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

Plans in for £75m Southport waterfront venue

Sefton Council has submitted its application for the Marine Lake Events Centre, the banner project within its Town Deal allocation.

The new development will provide a 1,200-capacity modern theatre space, a conference and exhibition centre able to accommodate a wide range of events, and café and signature restaurant.

Plans also include a new water and light show installation on the Marine Lake, with the working title of ‘The Light Fantastic’.

AFL Architects has designed the scheme, building on preliminary designs from HOK. CGIs showing how the completed scheme wil look were relesaed in May.

The project team also includes civil engineer Aecom, venue consultant IPW and Gardiner & Theobald as project manager and cost consultant.

The application follows a consultation process and council debate as to the future of the Southport Theatre & Convention Centre complex and marine lake, as Sefton seeks to build on Southport’s under-promoted waterfront assets.

Should the planning application be approved, the MLEC is expected to bring more than 500,000 visitors to Southport per year, while generating an annual £18m for the local economy.  Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour cabinet member for regeneration and skills, said: “Feedback from our recent consultation showed that 84% of residents and key stakeholders are just as passionate about the Marine Lake Events Centre as we are. “These exciting and innovative designs will help attract a diverse range of quality events to the town all year round. The public recognises our ambitions to boost Southport’s cultural offer and visitor economy, as well as ultimately to support local businesses and increase spend.”

The project has been allocated £33.3m of Southport’s £37m Town Deal programme, while the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is also committing £22.3m.

The council took possession of the theatre complex in 2020 when its operating company went into liquidation.

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The kind of massive boost that Southport needs, it`s always been a great day-trip for most of the Liverpool City Region but improved facilities will encourage people to stay longer , from both near and far.

By Anonymous

Will the £22.3m of cold hard cash from LCR (at the expense of actual deprived places in Sefton, e.g. Bootle) put paid to the Lancs-separatists? They already benefit from subsidised trains into Liverpool.

Southport has so much to offer, has never recovered from the backwards decision to build Ocean Plaza, which has (and will continue) to draw demand from the core town centre. Bigger economic impact would be a £75m demolition project of that.

By Demo

Great for the Liverpool City Region

By Anonymous

Great having money spent but what about apportioning some of the budget to cleaning the deteriorating place up a bit?
Cracked shop windows, trash filled alleyways, faded Road markings, historic lighting defunct and abandoned along Lord Street, to name but a sprinkling.
Cheers for the injection of cash. Let’s see at least a bit of it allocated to the above.
Yours, (on behalf of ourselves and the silent, long suffering, exasperated, indigenous, communal lifeblood of a once proud Southport)

By John Parry

This looks fantastic and exactly what Southport needs! The town is certainly on the up.

By Anonymous

I am absolutely against the proposal of the Bliss to demolish the former hungry horse and casino building. It is a brand new building which has not had chance to show its full pertential . I would understand the proposal if the building was poorly built and unsafe, but it is well purpose built building and can be put to some good use. It is a quirky modern looking building and can be put to good use. If demolition does go a head, in my opinion it would be a waste of a good building and a wage of money and time building it only within 10 years ago only to be knocked down
This proposal of demolition is waste of a good building

By Daniel Adler

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