Marine Lake Events Centre in Southport CGI UPDATED Sefton Council p planning documents

Sefton Council approved the plans for the Marine Lake Events Centre in April. Credit: via planning documents

Work starts on £73m Marine Lake Events Centre

Hoardings are now in place as main contractor Kier readies for the demolition of the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre, which will pave the way for the new entertainment facility.

The Marine Lakes Event Centre will be a £73m complex with a 1,200-seat theatre, 2,400-capacity conference space, and a series of offices, meeting rooms, restaurants, and production facilities. It is the dream child of Sefton Council and was the banner project of the council’s successful £37.5m Town Deal award.

MLEC will ultimately be built on the site of the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre. However, before demolition can take place, Kier is removing several heritage assets from the theatre.

The razing of the building itself will take a few months, according to Sefton Council. The local authority hopes to open the MLEC in 2026.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and skills, welcomed the news that work was underway.

“Getting contractors on site is the start of our fantastic, shared vision for the future of Southport’s waterfront and tourism economy becoming a reality,” she said.

MLEC is expected to bring more than 500,000 visitors to Southport each year when it is complete. That equates to an £18m boost for the local economy, Sefton Council said.

Those kinds of figures will make MLEC “transformational for the town”, Atkinson said.

“They support our key objectives of providing more reasons to visit, to stay, to stay longer, and to do so all year round,” she said. “And all of these will mean the creation of quality employment and career opportunities in the area.”

In addition to the Town Deal, funding for MLEC came from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Sefton Council. The two contributed £20m and £19.7m, respectively.

Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram shared his support for the project.

“Southport holds a special place in the hearts of so many people in our city region and beyond,” he said. “While we’re incredibly proud of the town’s history and heritage, I firmly believe that Southport’s best days still lie ahead.

“Building on its legacy as a tourist town, I want to ensure that Southport can continue to thrive and attract visitors for many years to come,” Rotheram continued.

“Thanks to devolution, we’re committing significant investments into projects like to the Marine Lake Events Centre to help get Southport on the up again.”

Marine Lake Events Centre has been designed by AFL Architects. Gardiner & Theobald is the project manager for the scheme.

The project team also includes civil engineer AECOM, transport consultant WSP, noise and air quality consultant Hydrock, arboricultural consultant Tyler Grange, and planning consultant CBRE.

Planning permission was secured earlier this year.

You can learn more about the MLEC by searching application reference number DC/2022/01391 on Sefton Council’s planning portal.

Your Comments

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Sort out the pier first.
You are about to destroy the tourist industry in Southport.

By Garry c

What about the Pier???

By Eagle

Brilliant news enjoyed shopping area and hotels seafront water front

By Knott

Refurbish the pier and build a lookout tower on the end. It would be a unique selling point for Southport. You have to borrow and invest (sorry you Tories; it is called social capitalism not wasting taxpayers money) if you want to earn dividends which benefit the whole community.

By James Yates

Sort out the pier you only had to maintain what the Victorians built and you couldn’t even do that, as most of your projects you build/fit and forget about maintaining them.

By Allan

It will be yet another white elephant

By David

Fix the Pier.

By Allan M

Sort the pier out while you’re at it!!

By Chris

What a pity that money cannot be found to restore the adjacent pier that has been for almost a year.

By Joe

How about starting with making the pier safe before you start anything else it is so depressing to see the pier closed and is part of southports heritage

By Ray smith

Time enough to do this once the pier is made safe and is accessible again. That will benefit more people on a daily basis than any sort of centre.

By Marion

This will become another white elephant,propped up by the rate payer,I would not trust Sefton council to run a bath,never mind any thing else,they have reduced the town to a dump.

By Gareth Evans

The pier is the priority. You will never succeed with the facilities offered by Liverpool with regard to venues. Sell the present site for residential and use the proceeds to provide social housing elsewhere in Southport the rent would save thousands of pounds annually as opposed to paying benefits

By Anonymous

Where has the money earned for Sefton in Southport gone? The Council are responsible for repair of the pier.

By Anonymous

Sort Lord Street out so many empty shops,and bars.
Your not investing for your average tourist


Southport neeeds a 2500/3000 seater venue to attract more entertainment!

By Kevin Coulton

The pier is priority since its been closed the town is going down hill rapidly

By Lee Hook-Dale

All of Sefton’s projections are pie in the sky. If any current Sefton Council member were to challenge the officers income or benefit projections they would be found to be baseless. That’s why I resigned from Sefton Council. If a Labour (or any other Party member) does not do their masters’ bidding they are removed from the relevant committee.
Oleaginous mediocrity with a chip (as usual).
It will be shut down within 20 years.

By Cllr Neil James DOUGLAS (former)

What a waste of money again how long will this last ? Wasn’t it rebuilt only a few years ago? How long will these units lie empty?

By Anonymous

What about renovating the pier?

By Anonymous

What about repairing the pier that attracts a lot of visitors

By Anonymous

The pier needs to be sorted out first. Top priority

By Anonymous

Hi folks. The point has been made that many would like the pier fixed. Future comments should be on topic, which is the Marine Lake Events Centre and not the pier.

By Julia Hatmaker

The existing development next to the theatre, completed a good number of years ago , is unoccupied retail units ,cafes, restaurants etc all empty. The only people benefiting are the skateboard kids who use the empty concourse for practice. Sefton Council needs to reimburse council tax payers for the millions they lost with the purchase of the Strand Shopping Mall !

By Norm

Shame to see the iconic art deco floral hall go. It’s a waste of money, Lord Street a disgrace also the pier. Were do you these people get their ideas? A white elephant

By Anonymous

Sefton isn’t just Southport. Open your eyes. This money could and should be spent more wisely and to the benefit of residents.

By Grumpy Joe

It would have been a far better investment to have built the much needed bridge across the river Ribble which would connect Southport with The Fylde ,Lytham & Blackpool which would bring more trade/ visitors than any new building then sort out the pier ,then & only then would Southport become the attractive seaside town that it used to be.

By Graham davies

All sounds positive if care is taken regarding climate change.

By Fran Hoban

The grant funding is specific to the event centre so can’t be used to fund the Pier. I assume they will bid for heritage funding for the Pier or something.

By Name (optional)

Look forward to the day when the Tory Conference is here, they’ll never have it in Liverpool but Southport will suit them better as they’ve had recent Tory MPs.
If they really want show their belief in Levelling Up, then they’ll book the conference centre for 2027.

By Anonymous

I think this is a big gamble I hope it won’t be a white elephant and the project goes bust half way through like the sybeck winter gardens. The mad thing is the Southport theatre and floral hall was only refurbished with a new frontage not so long ago and blends nicely with the waterfront hotel

By Daniel Adler

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