosperity we do need our nearest core city, Liverpool, to thrive, and that in turns helps us i.e., it is mutually beneficial.

By Southporter

Seems a bit weird that a town with a Preston postcode is part of Merseyside.

By Loganberry

Sigh, the handful of overloud Southport separatists pipe up again. I didn’t see anyone in Southport complaining when the huge wads of EU money you never would have accessed if not part of Merseyside was paying for the pier refurb, other waterfront projects and many other things…. Liverpool and Bootle used to be in Lancashire as well, get over it. No one says St Helens is in Liverpool, but there’s much less noise from them about common sense supra regional governance structures in place for nearly 50 years, because unlike Southport they don’t labour under the delusion they’re ‘posh’ or ‘special’. All that nonsense about inspiring Paris….Southport hasn’t got down the pan because it’s in Sefton, it’s gone down the pan because most UK seaside towns outside the South East have. Go check Blackpool out, or even those that remain in ‘traditonal’ and far wealthier North or East Yorkshire, but are still run down.

By ST

It’s always somebody the fault of somebody else, usually Liverpool, Sefton or Merseyside. Local shops and facilities do not close because planning committees approve out of town shopping parks and superstores, it’s simply because people stop shopping there. Most shops look to locals to buy from them, seasonal visitors are not sufficient for all round income. If you want local high streets and facilities to thrive local people MUST use them

By Anonymous

Speed bumps need to be put on the promenade.
The motorbikes that speed along the promenade are going to cause a serious accident one day.

By Anoymous

Not a lot of people realise that Southport chose to throw it’s hat in with the Sefton project in the 70s because they were going to lose control of their education and healthcare budgets to Lancashire County Council under the Local Government Act. At the time Bootle was a Conservative council (when being protestant meant you voted Tory), so it seemed a logical political marriage of convenience to combine the towns’ two populations allowing it to become a metropolitan borough that retained autonomy of its budgets. Unfortunately, the change in political attitudes in the 80s turned the relationship sour a long time ago. It’s not about snobbery, it’s about two towns joined at the hip that couldn’t now be more diametrically opposed in political outlook, character or culture. They just don’t get on, for both to move on they will need to address the challenges of the future in different ways and will need different skill sets to achieve these aims. So, for the sake of everyone’s health, it might be best for everyone if they sought a mutual divorce and moved on as separate entities within the LCR.

By Yatt

@Yatt. A very sensible comment, but I feel the same differences may still rear their heads if kept in the LCR. There also seems to be a similar discontent over on the Wirral.

By Looping Star

@Looping Star….It’s a wonderful life in the LCR. It is potentially strategically better placed than Lancs in the bigger picture of things.

By Yatt

Develop the lower promenade area and the area next to the little pub, get a continental style cafe culture going, get some pop up stalls “nice ones nothing tacky” if there’s things to do and places to go people will come.

By Jeff

I think it would be nice to have more access to a cleaner beach. Tourists may like that too. The fairground would also benefit from a little help. If possible, reduce the cost of the rides and parking – puts people off when a trip to the front costs so much. I know as I live here. I love my children to be able to enjoy Southport but quiet often we get hit with so much cost to do anything that isn’t just walking around.

By Vic

All high streets are dying or dead. Southport has to survive in the shadow of Blackpool for attracting younger people Let’s cut to the chase. Southport leeches most council tax funds in Sefton. Only ones who still get street cleaners etc. But they all work in Lpool and south Sefton. I say. Don’t waste any more money on it.

By George

Looping Star. . It’s called old fashioned SNOBBERY.

By George

Says sea monkey who lives in Eccles.

By Graham

The resport is suffering like most other town centres. There is a shop in centre of Lord Street which has been vacant for over 15 years. I think it was a discount shoe shop. The shop rents are just too high. No new business would stand a chance of success having thousands a week in rent to pay. It is the outstanding greed of building owners, to give up on rent for 15 years, due to not getting the extortionate amount they want. The whole town will end up vacant. All rents should be cut by 80%. For at least 5 years.

By Michael

Develop around the seaside end of the Marine Lakes creating a real waterfront environment like in Liverpool, bring more young people in and go digital. Maybe I’ll start going northwards as often as southwards on Merseyrail if you get it right.

By Red Squirrel

As long as Southport gets the right attention and regeneration to allow a decent tourist visit, no one in Manchester is going to care about this.
Why would they?

By Anonymous

all areas of the town need improvement, we need indoor leisure facilities to encourage tourists, better rail and bus links, lower rates to encourage shops and businesses, town centre parking reduced, theatre and conference facilities updated. And people to take pride in the town again.

By Sea,

The problem with those who suggest S’port should be out of the LCR, arent thinking either about their town, or strategically. Southport is too small to be a District Council, and in any event to which other Council would it be connected to; West Lancs? They want more connection to the LCR. Southports issues are greater than this question. Its questionable if M&S will remain (they have left larger towns), and Lord Street has been in decline for years. If cycle lanes and a multi-story car park are the limit of their imagination, its time to pack up and leave. Southport needs to attract key destination reasons; something MUCH bigger than a few golfing events, or a four day flower show.

By Billy

It will be a long time before Southport is self sufficient in leisure and retail offers. In the meantime, we should recognise that we are at the hub of a fantastic region packed with high quality facilities. Sefton worked with Liverpool during the Capital Of Culture programme when they adopted Southport as a unique Merseyside attraction including having it promoted on their website accessed from all over the world. Those who seek to withdraw Southport from the region are very narrow minded and it would be a terrible mistake

By John Taylor

I would like to make one thing clear here. We can’t blame Sefton council for all our woes.
Do you all think that other towns in the country are prospering? (especially the ones in northern England)
There have been severe cuts in council expenditure across the nation, for a decade now. The Tories, as they always have done, slashed Northern England the hardest. Southport has a Tory MP and plenty of Tory councillors. Why aren’t they doing more to help Southport? (besides from blaming others).
Let’s not forget also about the way we live these days. We go out less, have less money to spend, and spend the little we do have online.
Sure, the council could have done better in some areas. They are, however, helping to keep what little remains of Southport running e.g. Atkinson, markets, Pleasureland, pier.
Quick note – if it matter where I live so much then rest assured, I am indeed a Southport resident. I even grew up here in the 90s!

By Ash

I think the whole station area definitely needs redeveloping. Question is – where next for Southport? It has a lot of good assets and Lord Street is attractive, if needing some TLC in places, especially at its ends. The idea of a Marina Village is a good one. It also has a couple of very good hotels.
I think though with the shopping that it would be best if it just concentrated on quality independents. Birkdale didn’t have any empty units last time i visited – its buzzing.

I also think the three boroughs outside the Liverpool in the north of Merseyside should perhaps be reorganised. And if Lancashire’s local government is shaken up, West Lancashire would likely go to/prefer being in the Mersey sphere of influence. Perhaps a Southport/Formby/West Lancs council, a South Sefton/most of Knowlsley (forming outer Liverpool if you like), with Prescot/Whiston going to an enlarged St Helens? Seems a more organic setup.
As mentioned elsewhere, Southport joined with Bootle because: 1) No loss of Social Services department (2 At the time, Bootle had a sizeable Conservative vote of a working class Unionist nature.

By SW

Dear Sea Monke:, And most folk think we live in an absolute democracy. Well, that is what the BBC, the Mail and the Telegraph and our school teachers say, so it must be true. Or as a Yank once said. “You can fool almost all the folk almost all the time. And that’s enough.”
Don’t be fooled again!

By James Yates

Maybe they could build a Chinatown in Southport but a very small one and open a halal supermarket and adams wholesalers in Southport too

By Anonymous

I think they should open more department stores in Southport such as boundary mill stores tj hughes harvey Nichols house of fraser selfridges and a 2nd tkmaxx in Southport in ainsdale. Maybe even a new shopping centre in churchtown with shops such as Superdrug costa cafe works Claire’s boots rowlands pharmacy card factory cex game shop 02 phone shop and more! And IF Southport becomes a city which i dont think it will they could build more skyscrapers in Southport such as Southport yellow tower Southport skyscraper 1 bank building and the tallest building in the world which will be the ecb tower at 900mtall and many skycrapers more too! And a tv tower on the outskirts of Southport and maybe even a prison in Southport on the empty space on Southport road between pool hey lane and kew house drive. And a 2nd b&Q in Southport in ainsdale on the newly planned shopping park in Southport which will comprise the shops of dunelm halfords next go outdoors and more!!! also a 2nd range store in banks on another new shopping park which could be built and comprise the shops of tesco extra jd shoe shop laura ashley and halfords. Also a asda in churchtown and b&m and Sainsbury’s in Birkdale also a wilko home bargains sports direct pets at home lidl iceland shop McDonalds kfc and taco bell and a new mosque synagogue and hindu temple in ainsdale too and a industrial estate in ainsdale too with screwfix howdens kwik fit car plant and more. Also a hindu temple on west street and a buddhist temple on albert road. And a sikh temple on weld road. And even a muslim polish hindu buddhist sikh turkish african chinese italian Spanish community centre and a community centre in churchtown and hillside too.and too make lots of car plants in Southport of every car brand. And maybe even open a university and art school and a science school and a docks which can have dozens of factories a new bridge called the rainbow bridge and a ferris wheel a new libary on the seafront and 2 cathedrals and a passport office too on king st and a new park and forest on new cut lane. And maybe even open a very small airport in Southport on the outskirts of Southport. And a Morrisons in tarleton too also a water tower in Southport on crowland st and a new power station in Southport and a bear statue on promenade also a roman and anglo saxon muesum and more apartment buildings in Southport too. And a New police and fire station in churchtown and maybe a smyths toys superstore too and a chinatown in Southport too. And maybe even a children’s hospital too and a small hospital in the town centre too. and a chinese and a Indian supermarket should be built in Southport too and a clock tower in Southport taller than 100m and maybe they could build a burger king on eastbank st on the former McDonald’s building. and a art gallery on eastbank street too called sefton art gallery

By Deniz eken

Southport has been a part of Sefton for nearly 50 years, it’s just the (tory voting) pensioners making noise.

By Phil

Having worked in every region around Southport, there is no doubt that Southport is closely aligned to the areas in the North and East as opposed to Liverpool. There were political reasons for Southport to be lumped in with Liverpool, but it has been a mistake. I agree that Chapel Street should be opened up on its sunnier south-facing side, with the shops and station set further back to make the whole area much brighter. The beach is of paramount importance to Southport and would benefit the town by being made into a far more attractive area, inserting groynes toward the tide line to prevent the silt from building up from the Mersey, creating rock caves and pools on the beach – at least making it look cared for. The fairground should be more open with railings around its boundary instead of broken plaster walls with more seasonal leisure facilities and stalls located at the back of the fairground facing the beach. The north side of the Marine Lake could be improved with an all-season amusement and ice skating arena, featuring regular shows.

By Marvin